This morning, 159 years ago, young men lined up, sweating beneath their gray uniforms, waiting to march into oblivion. US forces held a fortified ridgeline a kilometer away, across an open field of fire. After a largely ineffective Confederate artillery bombardment, 12,500 young men would follow General Pickett across a sun-baked field. Fewer than half would return. Lee’s great gamble at Gettysburg failed and the South’s fate was sealed.
Whatever may come, this much we can be sure of: Our next civil war won’t be like the last. There will be no armies and battlefields. No heroic charges into fixed positions. No victory parades or clean endings.
Modern civil war is mostly modern civic breakdown, unpunished crime in pursuit of political power. It’s harassment, murder, theft, extortion and kidnapping as tools of power. Winning takes boldness, imagination and determination. More often, it ends in exhausted stalemate.
Don’t bother asking how it starts. Our Second Civil War has already begun. From the mob of angry whites who tried to drive a Presidential campaign bus off the road in Texas to the January 6 insurrection, white people and their allies, terrified by the erosion of their special privileges, have already shredded the rulebooks and gone to war. Most of us wanted to avoid this, but our racists would not go peacefully. What remains ahead is the expansion of this war to a neighborhood near you.
What does modern civil war look like?
Models are everywhere. A single New York Times story on Guatemala from 1971 is a remarkable capsule of modern civil war. Students go on strike to protest a wave of violence stoked by the police. Rightwing terrorist paramilitaries, which include members of the police and army, kidnap and murder professors, opposition politicians and even priests. A local Fascist paramilitary leader close to the CIA is kidnapped by the resistance. His paramilitary then kidnaps an economic professor to hold in trade. On and on it goes toward nowhere.
Violence launched by Fascists to protect the rights of oppressive landowners threatened by the spread of democracy, spawns counter-violence by pro-democracy groups. Whoever controls the police and military holds the upper hand in this cycle of violence, gaining access to weapons and training along with immunity from formal prosecution. It sometimes ends in a Pinochet style spasm of violent repression. Sometimes it ends in a sudden central breakdown, as when Sandinista forces in 1978 managed to kidnap much of the national legislature by seizing the capitol building.
Or, if no one has the boldness or capability for a dramatic strike, it carries on, indecisive, for decades. Paramilitaries on both sides, strapped for cash to continue their campaigns, merge little by little into the criminal underworld until after a generation or two, no one can remember how it all began.
The military and its Fascist allies come to control, say, human trafficking and gun-running. Various opposition groups take to the hills, coming to control the drug trade or smuggling endangered species. Forty years later, as we see today in El Salvador or Guatemala, what had been a civil war appears to outsiders as a mere crime problem, which in a sense it always was. And meanwhile, a kind of normalcy descends on the relatively cosmopolitan capital city, and perhaps one or two other major towns. You just don’t venture into the countryside and never make eye contact with police.
It is much harder to build a civilization than it is to destroy it.
What does our Second Civil War look like?
We already endure a remarkable degree of violence in our politics, but in recent decades it has come almost entirely from disturbed individuals. The guy who tried to kill Arizona Congressman Gabby Giffords in 2011 wasn’t attempting to achieve a defined political objective. The murderer of a Wisconsin judge last month wasn’t trying to influence the actions of other judges. America has a lot of cheap guns in a lot of hands, so crazy people regularly commit outlandish crimes. Some of those crimes have a political tinge, as when a disturbed former army reservist killed five Dallas police officers at a Black Lives Matter march in 2016, but that gunman wasn’t furthering anyone’s political agenda, not even his own.
January 6 was a departure. Instead of random, stochastic terror, this was a (poorly) coordinated coup attempt. If not for the ineptitude of Trump and the gobsmacking stupidity of his supporters, our elected government would have been replaced and we’d be battling in the streets against Trumpian thugs. Republicans aren’t done. They’re openly planning to steal the next election using the same methods attempted in 2021.
Compounding our challenge is America’s deep-seated history of privately organized terrorism. Violent mobs that will terrorize pro-democracy groups for the next couple of decades are already in place, ready to run a playbook handed down by their grandfathers.
Picture this news story.
The Dallas County Commissioner is requesting help from the Justice Department. Dallas has been trying to protect caravans of pregnant women seeking to reach a new abortion center in Clovis, NM. Last Thursday, a mob, likely organized by rural sheriffs, attacked a convoy from Dallas at an impromptu checkpoint on US 84 west of Lubbock.
Off-duty Dallas County Sheriff’s deputies accompanying the convoy returned fire, breaching the checkpoint and killing three attackers. The convoy continued to New Mexico at high speed, trailed by local sheriffs who exchanged fire with the convoy at several intervals. The Dallas County deputies have taken refuge in New Mexico. Texas Rangers and the Governor are insisting on their extradition while refusing to halt the harassment of travelers by local paramilitaries. Protection of the convoys by off-duty deputies was organized by abortion rights activists in Dallas after several convoys were turned back and one abortion seeker was murdered.
How many years before we get there? What happens next?
Remember when a heavily armed nutjob wandered into a DC pizzeria in 2016 to “liberate” the child slaves imprisoned there by Hillary Clinton? What happens when those same conspiracy theories are promoted by law enforcement officials? What happens when it leads to judges and election candidates in cities like Austin or Atlanta being murdered by mobs of angry villagers who come in from the countryside?
What happens when the people carrying out those murders are sheltered by local law enforcement, just as they were in the Jim Crow era? What happens when they are encouraged by the state’s governor? How long before residents of those cities organize their own paramilitaries to hit back with assassinations and kidnappings, eventually aided by their own law local law enforcement (which will have to be purged of their ample supply of Fascists).
How long will it be before a Republican Governor in Texas can’t safely show his face in Austin and a Democratic Gubernatorial candidate can’t safely travel to Amarillo? Will it be this year?
Can’t we all just get along?
Forget about reaching across the aisle or building consensus. Today, heavily armed Republicans all over the country will tell you stories about what they think is happening in America which aren’t just false or inaccurate. They are completely bananas.
Republicans will tell you in sincere conviction that Joe Biden leads a ring of child pedophiles. The 2020 election was stolen using fake ballots imported from North Korea. Disney is grooming your children to be gay. Librarians are pushing obscenity on children. Like the weirdo who shot up the DC pizza joint, these millions of Republicans hold beliefs less plausible than our Santa Claus myth. Republican voters are being pushed to embrace these beliefs because the willingness to supplant reality with loyalty is a gateway to political violence. Republicans are ready to support any manner of violence to place white nationalists back into power.
What are Republicans trying to achieve?
As our second civil war deepens we’ll see an escalating campaign of violent political repression from white nationalists. Unchallenged and unchecked, it will advance into a Jim Crow style campaign of terror, rolling back fifty years of democracy. If we don’t fight back it will all be over much faster than you’d expect.
