It was less than an hour after I posted on my Caffeinated Politics Facebook page about the FBI search of Donald Trump’s Florida home when a white male reader commented that the action meant “civil war” upon the nation. This week Ricky W. Shiffer posted messages on Trump’s social media platform recommending that “patriots” go to Florida and kill federal agents. After he tried to break into the F.B.I.’s Cincinnati office his fate was sealed when he thought it wise to engage in a gun battle on an interstate with law enforcement. Shiffer was shot dead.
It is very clear from the national chatter that extremists, low on IQ and book learning, but loaded with crazy thoughts and deadly guns are intent on creating violence in the nation following the law-and-order process the FBI undertook this week in Florida. When a deranged personality was outside the home of a current member of the Supreme Court this summer, a hue and cry rightfully arose about the safety of the judiciary. The backlash, however, from conservatives this week about the violence and threats from angry white males in the nation, like Shiffer, were hardly registered. Transactional politics when it comes to the safety of our police and law enforcement officers is nothing short of repugnant.
If one listens and reads the crazy lingo from those white males who are engaged in right-wing militancy it is soon apparent, that they are again aggrieved—their favorite pastime when not stroking their weapons. They huffed and puffed and made threats this week of ‘locking and loading’ in their zeal to defend their cult leader, Donald Trump. Our nation, it needs all to be reminded, did not just arrive at such a moment; rather the GOP helped to create this situation.
The animus the Republican Party has fostered and yes, stoked, within their ranks against law enforcement and the rule of law-and-order is highly troubling and unsightly. We watched the GOP fall for Trump starting in 2015, and then over his term in office followed the disregard he had for the FBI, wanting to use the Attorney General as his own personal lawyer, and striving mightily to undercut the Constitution. The Republican Party stood by and watched and even started to mimic and repeat his false claims and further the erosion of respect for folks who put on a robe or a badge when they head to their job.
The outcome of Trump’s corrosive actions, and the spinless reaction from the GOP, is now playing out with the vile and threatening rhetoric and actions by the basest lowlifes in the conservative tent. In 2018, I wrote a post about the disregard Trump had for the judiciary.
What troubled me….and cuts to the core as to why Trump is viewed as dangerous to democracy–concerns his disdain for laws and our Constitution. To have our system work requires we acknowledge the rule of law. The public needs to respect the judgments of those who sit on the courts. The public needs to obey the laws and abide by the decisions of judges. To then have a person in the Oval Office lashing out with personal attacks on judges and the court system–as Trump does continually–sends a most disturbing message to the nation.
There is also the added danger that judges should never have to consider any fear of personal attacks, or venom from the citizenry when rendering a decision. Having an autocratic person in the White House should not in some way taint the decision-making process in a court of law. It is imperative that Trump show the proper respect for not only the law but those who decide the cases and shape laws.
The federal judge who signed the search warrant after being presented with facts as to what classified documents were strongly believed to be in Trump’s Florida home, and even where the documents that should not be anywhere except in a government building were located, should not be the target of terrorist threats by Trump’s flying monkeys. Yet the judge has been placed under law enforcement protection based on the threats of violence.
This is the second time in just a matter of weeks that I feel the need to write about the growing trend in the nation that views violence as an acceptable path forward in our nation. A poll finds that Americans say they believe violence against the government can at times be justified, that result being the largest share to feel that way in more than two decades. The percentage of Americans who say violent action against the government is justified at times stands at 34 percent, which is considerably higher than in past polls by major news organizations dating back more than two decades. Again, the view is partisan: The new survey finds 40 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents, and 23 percent of Democrats saying violence is sometimes justified.
Our nation has been placed in a truly contentious and troubling place due to the Republican Party caving to the very thing the Founding Fathers feared. It was my clear favorite of those men, Alexander Hamilton, who worried about the populace being swayed by a charlatan or one with low character. He knew of the Donald Trump types, as Hamilton had read books about the nature of mankind. He was also most aware of the threat of unlearned people being easily led, and led woefully astray, as the Trump base within the Republican Party has continually demonstrated.
The angry white males that are now threatening and seeking to intimidate the majority of the nation are precisely what Hamilton was worried about in his days of pondering the larger questions about our then-young nation. We join him in his justified worries.