A Party Willing to Excuse Theft of Nuclear Secrets Has Already Left the American Project
The indictment of Donald Trump has been called many things from unprecedented to historic. However, the word “clarifying” best defines the gravity of the moment. We now unquestionably know that America sits at an unbridgeable divide, and dangerously close to the precipice of civil war.
This does not necessarily mean that the tense situation will spiral into a hot war, although it’s certainly possible. It does, however, mean that we have two competing visions of America that are irreconcilable. Wishful thinking is no longer helpful and there is no other rational conclusion to draw from the Republican’s reprehensible reaction to Trump’s indictment.
Former President Trump stole classified documents. He used lackeys to hide boxes of pilfered papers in his tacky Palm Beach corruption castle. There are witnesses, photographs and even tapes. While Trump is innocent until proven guilty, special counsel Jack Smith’s indictment provided a mountain of damning evidence.
Regardless of whether Trump can slither out of being convicted, his reckless actions incontrovertibly jeopardized national security. The indictment states:
The classified documents Trump stored in his boxes included information regarding defense and weapons capabilities of both the United States and foreign countries, United States nuclear programs, potential vulnerabilities of the United States and its allies to military attack and plans for possible retaliation in response to a foreign attack. The unauthorized disclosure of these classified documents could put at risk the national security of the United States, foreign relations, the safety of the United States military and human sources and the continued viability of sensitive intelligence collection methods.
For the exception of Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and a few other GOP endangered species, the reaction by Republican leaders was to holler and howl. This vile display of unpatriotic and disloyal behavior was not surprising, but it shows how we are occupying the same land but no longer sharing the same country.
When a Party is so in thrall to a vainglorious, autocratic cult leader that it is willing to risk the lives of our service members, intelligence assets and our families, it has unilaterally exited the American experiment. These contemptible actions severed any remaining ties to Americans who remain loyal to upholding the U.S. Constitution.
There are some Republicans, such as Louisiana Rep. Clay Higgins, an abusive former police officer, who openly called for civil war. He wrote in a chilling Tweet:
President Trump said he has “been summoned to appear at the Federal Courthouse in Miami on Tuesday, at 3 PM.” This is a perimeter probe from the oppressors. Hold. rPOTUS has this. Buckle up. 1/50K know your bridges. Rock steady calm. That is all.
Raw Story reports that Higgins:
Has previously spoken at events held by mostly white militias, including the Oath Keepers, and sold T-shirts at political events featuring the logo of the anti-government III Percent militia, while threatening to shoot members of a Black militia that took part in Black Lives Matter marches in 2020.
Journalist and author Jeff Sharlet said, “I think this is scary as hell” and explained Higgins’ obscure military references:
“1/50 k refers to military scale maps & publicly available US Geological Survey maps of areas mostly surrounding military installations. This isn’t a metaphor. This isn’t a slow civil war. This is a congressman calling for the real thing.
Take this seriously. ‘Perimeter probe’: Higgins thinks indictment precedes bigger attack. ‘rPOTUS’: real POTUS,’ Trump. ‘Hold’: ‘stand back & stand by.’ ‘Buckle up’: prepare for war. ‘1/50 k’: military scale maps. ‘Know your bridges’: militia speak for prepare to seize bridges.
If you’re laughing at Rep Clay Higgins using militia speak, referencing military grade maps, & telling Trumpers to ‘know your bridges,’ recall that Canadian far rightists held border bridges recently in a tense standoff. This is on the table.”
In a normal country, Rep. Higgins would not serve another day in Congress and would receive a knock at his door by the FBI. But his menacing Tweet is heartwarming compared to what MAGA-world is threatening online. It’s becoming clear that a not inconsequential number of MAGA-affiliated extremists are psychopaths and sadists.
This subset of the MAGA-mob dress-up their fury in political jargon, but their real mission is to sow political discord to create the conditions so they can be unleashed to commit atrocities and crimes against humanity. They are itching for conflict, building arsenals and biding time to exact retribution. Rolling Stone reported on the incendiary rhetoric at an online pro-Trump forum:
User “Nerdrem1” insisted taking out a few elites wouldn’t make the difference, suggesting the number of dead required was on a genocidal scale: Millions.
User “horsepaste420” wrote: “I just feel like we’re going through the motions until all hell breaks loose.” A commenter named “Blackrider” concurred: “Same here dude. Stacking bags and loading mags. Just waiting for the calm to end, and the chaos to begin.”
User “vax_was_a_bioweapon” posted…“If they steal the election again why are we talking about anything but dragging the political elite out of their homes and setting them on fire?”
Scaring you is not my intention. I’m not predicting that these sick right-wing fantasies will come to fruition. Although it’s possible. The most likely form our civil conflict will take is a fierce competition between blue and red states. We already see the incipient stages with a vast and growing chasm in laws pertaining to LGBTQ issues, reproductive rights, racial justice the environment, and guns.
On paper our nation may remain united, but the division between laws in liberal and conservative states is quickly becoming so vast that it will soon be like living in two different countries. The hijacking of the Supreme Court, under the auspices of states’ rights, will most likely exacerbate the further division of America into two separate political systems.
The continuous agitation by right wing lawmakers and professional outrage entrepreneurs, as we’ve seen post-indictment–will all but ensure random acts of Timothy McVeigh-style terrorism. This might occur sooner than later with Florida’s new gun law—offering no permit carry or training for gun ownership—effective July 1.
The winner of this existential struggle between state political systems will be no less critical to the future of democracy and human rights than the rivalry between the United States and China.
The best hope to avoid an irreparable national rift is demographics. Perhaps, our nation can muddle along in tension until demographic shifts and actuary tables allow for the creation of a politics that genuinely reflects our diverse nation. The mass arrests of January 6 insurgents might also give pause to enough extremists that we somehow slide through this overheated, irrational period.
As it stands today, it is increasingly difficult to see how America unifies when a third of the nation appears to defend the theft and coverup by a former president of classified documents containing nuclear secrets and military vulnerabilities that could lead us to losing a war. Those who view Trump as persecuted, rather than perfidious, have already left America mentally. They have moved on to a new national project with its terrifying, authoritarian outlines slowly emerging into view.