Republicans’ endgame is a Balkanization of the US in the style that prevailed before our first civil war. Most power will pivot back to state legislatures through Republican Congressional obstruction. The breakdown of federal authority destroys any realistic public check on the power of wealthy rentiers, restoring the rural feudalism of America’s early years.
Those state legislatures will be leveraged to hold America’s cities hostage to a white oligarchy. In other words, the Confederate order will triumph, aligning the US with the governing model prevailing across most of Latin America. What America’s wealthy aristocrats lost at Gettysburg they’ll finally win.
Life in most of America’s red-state cities will go on under the watchful eye of police controlled by their repressive state governments. The occasional “mysterious disappearance” of a noisy troublemaker keeps political resistance in line. A dense silence will descend, reinforced by a white middle class craving a return to some form of normalcy. What was old will be new again. The same political order that dominated the South for generations will settle back over a broad swath of America.
How a cold civil war could heat up.
The above is the most mundane, predictable path of our low-grade civil war, the one least likely to provoke a response from democracy advocates before it’s too late. But another possibility looms, one closer to Chile or Nicaragua. With the barest discipline and insight, Republicans could avoid this path and win a low-grade civil war with barely a fight, but these people are not bright. Unlike previous Fascist plotters in Chile, Guatemala, and The Philippines, Republicans won’t have clever manipulators from the CIA to help them plan and organize their coup. There are only three kinds of people left in Republican politics; religious nuts, racists and grifters. They will do disastrously stupid shit.
For example, what if it appears that Greg Abbott has lost his election in Texas, or that Brian Kemp has lost his election in Georgia? What if Republicans ran the Reconstruction Era playbook? Abbott announces two days after the election that Beto and hundreds of Democratic leaders, including several members of the legislature, have been detained and moved to Kyle Field for processing. They are accused of collaborating with Communists in a ballot stuffing scheme exposed in secret evidence gathered by Project Veritas. Abbott’s statement indicates that allegations of a Satanic pedophile child trafficking ring among the accused are “probably unfounded,” but the accused will remain in custody while the investigation proceeds.
The next day the Legislature meets, with the Republican election opponents of the detained Democrats seated in their place. It passes legislation naming Abbott the winner of the election. The 5th Circuit denies a request for injunction to stop the action, claiming that only a state has the right to determine the outcome of its elections. A few weeks later the detained individuals are released, but the state attorney general, who also took office in the coup, insists that the investigation will continue.
Who would stop this? Yeah, there would be marches in Austin and Houston. Who cares? A few buttoned up Republicans might mumble about their concerns until they figured out which way the wind was blowing. Democrats would file lawsuits that flutter in the air like prayer flags.
It could be over in a couple of months. Republicans would control state government. Democrats would complain and cry while the police clear away “unruly” protestors. Republicans would have reestablished under GOP one-party rule the same authoritarian Jim Crow order their forebears built in the 1870’s.
Would anyone stop them?
How could Democrats win our Second Civil War?
What makes this a dangerous gambit for Republicans is that they might, by such an egregious power grab, finally trigger an organized, violent response from Democrats. Once that happens, once pro-democracy Americans force Republicans into a show-down with the US military and majority popular force, the GOP will lose. In reality, the only resources Republicans are working with are a well-funded political disinformation system and a hardened, though actually quite small, core of ill-informed and occasionally insane weirdos. Forced into a real fight, Republicans would be obliterated, but only if Democrats took a stand.
What could Democrats do if Republicans were so greedy and undisciplined as to openly steal the 2022 Election in, say, Texas?
Democrats govern almost every city of any size anywhere in the country. That includes most state capitals. This is more of an advantage than most people realize.
Whoever controls the physical capitol building and its infrastructure wields enormous political power. If Governor Abbott attempted something like the scenario above, the Mayor of Austin could simply run the Reconstruction mob playbook in reverse. Go on TV. Announce the real winner in the election. Declare that every Republican legislator and state leader has disqualified themselves from office. None of them will be protected by Austin police or the Travis County Sheriff if they return to the capitol.
He would invite the public to surround the capitol, bringing down potentially hundreds of thousands of people, making it impossible for the Texas Rangers or DPS to hold the facility. The city council would then organize local paramilitaries to “defend” the capitol with the help of police (who would have to be purged), making it impossible for state authorities to quietly regain control. Then he’d reach out to the leaders of the state’s other major cities to cooperate, sending new representatives appointed by their city councils to replace the locked-out Republicans. The message to nervous, reluctant Democratic leaders would be simple. You can be on this train or under it.
Within days, the Texas capitol complex would look like the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine in 2014. Republicans could yell and scream. They could assemble their own “legitimate” legislature in the only backwaters where they could safely appear, isolated from access to public records, public funds, courts, press, or even office infrastructure. They could send their own paramilitaries to harass the cities, but their bodies would pile up fast. Cities aren’t as helpless as Republicans like to imagine. And these protests would spread in red-state state capitols from Charlotte to Phoenix. Democratic mayors and city councils that wavered or balked would be swept away by an angry public.
Within days, Republicans across the South would find they’d lost access to their stolen legislatures, along with access to their banks, airports, seaports, perhaps even internet infrastructure as major corporations joined the revolt. Once someone lights a fire of resistance against these Republican goons, we’ll be living in a different country within weeks.
How would this all end? It is impossible to say with certainty. Once the legitimacy of our current constitutional order has been openly challenged, it’s likely there will be no return to order without a new constitutional convention. That’s a troubling prospect. Would you prefer to live in quiet fear under Fascists to avoid the uncertainty of something new? We can be confident what will happen to the American dream of freedom and human dignity if we cower while Republicans dismantle democracy.
What if Republicans aren’t so foolish as to pursue something as brazen as naked election subversion? How do we prevent this slide into Fascism if Republicans maintain the discipline to chip away at our legal order bit by bit? The Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs case has already provided the grounds for Democrats to run the playbook above, though it would be a much bolder, more revolutionary gambit.
What if Republicans win the November election in Texas? This time, the Democratic mayor of Austin makes a slightly different threat. He announces (as the Travis County DA has already done) that abortion providers will not be prosecuted in Austin. Then he goes further, insisting that Austin and Travis County will protect abortion rights by barring any state enforcement action against women’s health providers. Finally, here comes the hook. If the state attempts any enforcement action in Travis County, Austin will bar Republican lawmakers from the Capitol. “If women aren’t safe in Texas, Republicans shouldn’t be safe in Austin.”
He then runs the playbook described above, calling out a mob to occupy the capitol complex and beginning to organize paramilitaries to defend the city. At the same time, he’d reach out to the mayors of other Texas and Southern cities to join the resistance. As the matter escalates, the Mayor of Austin, like the Democratic mayors in control of other Southern capitals, runs through the rest of the playbook, locking out Republican state leaders with the help of popular resistance until, by whatever means necessary, a new order is established.
