In what is by now old news, last weekend a few hundred heavily armed neo Nazis, white supremacists and members of the deceptively named “alt-right” marched in Charlottesville, Virginia. After weeks’ long period of relative calm, during which we, as a nation, watched the steady march of the special prosecutor’s investigation into the current White House occupant’s ties with Russia, all hell broke loose. And it’s still breaking.
On November 1, when it became clear that IT was going to happen, I dejectedly drove home from the campaign party where we had hoped to celebrate, and wondered, how is this all going to play out? Because I had talked to enough gun rights advocates to know that the US population, as a group, is very heavily armed. And I had read enough to know that a large portion of those who are heavily armed, in many cases with military grade weapons, are rabid supporters of the Cheeto asshole (sorry, Cheetos, no offense intended).
In my most paranoid dreams, I thought he might issue some kind of dog whistle the day after the election and the armed hordes would descend on Hillary and Bernie supporters, massacring us in our homes, while an indifferent military looked on. But, honestly, I have more faith in our military, and despite some very bad behavior from some members of the law enforcement community, I have more faith in them.
And, in some ways I thought it might be a blessing in disguise that Hillary didn’t make it, because if she had, given the fever pitch of paranoia fueled by fake news and wishful thinking, those well-armed hordes might have spilled into the streets in order to ‘reclaim’ what they would have believed was a stolen presidency.
In my less fevered imaginings I thought that the neo Nazis assholes and their ilk would try to demonstrate, and would come out heavily armed, so even if they didn’t get violent, they would send a message meant to intimidate.
And now, here we are. Well, actually, we got there earlier, most notably when Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche were murdered in Portland by a white supremacist who had made himself conspicuous at a “free speech” rally weeks earlier. But somehow, while we were horrified by the murders, they seemed less directly connected to the alt-right/neo nazi/white supremacist movement because the march and the murders happened at separate times and in separate places and this distance enabled the alt-right to disavow a connnection.
But now, with the murder of Heather Heyer it’s happened. It’s happening. Heavily armed Nazis, KKK members and members of the “alt-right” are converging in public places and have murdered someone, in broad daylight, as an immediate part of their demonstration. Murdered someone who was there to protest against them.
And our Cheeto? What is he doing? Blaming the victims, and smearing the defenders of good, for starters. Then backpedaling, presumably under pressure from his staff and party. Then, because apparently he can’t take direction and he can’t keep his fool mouth shut for more than a day, showing his true colors once again the minute he is able to escape the clutches of his handlers.
So now, I wonder, what’s next? Is this the beginning of the dog whistle’s shrill sounding? Are militia groups gathering up in secret, ready to take to the streets and kill us all? Or kill those of us who don’t look like them? And those of us who defend those who don’t look like them? Will they be emboldened by the tacit and overt approval they have received from our Commander in Chief?
And then what? Because I think this could really happen, and I wonder how our military will handle it? And our police? If the militias’ violence is met with resistance from the military, then we might have a chance. If the police force them to stand down if they’re violent, then we might have a chance. But if the military follow their commander’s likely orders and align with them, or the police look the other way while aggrieved, entitled, angry, heavily armed white men start mowing people down, then it’s civil war and the end of the American experiment.
I would love to hear from members of law enforcement, or those who can represent their viewpoint, because honestly I don’t know what to expect. At first it seemed that the police in Charlottesville were letting the hatemongers do their thing, but then later it came out that the organizers of the march had misled public officials about what they were up to and where they would gather, in what looks like a deliberate effort to divert law enforcement away from themselves as long as possible.
I want to believe that the forces of good in this country outnumber the forces of evil. I want to believe that the appalling display of hatred we say in Charlottesville is the death rattle of that movement, not the warm-up. But I can’t escape the knowledge that we as a country elected a man who wants to see them succeed.