Here goes with why I decided to write about militias. Going back to the Tea Party movement among some of the GOP a decade ago, there was a resurgence of “let’s find our inner-George Washington” or “let’s become like the American patriots who founded our republic” type sentiments hyped. That’s all well and good, except many of the people who jumped on that bandwagon never cracked a book on early American history in their life and their fervor came from listening to right-wing pundits.
Alongside that Tea Party movement, a strain of wild conspiratorial thinking grew – all centered on President Obama – from right-wingers believing he was not an American citizen (the birther craziness), to some believing he was a Manchurian Candidate. Donald J. Trump embraced the Obama birther conspiracy theories and moved from NY liberal into hobnobbing with some people within right-wing, anti-Obama pundit circles. Btw, Obama’s mother was an American citizen, so wherever her son was born, he was entitled to American citizenship.
That same sort of pundit-driven hype that drove the Tea Party movement happened again with the populist Trump movement and while I do understand the concerns and some of the issues that galvanized the Trump movement, a lot of it smacked of the shallow celebrity worship, I expect on the left. I was supportive of the Tea Party movement and that “let’s find our inner-George Washington” was where I’d been since my teens in the 1970s. I was not on the Trump train.
Now, the hard part to try to put into words – how I feel about J-6. I found the events of that day appalling. I found Trump’s behavior as president disgraceful and I believe his conduct pushing that Stolen Election effort to try to stop Congress from carrying out its constitutional duty of certifying the electoral college vote, a dereliction of duty. However, I do not believe the Trump supporters (and whoever else was part of that crowd) were taking part in an insurrection.
Many things can be true at the same time, yes, there were likely FBI informants mixed into that crowd and yes, there were likely some left-wing troublemakers there too. That said, a large part of that crowd was just ordinary Americans, who believed Trump’s lies. He used those people. I believe it’s likely there were Democrats working to try to facilitate mayhem that day too and the glaring lack of adequate security at the Capitol raises all sorts of questions, in my mind.
The one death that day was a young woman, Ashli Babbitt, a 14-year Air Force vet, who had become a very devoted, very online Trump-supporter, who believed all of Trump’s “stolen election” hoopla. From statements her family made to the press in the immediate aftermath, before right-wing lawyers steered her family to legal action, the picture that emerged was of someone who truly believed she was going to Washington to do her patriotic duty and “stop the steal.” I’m not going to argue whether the officer who shot and killed her fired in haste, but I will say she was trying to crawl through a shattered window, after being ordered to stop.
To this day Trump still tries to reignite that same sort of rage about a stolen election and even yesterday he was posting on social media that Biden should be removed from office, because the election was stolen and that he should be president. Our constitutional system has no mechanism for that to happen. Period. If Biden is removed from office, resigns, or dies in office, then Kamala Harris, the vice-president, will be sworn in as president and I support sticking to the constitution, not making up crap to suit partisan political agendas. Trump’s entire effort to “stop the steal” was made-up crap. There was no constitutional process to stop Congress from certifying the electoral college vote, once the states certified their electoral votes.
In 2016, there were some Dem pundits and lawyers, who believed Russia helped Trump steal the election and online they were floating postponing Trump’s inauguration until the “Trump/Russia Collusion” was investigated, but that effort got nowhere. Instead, the Dem #Resist effort to delegitimize and try to destroy Trump’s presidency, by any means necessary, began. In 2020, Trump borrowed from the Dem playbook and attempted his “Stop the Steal” effort.
That brings me to the present and the Biden administration hype about “MAGA Republicans” and smearing just about anyone on the right as a threat to our democracy, coupled with all the extreme green-energy transformation and all the new ESG rules that are being pushed. Many Americans on the right feel like our constitutional system is under attack and I’ve heard warnings about “civil war” from both sides of the aisle. About a year ago, there was a spell, where a right-wing pundit was pushing the idea of a “civil divorce.”
Currently, I’ve seen a lot of online commentary from the right about “preparing to defend”… your home, community, your way of life, America writ large, etc. I’ve listened to these ideas being presented various ways from basic “be prepared to defend your home,” in case of civil unrest or civil breakdown, all the way to ideas being floated that, despite the euphemistic wording, sound like talk about planning a General Petraeus-worthy COINista effort (counter-insurgency type effort)… in America.
While I find it perfectly fine to prepare to defend your home, all of these efforts, outside the government system, to organize and plan for supplanting domestic policing or national defense or whatever these people think they’re planning, are not only problematic, it’s likely going to justifiably lead to FBI effort to infiltrate and monitor that group quickly. And again, I agree with the FBI monitoring groups that start planning military-type operations inside America or planning to create their own law enforcement. Heck, I’ve even had concerns over the years with some of the neighborhood watch efforts, that have sprung up in various places. I like a governmental system in place and clear rules, not some random groups making up their own rules.
Once again, the militias in early America operated within a legal system, under the auspices of the Royal crown. During the Revolutionary War, the militias who joined the Continental Army operated under that framework and General George Washington established rules quickly – and there were court martials aplenty. Here’s a link to more information on General Washington in the American Revolution: https://www.mountvernon.org/george-washington/the-revolutionary-war/timeline/
We should all be doing whatever we can to bolster civil order, the constitution and good citizenship, I believe, rather than spending so much time getting worked up every day by the latest online rumor to sweep through right-wing social media or be hyped on some right-wing news site or by some right-wing pundit. This is where the staying calm part matters.
Let’s suppose the economy starts going through even more dire major problems and all sorts of really bad things begin to happen. I expect Dem-run states and cities, who embraced all the green-energy crazy (not to mention the “defund the police” insanity) to fare much worse than red states, who don’t go along with that. Pulling together to try to work to keep as much of America functioning, keep the people calm and working together, keep emergency services functioning – within the system, makes more sense than a bunch of random groups of angry men, who have half-baked COINista ideas wanting to take charge.
There sure seem to be a lot of people who declare “America is over!” or “We’re doomed!” while life is still going along for most of America – granted the inflation is really hurting millions of people and it’s getting hard, but stores are still open and most of the country is still working. The place that’s looking like the biggest train wreck so far is CA, where the far-left crazy has led them to want to lead the country off the green-energy cliff.
Even the American founding fathers borrowed heavily from English law and traditions – they didn’t try to throw out the baby with the bath water. Preserving things is easier than trying to rebuild things after total devastation and that’s why violence should be the absolute last resort. Watching the J-6 violence and the violent BLM rioting has left me wondering why so many people could get caught up in a mob mentality so easily.
Communities all over America can use volunteers to help out, so if you want to save America, that’s a positive step in the right direction and it’s more productive than running around with guns in ghillie suits or camo.