Where is the Federal government in these scenarios? As long as we have a Democratic President we can at least count on dithering and delay. That’s all this strategy needs from the feds. Wait until a Republican presides over the Joint Chiefs and things still play out in a similar manner but with far more bloodshed and a likely military coup. In other words, don’t wait. If you think the scenario I’m describing above sounds awful and repugnant, you don’t want to think about what happens if we sit here worrying for another four to six years.
What about “democratic legitimacy?”
But if Republicans win the election, aren’t they the legitimate government? Are you going to live under a “legitimate” government that terrorizes librarians, persecutes gay and transgender kids and turns women into modern slaves because you lost a state-level election? Don’t basic human rights figure into the legitimacy of a representative government? Has anybody actually read the Declaration of Independence? Is it unreasonable to fight for a chance to live under a sane, humane, representative government? Are you going to wait until they come to your house to fight back? If you do, you will lose.
As we sit here comfortably reading a blog post in a nation we assume to be at peace, these scenarios might still seem extreme. I wish they were. Republicans are being crystal clear in their intentions. They are not going to live peacefully in a republic in which white men fail to hold a place of supreme power, privilege and respect. Reason with them all you want while they strangle you.
In December, 2016 I wrote: “It is difficult to map out any credible end to the Trump era that does not place a sad new national holiday on the calendar to remember those we lost.” The 2020 Election did not close that era. The price hasn’t been paid.
We should not elect any more Democratic figures promising “peace in our time.” We should not kid ourselves into thinking someone will fix this. All of us over the age of 30 were born into the silent privilege of imagining that “things just work out.” The political quiet into which we were born was the product of blood, sweat and courage we never had to muster. Until now.
If we fail, future generations will pay for our privilege.
BTW, if this climate package goes through, it will cement officially what has been obvious for well over a year. The moderate Republican Manchin is the most powerful man in Washington. I always thought it was the evil thing mcconnell, but Manchin is the one that decides what gets passed, what does not.
While I agree with what you say, I think you’re letting the Democrats off easy in this analysis. And that’s important, because if you’re advocating people to risk their lives in a civil war, there has to be something to fight *for*.
When Roe v Wade was overturned, what shocked me was the [lack of] Democratic response. The justices are clearly just making up policy and doing away with even the fig leaf of jurisprudence (Clarence Thomas made it clear he wants to do away not just with abortion but with same sex marriage. Curiously, he stops at doing away with miscegenation, which, after all is also an abomination in Christianity and has no support in the Constitution. I’m sure being married to a white woman has nothing to do with his legal thinking on this matter…)
But getting back to the topic, what is the point of shedding our own blood, sweat, and tears to return Democrats to power? What are they promising in return? The only half-way reasonable option given was by AOC and Charlie Crist (gov. candidate in Florida), who both called for impeaching the most recent justices for lying in front of Congress during their confirmation hearings. Sure, the impeachment won’t work, but these are justices, not politicians. They’re not used to being under the public eye. Most years, no one can even name a supreme court judge. Apply enough pressure in this regard, and you’ll get a few of them to retire early.
The Democratic voters understand this much better than the politicians. They began peacefully protesting in front of conservative justices. There is a power in the mob to intimidate individuals, just by their presence (a power so well understood that we codified the right to assembly), especially to people who are unaccustomed to dealing with the great unwashed masses. It clearly unnerved these justices. What did the Dems do? They immediately went along with the Republicans in crafting a bill criminalizing those same protests. They didn’t even use the leverage to negotiate for something else, like criminalizing armed protests, or protecting abortion clinics, or whatever. We’re now in the insane position where peacefully standing in front of a supreme court judge’s lawn can get you arrested, but brandishing an AR-15 in front of an abortion clinic while screaming obscenities at the women trying to enter it is perfectly legal. And every f’ing Democrat voted for it.
The best summary of that day, for me, was having the Court decide on Roe, and the Dems, having had several weeks to prepare for this very day thanks to the leak, standing on the Congressional steps singing God Bless America because they finally convinced a few Republicans to toss a couple coins to mental health as a token “solution” to gun violence.
I’m reminded of the scene in Braveheart where, before the first big battle, the Scottish army of irregulars and average citizens looks at the well-oiled death machine aka the British Army and decide “I’m not dying for these bastards” and as they walk away from the battlefield, the Scottish nobles, on their horses, desperately wave their hands saying “Wait! There’s still time to negotiate!”
So tell me again why I should die for these bastards. The ones who keep telling me they can still negotiate, only to negotiate away every advantage they have, and in the end, have lands and titles in both England and Scotland (aka Wall St. and Main St) and who will only use our efforts to increase their own wealth and power while doing nothing for us?
Don’t get me started on Merrick Garland. FWIW, I really like Biden a lot. He’s done far better than I thought he would on election day. But this was an absolutely bone-headed appointment. An independent-minded Republican to prosecute an attempted coup? Whatever respect I might have for Garland as a legal scholar, both he and Biden should understand that an attempted coup needs to be answered *politically*, not *legally*. So what if your case isn’t yet airtight and you don’t have all the evidence to withstand appeals all the way to the supreme court? Politics doesn’t need that. The Republican Congress hauled Hillary into hearings numerous times over Benghazi. They knew it would lead nowhere legally. But it damaged her politically to the point she lost her election. And in the end, that’s what matters, because which Republican really cares whether she’s in a jail cell or at home so long as she’s not President?
While I’d love to see Cadet Bone Spurs in an orange jumpsuit that matches his preferred skin hue, I have no problem with him not being in jail as long as he’s sidelined politically. And in a civil war, that’s the most pertinent goal anyway. Release his tax returns, announce an investigation into every single shell company he has, and you don’t even have to prosecute him. Read aloud the names of every investor in his overseas real estate, into the record, on live TV, and his band of money launderers will flee the scrutiny and he will be left penniless, a fate worse than death in the eyes of greedy sociopaths like the Donald. The law may be about being right, but politics is about the exercise of power. The Republicans understand this. Biden and Garland think Hitler could have been brought down by a civil rights attorney or something.
So now I’m going to say something that seems to contradict myself, but it’s not a contradiction. In the absence of a motivating cause to fight *for* something, you need to make life worse for your supporters to get them off their comfortable seats and into battle. Sun Tzu, in The Art Of War recommended that, when you meet the enemy in battle, always leave an escape route for them open, promise them a hot shower and a good meal, with no violence or repercussions if they surrender. In contrast, seal any exits for your own troops, and promise to shoot any deserters on the spot. This creates a powerful incentive for your enemies’ troops to surrender and/or flee, and makes your own troops understand that the only way to survive is to win the battle.
What would this look like here and now? My recommendation, and it’s a controversial one for sure: every blue state should bar red state women from coming to their state for an abortion. New York should introduce a law that, in order to protect the legal standing of its abortion providers, they are only allowed to perform abortions on New Yorkers, and residents of other states that allow abortions. If you’re from Texas, sorry, you’re SOL.
Why would I do such an awful thing? Because we need to wake up potential allies in red states to finally get off their butts and do something. Me living in a deep-blue state with uncompetitive elections can’t do much to turn Florida and Texas, but apolitical citizens of those states can. I can’t stand when someone talks about moving to FL/TX because they save on state income tax but still expect to get all their medical care in top-notch academic centers in NY, while vacationing in public beaches in CA. If you move to TX for the low taxes, enjoy it. But don’t ask us to bail you out of your decision when it comes to anything else like power outages, hurricanes, etc.
Women in Texas, Florida, etc. and the men in their lives, need to understand that right now, if you ever need an abortion, you will not get one. No blue state will rescue you. And so, you have only 2 options: 1) leave the state and immigrate to a blue state, now, before you might need an abortion, realizing that there’s more important things in your life than marginal tax rates, or 2) stay in Texas and fight to overturn the laws there. Keeping option 3 open (don’t get involved in state politics, stay in TX for the low tax rate but fly to NY when you need an abortion) is how you lose this battle.
FWIW, this type of policy won’t hurt the truly poor. They’re f’ed already: they’re way too poor to take several days off, travel to NY, pay for an abortion out of pocket, then fly back. So this will only affect middle and upper-middle class people for whom that option is realistic. And fortunately, our political system is built to be responsive to their needs, if only they act on it. Which we need to, by any means possible.
So I guess if I was a General leading this war, those would be my 2 options: either inspire your side with bold action, leading from the front, with a clear set of objectives you’re fighting for, or deliberately make your supporters’ life so hellish that they finally accept the statement “the only way to go home is to win”. The Democrats are doing neither, essentially saying they don’t have the stomach to fight for anything, and it’s okay if you don’t either, they’ll still take care of you. Do you see why they’ve been losing for >20 years now?
PPS. A great example of this is from our first Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation. Legally speaking, it did little. The states had already seceded and we were several years into the war. But politically, it inspired people by making it clear what we were fighting for, and also binding the government to clear action during and after the war (freeing slaves). If the Democrats came up with something similar, a clear plan of the steps they would take now, and after November if they keep control of Congress, to reverse and take action on things like abortion, gun control, voting rights, right-wing domestic terrorism and the J6 coup attempt, then they would find a lot more supporters come out and join this battle. Including me.
While you may think those are good points that’s as hollow as my friends saying there are good Republicans like them, or good Trump voters like them. Yes on an individual level that may be true, but that’s despite the organization/ideology they are part of, not because of it. My friends who are “good Republicans” are all military or vets who firmly believe they are voting for the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower and which brought down the Soviet Union and all those other Republicans are just doing Republicanism wrong. Which as deluded as Christians believing in Hippy Jesus and claiming all the others are just doing Christianity wrong and that the organization they are part of isn’t evil to the core and a threat to the country and world. In fact I’d say “good Christian” is even more ridiculous by far.
Let’s start by being really honest about Christianity. Yes, Jesus did say a lot about the poor. But the Bible, both Old and New Testment, along with figures including Jesus does openly say patriarchy, brutal physical punishment, subjugation of women, sexual oppression, authoritarianism, and even more and even worse are demanded. Furthermore it openly advocates for slavery, genocide of the non believers. So when crazies advocate for strict government control of sex punishable by death, they are wrong. Neither are they wrong when they demand women submit to their husbands. Neither are they wrong that genociding people to take their land, if they are from a bad religion, or enslaving people if they are from a bad religion, are evil things. That’s totally condoned in the Bible and if they gave them Christianity they did at net good. Actual Christianity would be extreme right wing Christianity but with a lot of personal piety and caring for the poor as well. It’s impossible, and it’s never happened. But crazies like Rod Dreher and Rick Santorum are doing, or trying to get done, a hell of a lot more about it and at least not affraid of the rough parts of their books as “liberal Christians” are who are just pathetic.
The next issue is that every evil this country has done, and every vile movement in it, from slavery, to the confederacing, to the opression of women and lgbtq+, to Trumpism, to the push for fascism has always came straight from the churches and been pushed by Christianity. The exact evils are different heads of the same Christian hydra. These evils cannot ever be truly defeated or put down until the Christian core and heart of it is removed totally and utterly. You should also note that every inch of progress we’ve made on any issue has been made despite howls of rage, threats of violence, claims of societal doom from the Church. It is not only the single worst creator of vile and evil movements, it is the single greatest obstacle to any progress.
Christianities track record in Europe and it’s influence on colanialism manages to be somehow worse than it’s American legacy and that’s saying a lot.
One of the reasons the right is going to win, and deserves to win (with all the hell they are going to put us through) is liberals will let them. You can attack Republicans, Conservatives, Trump Voters, White Men, but the moment you touch Christianity they back off. Even though it’s Christianity that causes the problems in all those other groups. You can’t be against patriarchy and sexual control and not be against Christianity. It’s like being against chocolate but being pro cacao and sugar and yelling that people are just doing sugar and cacao wrong.
Ultimately I think the battle is over. Our refuse to engage in a German style De-Nazification followed up laws banning Nazi speech along with a South African style Truth and Reconcilliation about Christianity in this country means the right has won. Voting, debating, passing policy is all pointless with out that so hope you like the Handmaidens Tale because unless you are specifically anti Christian that’s what you asked for, and you will get it good and hard. Yet all is not lost in the longer term. The cratering of Christianity among the younger generations will eventually swing the tide and then we are going to see stuff like I proposed. Saying “Praise Jesus” will be like saying Heil Hitler, the Bible will be like Mein Kampf, and saying I’m a Christian will be like declaring I’m in the KKK once (you can thank Christians for bringing back white power as well!) was.
P.S. don’t blame the religious right and the 70s 80s for it. Christians were Christianing the place up with slavery, witch burnings, brutal sexual control, massive inequality, authoritarianism, forced religion, patriarchy, and genocide from the moment they hit the shores. It’s always been a battle against them. It’s who they are, it’s what that ideology is. It’s the core evil of this nation that keeps putting on different masks and going by different names, but until we address the cross in the room we cannot defeat it.
Quite true Terry…all of it.
This article from CNN buttresses much of what you say. The loser party is the party of the weak. And when dealing with death cult religious fanatics, there is never negotiation possible. You either kill them, or they oppress/kill you.
The death cult has won. Maybe in 20 or 30 years when the youth you mention will rise up and destroy the cult. But not today, and not 5 years from now. But by then, china will run the show, because said death cult is also anti-science.
Dinsdale and Terry,
I sure wouldn’t claim there is anything in religion, liberal or conservative, that guarantees the survival of America. I am actually not really optimistic about that. But I don’t want to lose hope completely.
As shown by the article Dinsdale linked to above, a big threat to us is the whole idea of “American Exceptionalism.” The idea that America is so special that we don’t need to learn from anybody else. France has had 5 constitutions in the time we’ve had one. They recognized at certain points that their system was no longer working and needed fundamental change. That suggests that people are at least capable of realizing this. But you never know, it may not happen until America “hits bottom,” as Alcoholics Anonymous says. When we have fallen apart.
Any idea that such a collapse is incompatible with religion would be wide of the mark. The Old Testament prophets were really realistic about this sort of thing. The “false prophets” were often the optimistic ones.
Here’s a nice short video overview of the urban-rural divide issue. (About the last two minutes of it are a commercial that can be skipped.) I think a lot of what he says is true. I think his suggestion near the end that suburbs could be a source of a solution isn’t true. Essentially suburbs are just the outer parts of urban areas. They used to vote Republican but do not, from what I understand, do so that much anymore. (Actually, here in the Birmingham, Alabama area they do, but I don’t think one would say that, for example, suburban Seattle is markedly more conservative than Seattle today.)
Another thing he says is that “Democrats and Republicans are now the same on economics.” That’s an interesting statement that requires quite a bit of unpacking. Certainly in theory, Democrats support more even distribution of wealth and help for needy people. And the more progressive wing of the party does emphatically. But he makes the point that as the Democratic base has become more and more urban, the party as a whole has changed its focus to advocating for minorities of various kinds rather than working class people. I doubt he would say that is wrong, but certainly it does have the effect of reducing the party’s appeal for lower-income people in rural areas.
That’s why I think we need to consider Universal Basic Income and encourage more people to move to small towns, as I suggested in other comments. This will help to spread our prosperity more evenly.
Nice piece, Chris. Thoughtful speculation that takes off from hard facts. Undoubtedly, we are in for a rough time socially and politically. A lot of thoughtful observers think its not going to get better anytime soon, and you envision it getting a lot worse. I agree.
I have my doubts, though, that Democratic cities can muster the will to counterattack, at least not right off the bat. Everyone is too busy getting ahead and recreating.
I find it especially unnerving that everyone except a few pundits is treating situation as a minor annoyance that will correct itself.
I’m a retired 83 year-old living in a high density gated community in North County San Diego. I fret over what action I should take to do my part in addressing the coming time of trouble.
This is copied from a comment I made in DKOS 2-3 days ago.
“FICTION IS BECOMING THE TRUTH! The theme of Callenbach’s Ecotopia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecotopia), where the Left Coast (except now that includes almost all of coastal CA) simply goes its own way and leaves the rest of the nation behind is slowly becoming true. It is also the theme of the more recent series California is the Future by Peter Leyden in The Medium (https://medium.com/s/state-of-the-future/california-is-the-future-6601cdf8caf8).”
I will add that in the Left Coast there is a growing sentiment that if the South were to attempt secession again that we should just let them go. If it was not for the severe geopolitical implications to which Dinsdale alludes, I would share in those sentiments.
My wife and I watched our granddaughter’s graduation from San Diego State University in May – it was streamed live over the internet. The number of minority graduates was very striking. My guesstimate is that the percentage could have been as high as 40-45%. I could be mistaken, but nevertheless the numbers were very high. When I say minorities, I am including Hispanics, Asian-American and Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, African Americans and others including the LGBTQ community. To think of the implications of those numbers of minorities obtaining university degrees, is mind boggling. But then CA is already a majority-minority state.
That commencement is an indication that things are working in some areas of the nation. That was what Newsome basically stated in his Florida Advertisement.
That very fact of increasing diversity, is extremely threatening to those whose very identity rests on white supremacy. Chris thoroughly explored that in his series of posts several months ago.
The people of the US are getting very irritated at the continuing crises created by a small subset of the people. All the trouble seems to originate from a few areas. To refer to Colin Woodard’s various published works, regarding The Eleven Nations of North America, those areas are the Deep South, Greater Appalachia and the Far West plus some areas in the Great Lakes states that are more like Greater Appalachia. Generally speaking Yankeedom (the Northeast), The Midlands, El Norte and the Left Coast, where the largest portion of Americans live and most of the GDP is generated, are very irritated and are determined to set things right. Their irritation is beginning to reach the point of no return. That happened following the firing on Fort Sumter in 1861 and happened in 1941 when Pearl Harbor was attacked. It also happened in 1917 when the Lusitania was sunk. It also happened in 1932, after the Republican Party took no action to combat the Great Depression for three years. Where the leadership comes from I do not know. But then in 1858, Lincoln was just a minor state politician in IL. In 1930, FDR was New York Governor and was no longer regarded as being of Presidential timber.
When I write this I am very aware that my own state, WA, along with the other Pacific Coast states have our own problems in that regard. But those problems originate in the inland portions that are part of the Far West and have very limited effects on the overall governance of those states.
That is the reason I continue to have hope that the people of the US will once again set things right as they have done in the past. Never bet against the American people, once they get aroused. That time is coming and I continue to have faith in the American People.
Want to know why the “culture wars” are getting so hot in places like Texas? Look at the demographics of the state’s university students.
Fewer than 40% of University of Texas students are white. Almost all of the second tier schools are majority minority by large margins. Change is coming.
One thing I find hopeful is that people in red states often have a broader perspective. I live in Alabama, and our former Senator Doug Jones (got elected because of a sex scandal related to a Republican but could not get reelected) urges Alabama Democrats to support the Wisconsin Democratic Party. Apparently Democrats have a strong opportunity in Wisconsin this year. We may be able to add a Senate seat from there. And especially moving to me is that Haley Barbour, the former Republican governor of Mississippi (!), is working for Wisconsin’s Democratic governor Tony Evers.
It’s probably a waste of money to try to challenge Republicans in most of Alabama, but Georgia may be more possible.
And what of these culture wars? Changing demographics, over a very long time, can change politics, but not in the short/medium term. History, even modern history, is riddled with cases where the minority ruled over the majority for extended periods. South Africa and Iraq (Ba’ath Party) come to mind. I imagine that Stalinist Soviet Union would be another example.
Why should the fascist death cult, with the support of 40% plus of the electorate, not be able to rule for at least the next decade?
Several years ago my wife and I went to the Lower Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival, based in Harlingen. On a trip we walked through the UTRGV. I was struck at the number of Hispanic Students. I actually thought that was a sign of change.
I definitely feel change is coming and I’ve so indicated in a number of comments. However, I also feel there are going to be some trying times ahead. Furthermore, I am confident that the American people will rise to the challenge and redirect the path of the US. We have done it before and can do it again. In that respect I am optimistic and have been for many years. I do not share the pessimism of Dinsdale.
On the flip side, TX will be one of the extreme hold outs to the change. Perhaps due to the strength of the Republican Party in TX. Whereas, other areas of the nation are already adapting to the forthcoming change. CA is perhaps the prime example. WA is adapting, but that adaptation is largely centered in the Puget Sound Basin. Eastern WA and SW Washington is a different story, but even they are accepting.
Civil War: It’s already happening in our school board meetings and libraries. In defiance of mask and vaccine public health recommendations. Republicans are confident in their game-plan for 2022 and 2024. After all, the dry run almost succeeded. Complete the takeover of the courts (appellate and states), control local and state election processes, send doctored results to Congress who, this time, are onboard and in control, and not a shot need be fired.
Scotus is already cooperating (LA and AL racial redistricting denials). The red state bully-in-chief (DeSantis) has been given authority and funding by his legislative sycophants for an election army totally at his command and is certain to employ his tactics to federal control when he ascends to the throne of white conservatism.
The preemptive play by T to distract voters from thinking too hard about his undeniable criminality and forcing the gutless RNC to choose which despot it prefers, will be interesting drama in coming weeks while “Rome burns”.
Tragically, I don’t see any individual who has the gravitas to step in and avert this disaster. That issue deserves a post of its own.
I live in NOVA home of the “CRT” issue that blew up in the schools. People outside of here don’t fully understand what actually went down.
NOVA is incredibly diverse, so there is no real “white block” vote you can carry it on. Then there is the issue that white people here are all the millionaire social liberal types. The income in Loudon County is staggering it’s the second richest county in the nation, the first is Fairfax right next to it, the third is Arlington. This is social liberal land, but economically these people want the poor poor and are all former Republicans. They are vicious.
People pay through the teeth in property value and taxes for public schools that will crush many of the elite private schools in the nation. But that only matters for Ivy level schools if your kids are in the Gifted and Talented or Advanced Placement (the terms vary) tracks. In a private all kids are “in that” (they aren’t all but you pay to say they were). So schools are a big deal here.
So the economic left pointed out that these advanced programs were basically all Asians and Whites. Blacks and Latinos were non entities. Which sort of makes sense. I’m tracking Middle Easterns as Whites but work with me. But why? The answer is really in income levels and slightly demographics. In the DC area there is a very healthy black middle and upper class. But they are on the MD side of the border. In VA, not so much really. Latinos do well, but most of those just straight up identify as White unless there is a plus in not doing so. And you wouldn’t notice either. Then there is a huge working class across all races and the same with poor.
So the way to address the situation was to kill off all the advanced programs at the schools. This would effective create a race neutral situation, but it would also cut off the ticket to Yale, Harvard, and the like that the White and Asian families had. Que massive outrage over this and a hard turn to the right who promised not to do this.
Of course Rufu and the Christian Right rolled into this and claimed it was all about CRT and trans and used it to wage their war against humanity but it was never that. It was a bunch of six figure or higher assholes who saw their kids ticket to a school (if it’s not Ivy it doesn’t count, and I’ve had plenty of jobs in the DC area where they only higher top X schools with top GPAs) vanishing and said “if it means Christian Theocracy and fascism to make sure my kid gets ahead then hell with it that’s what we do”.
Ultimately the concept of socially liberal, educated, professional party that is also a party of the working class and poor is insane. It’s never worked. It won’t now.
I’m heartened by your take on the power of individual cities. I hope it’s enough.
Barbara F. Walter wrote How Civil Wars Start: And How To Stop them says we are headed for “insurgency, which is a form of a civil war.”
She thinks Jan 6 was a “gift” because now we are talking about it instead of being unaware.
But the part about “do not engage the military” is a moot point. As all can see, and Mary has stated, the descent into a defacto dictatorship will be a fait accompli without shots being fired. The 2022 election, will seal the fate of democracy in the u.s., and the 2024 election will simply be a coronation. The fascists are not stupid. They can wait 2 more years to take over the Oval Office. Then they HAVE the military. Then the loser party will be reduced to fighting gunships and satellites with angry tweets.
The only factor is if there will be internecine conflict between the true fascists like the desantis camp and the death cult controlled by the tyrant. It would be a perfect for desantis if the tyrant was assassinated in early 2024/late 2023. And naturally, the loser party would be blamed. desantis would be anointed to the Oval Office in an overwhelming wave if an assassination of the insane tyrant was orchestrated.
We know the insane tyrant will pull out of NATO, and watch china take Taiwan, and russia take the Baltic states. We don’t know if the competent fascist desantis would.
We know the insane tyrant would tear up all state and international deals re: the Great Lakes and put a pipeline into Lake Superior to deal with the water crisis in the south-west. We don’t know if the competent fascist would.
We do know that both will ban abortion country wide, if the legislature and SCOTUS have not already done so by 2024.
It will indeed be an interesting hellscape in the years after 2024, when the 2 largest economies, and 3 largest militaries are in the hands of dictators. They can control political movements, but they can’t control Mother Nature. When Pakistan and India start trading nukes over the Indus River System of water supply, or when Lake Mead drops to its dead pool levels and no electricity is being produced, let alone the fact that no more water flows in the Colorado Creek, then things get even more interesting.
Leave! America isn’t a dictatorship like you crazily believe it is. Dins, accept reality. You HATE America. Leave!
I think it’s a mistake to think that winning the presidency means control of the military. When Trump said he’d like to bomb the families of terrorists, some in the military said they would refuse to do that.
Ted, if the fascists/death cult control SCOTUS, the Oval Office, and Congress, the military will follow along. I am not suggesting the insane tyrant can get away with saying “Arrest the AG of NY State”, and I doubt the competent fascist would even bother. And we both know that is not the military’s purview anyway.
But the military will most definitely follow any order that is in response to a “terrorist act” like someone blowing up a new pipeline sucking water from Lake Superior to Nevada.
Or if by some chance the loser party grows some balls and gets into street battles with the Oath Keepers, the military will most definitely side with the group aligned with current gov’t.
Thankyou for posting the link. It is an interesting read and all too true. The US is definitely showing the early stages of insurrection. I have been well aware of this for some time.
Ms. Walter is absolutely correct in her statement that the Jan 6 Insurrection and the Jan 6 Select Committee publicizing it effectively is a major gift.
As I’ve stated before the two forthcoming elections are going to be extremely important. To stop this, the Republican Party is going to have to be soundly defeated in sequential elections for several times. Perhaps 4-5. Despite all the warnings, the Republicans were not defeated in 2020 as they retained effective control of the Senate. The longer it takes to start that cycle of several defeats, the more difficult reestablishing sane government in the US will be. We’ll have to see how November turns out this year. I do have some limited hopes that this election will start the process, despite the historical norms and the prognostication.
I think we all need to look more closely at the independent state legislature (ISL) theory which the supreme court could take up next. If ISL prevails, there is nothing to stop state representatives from declaring whatever result they want in federal elections.
From this article (https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/independent-state-legislature-theory-explained), it’s worth quoting the meaning in full:
“Proponents of the independent state legislature theory reject this traditional reading, insisting that these clauses give state legislatures exclusive and near-absolute power to regulate federal elections. The result? When it comes to federal elections, legislators would be free to violate the state constitution and state courts couldn’t stop them.”
It’s quite possible that 4 current supreme court justices (Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch and Barrett – our current mullahs) will go along with this hooey but Kavanaugh may not. If ISL prevails, it would be the first step toward dismantling American democracy and moving toward an electoral autocracy.
This Supreme Court Review article lays everything out in great detail: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3731755
Anand, I think we may have reached a point where we need to just ignore Supreme Court decisions. I think the Court has lost much of its legitimacy. They are free to talk among themselves about the Constitution. I suppose they could publish articles about it.
I remember reading that Andrew Jackson refused to enforce one Supreme Court decision. We may need to see more of that. In my opinion, the excessive power of the Supreme Court is one of our greatest problems.
Ted, I agree with you 100%. It is a sad thing, but I believe you are right. SCOTUS has too much power/influence.
Thanks for the post. It’s nice to be able to read something that takes into account what is actually happening that many people are afraid to say out loud.
The Fascists have been working tirelessly to install as many judges as possible for 50+ years, knowing that ultimately the branch of government that “interprets” the Constitution that has the most power.
I still post your piece on weaponizing Federalism on other blogs and websites where I discuss politics, because I think that’s the most likely peaceful way we can avoid a Balkan-style civil war.
Look, it’s going to suck if you’re a socialist in Idaho, but guess what, democracy is messy and if Idaho wants to curtail your rights, you’re going to have to figure out a way to get them back. Maybe it involves moving, maybe it involves creating a movement yourself to take back the State government, or maybe it involves fighting the fascists on the street.
So, I still believe we should just adopt Strong Federalism. Hell, there could be enough Republicans and Democrats that would support a soft split so that California can do it’s thing and Idaho can do it’s thing, peacefully. Of course the fascists will continue attempting to take over the Federal Government, but at least with Strong Federalism there’s a chance that this gets pushed forward enough into the future that it won’t really matter at that point, anyway.
The US will not continue being 1 country forever, and a soft split can allow the Blue States to gain control of the Federal Government for long enough to take the nukes and military away from the fascists. That’s really about the only thing non-fascists can accomplish given the insanity of our fascists.
I don’t really think we can “win” them over, but we can hold on long enough to take away their ability to destroy us and themselves, before letting them go their separate but equal way, so to speak.
One more point. Sorry I have been going on so long. But if we accept that American cities like New York, San Francisco and Chicago are economically dynamic, what’s the explanation for that? Is it due to a white oligarchy? I don’t think so. In your piece, you push an analysis of the future of America in terms of the Jim Crow South. But the Jim Crow South was an economic backwater. I think the coming of Civil Rights laws was part of what helped change it, along with maybe things like the invention of air conditioning. Bigotry isn’t good for business. Cities are prospering because there really are opportunities there, but it isn’t equally shared with America as a whole. Democrats need to drive out of the party anyone who prioritizes the profitability of Wall Street over Main Street. That may mean we have to give up on being the world’s biggest economy. China has four times as many people, and their population is generally well educated. Why shouldn’t its GDP be higher than ours? It is only just that it should be. We need to move away from being a great country and work on being a good one like Canada.
This might help.
That’s a good article. Thanks. it is a mistake to equate our economic elite with Wall Street.
The author mentions that the local “gentry” supports the Republicans because they think they or their communities have lost something. I wonder why.
I’m curious as to how the gentry fits in. Are they racists, religious nuts or grifters?
Rich724, consider the thoughts I posted below in response to Ryan.
Chris, you grew up as a Republican, and were involved in GOP politics in Texas and Illinois. Was ANY of the current rhetoric around when you were there?
Chris, you are the historian. In Germany, say 1933-1939, what percentage of Germans just kept their heads down, and lived a relatively comfortable life, perhaps even prospered?
The tyrant, the monster running the senate, as well as either the 1st or 3rd members of SCOTUS installed by the tyrant, should have all been removed, with extreme prejudice. That is the kind of thing that fighters for democracy should have done years ago.
But clearly that is not happening. The loser party and its followers simply don’t have the guts to do what is necessary.
Fast forward 6 months. The House is most certainly in the hands of the death cult, and the Senate most likely as well. Assuming Garland has the guts (which I strongly doubt) to go after the seditionists and traitors of Jan 6th, Congress will find a way to shut down the DoJ.
Biden is so incompetent he can’t even find his own ass. Or he still thinks that “compromise” is a way to govern: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alisondurkee/2022/07/01/biden-may-soon-nominate-an-anti-abortion-federal-judge—to-appease-mitch-mcconnell/?sh=43108b3130a8
The fascists don’t have to throw elections. They will win the 2022 and 2024 elections outright.
All the awful things that you envision the fascists doing, they will indeed do, but unopposed. The loser party is still far too comfortable in their lives to do what you are suggesting.
Dins, shut the hell up and leave this site. All you do if doom and gloom. Chris and the rest of us are trying to PREVENT your insane scenarios. Shut up and go hide in a hole, asshole!
I wanted to make one more comment. You say that “state legislatures will be leveraged to hold America’s cities hostage to a white oligarchy.” The problem is there really isn’t a white oligarchy. It’s true that the wealthiest and most powerful people in the US are still usually white, That is unfortunate, but it’s also gradually changing. Let’s admit there is some racial progress, though slower than it should be. A lot of Republicans would say that the power of a white oligarchy is the last thing they are pursuing. They claim the important thing is making everyone take responsibility for themselves and rewarding those who achieve the most. That is missing the importance of society in making personal success possible. It also plays into the self-righteousness of white people who really are racist. It’s easy to think that people like ourselves are hard working and self-reliant. People of other ethnicities are bums. This is a really damaging error. But a common liberal response is these people are just not honest about their aims. That seems far fetched to me, given that even a substantial number of people of color accept this Republican position.
Ted, I agree with you about changing demographics. However, it is NOT just racial, but also demographic. White Americans (non-hispanic) make up about 57% of the US population as a whole. In 2017, there was an article on Medium, stating that California was the future of American politics. California is about 36% non-hispanic white; effectively, Republicans cannot win a the state level unless they drastically moderate their stances (i.e., they become like the Tories). My belief, as a millennial, is that until Boomers are no longer a voting majority, and until the US population as a whole is LESS than 50% non-hispanic white/Christian, we are going to be in the jaws of religious fundamentalism.
Ryan, it’s interesting to think about why fundamentalism would be connected to a declining demographic group. I do think fundamentalism is generally a fear-based worldview. When people are in a state of fear, they tend to be more willing to surrender their own independent judgment of things to “authorities.” Chris posted the Atlantic article above about the local “gentries.” I wonder if though they are comfortable themselves financially, they may still be somewhat infected by a sense of fear that is endemic to smaller towns. But I don’t think that is necessarily racism. The new racism is really something close to libertarianism. This plays into whites’ self-righteousness, but not all those whites are racist.
I think you are right about the need for civil disobedience and a new constitution. But I think your analysis of our problem is off. It is not primarily a problem of racism. Not that we don’t have a racism problem. America could be the most racist country in the history of the world. You hinted at the real problem in this paragraph:
“Those state legislatures will be leveraged to hold America’s cities hostage to a white oligarchy. In other words, the Confederate order will triumph, aligning the US with the governing model prevailing across most of Latin America. What America’s wealthy aristocrats lost at Gettysburg they’ll finally win.”
Our problem today is primarily a battle between cities and small towns. You touched on that situation several times in the piece. If you look at the political map of America today, cities are almost all blue and rural areas are all red. it’s a battle between prospering cities and dying small towns. I actually think racism is stronger in small towns than cities, too. It is hard to live in a city where you rub elbows with all kinds of people everyday and be racist. I take a more narrow understanding of racism than most liberals hold.
We need a new deal to spread prosperity across our populace. I think Universal Basic Income has potential. It seems it could revitalize small towns. People could often live in them on UBI alone, supplemented, perhaps, with a low-wage part time job. The minimum wage needs to go up to at least $15 an hour in large cities, but $10 should be adequate in small towns.
Your description of the civil disobedience that may be necessary is good. I think there is one flaw in it: the right wing is way better armed than the left. You seem to imply the left will be equally armed. I don’t think most people on the left want to be.
I absolutely agree we need a new constitution. France has had 5 in the time we’ve had one. You may be right that a new one will only come about when, as Alcoholics Anonymous puts it, “we hit bottom.” But in the interest of peace, I hope there is a way we can keep working within the framework of this one while keeping the need for another in mind. For one thing, it is difficult to believe the total collapse scenario you lay out would result in a united country. But maybe holding together really will be impossible. Everything ends eventually.
Spreading prosperity will not work. There’s something that keeps not being said about the crisis we are in, probably because the implications are terrifying and imply having to do things we don’t want to do in order to defeat the right.
We are already in a sectarian religious civil war and have been so for several years. The low level violence is part of it and it went partly hot on Jan 6.
If you look at the actual leaders of the right they are very clear about this. On the mild mannered sides you have people like Bill Barr. Who stated clearly and repeatedly that everything he was doing was because he can’t live out or pass down his faith in a society that is secular and does not promote and enforce traditional Christian morality. You also have people like Alito who fully stated he was doing what he was doing on the court to establish Christianity and give it special rights. Go down to actual thought leaders and they freely admit that if they are in a society that allows the changes of the sexual revolution, does not instill traditional Christianity, does not enforce Christian law, and does not promote and enforce traditional families and gender roles then they do not have religious liberty. If they don’t have religious liberty, than democracy is even and must be gotten rid of and they either need an Orban style system or if that fails a full out Franco. Go one more step down and you have the nuts promoting National Conservatism, which is just National Socialism but with theocracy. Next down you have the people like Boebert saying the Church should control the state, and state reps calling for killing all non Christian men and killing people who violate sexual morality. One more step down and you have the Christian battle flags, prayer groups, crosses, and Christian hymns at the Jan 6 riot which was proceeded by the Jericho March which had national religious leaders.
This is all continually avoided. So we get this silly it’s lack of education, it’s racism, it’s economic loss, it’s Trumpism, it’s Republicanism, it’s Fox News, and on and on. Which is all hilariously and stupidly wrong. Many of the most extreme ones out there are very well educated, upper middle class to very rich, non Fox watchers, who hated Trump. They sound utterly normal until they start talking about religion. At which point their eyes light up and you realize they are fanatics.
We haven’t confronted why the right went pro Russia so quickly. It was all about the Jesus. When the US legalized gay marriage Putin immediately cracked down on it, talked up traditional Christianity and hung out with priests. It was at that moment the right went all in on Putin. Their love for Orban? He openly states Christianity and it’s values are the key to The West. Franco? There are many fascists to choose from but Franco was all in Christianity in Spain and restored it.
A huge portion of those guns are coated in bible verses that justify violence. The patriarchal society they want with sexual and gender control, yeah that’s justified in the old and new testaments and church teaching. People wonder why working class and middle class people are willing to blow up government safety nets that they use but don’t actually listen to them. The churches should do it. Because then people will have to live Christianly to get anything. Ideally the government gives the churches the money, if not donations work. But government support is evil because then people don’t have to do what the Church wants to get support. Oligarchy is not a problem because if people are kept poor and low they will need to turn to the Church and thus follow traditional Christian morality. All of this is part of the reason the Catholic Church is buying up vast swaths of hospital networks and more. They move in and then blam any sort of sexual, reproductive, or gender care they don’t like is gone. And guess what, you can’t go to another place to get it they own everything in the area.
In other words, the root of all the issues we are facing is Christianity. Unless we confront and deal with that we are not fighting the fight we need to be. This will result in an utter loss to them. We will either eventually lose by cheating electorally and get an Orban on steroids, or they will go the fast route and use our non violence against us and install a Franco.
We are not going to get to keep all our freedoms and democracy if we keep Christianity. If we keep Christianity we are going to get something worse than The Handmaidens Tale and many of us are going to be up against the wall saying “when they go high, we go low, don’t get mad VOTE!” right before we get a bullet to the back of the head.
You make some good points, but keep in mind there are religious liberals like me. My analysis of how we got Trump is that religious conservatives tried to win America starting in the 70’s and failed to do so. Originally they conceived their Christian America as a wonderful, culturally rich, compassionate and just society. If you read people like Francis Schaeffer in the 70’s, he railed against “uncompassionate use of wealth” and even thought that Christians should be the most environmentalist of people. I am sure he would be horrified by what has happened to the Religious Right today (he died in 1984). But the problem was that they made an alliance with the Republican Party, so Republican priorities became their priorities, too. I am pretty sure that Schaeffer would have wanted to spend public money to support mothers and their unaborted children, but once the pro-life movement became Republican, there was no public money available for that.
I think when the Religious Right failed to win over America, they started to ask why not. One thing they didn’t want to consider is that there might be something wrong with their ideas. Instead, they drifted towards conspiracy thinking that people like Bill Clinton or Barack Obama were Satanically inspired. Q Anon is an interesting example of this. I am guessing that it is probably Russian disinformation. The reason is that the Russians or whoever it is have studied American culture and know a lot of fundamentalists are used to “creative” interpretations of the Bible. If one interpretation doesn’t turn out right, just change how you interpret it. So there are no facts that actually refute anything. I remember in 2018, Q Anon said there would be a “giant red wave.” When that didn’t happen, some people were disillusioned, but other “true believers” said we need to have faith. The red wave is still coming.
Why would I think that is foreign disinformation? The reason is that the Russians or whoever it is don’t actually have to win elections in America. They only have to sow confusion. I don’t think a Republican operative would send out Q Anon posts because he/she actually wants to win elections. To do that you have to deal in real information to some degree. The Russians are capitalizing on fundamentalists’ gullibility.
One more point. Jimmy Carter is a tough character for the religious right. The reason is he is hard to fit into the “Satanic” mold. If someone likes Ronald Reagan, he is under a lot of pressure to dislike Jimmy Carter. Religious Right people tend to talk about what a bad president he was. But what a contrast to Donald Trump! Obviously a much more sincere Christian.