And so, let us sum up how matters seem to stand.
Rights for White People
Reflecting on Monday evening’s events in Lafayette Park, some have expressed surprise that many of our fellow ‘Mericans believe that the text of the First Amendment reads as follows:
Congress shall make no law that affects rightwing white folks respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercises thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people p;eaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
In fact, there is no reason at all for surprise. That is because about one quarter to one third of our population
- think that when a black person votes, it’s ipso facto voter fraud,
- think that only Republicans deserve to win elections,
- think that an election in which a Democrat receives the most votes is ipso facto an illegitimate election, and
- form the core of Trump’s base.
A good number of them think they would like to see a race war.
A non-trivial number of them are ready to build some gas ovens and start shoving people like me inside.
It is should come as no surprise, then, that these people also think that the First Amendment only applies to them, not to Democrats, and not to black and brown people.
As Lenin Famously Asked, What is to be Done?
Well, it would be nice to change their minds. Failing that, what is to be done is to drive an immovable wedge—or, if you like, dig a really big moat and fill it with alligators—between them and the rest of us.
So, How’s that Alligator-Filled Moat Coming Along?
Pretty well, I would say. On the one side, there are some white vigilantes and a non-trivial portion of our police forces, with the proportions varying from place to place.
But it’s reasonably clear, after the events of the last four days, that the military will be on the other side. The military brass is probably not going to put up with illegal and unconstitutional orders.
And think about how poor a tool the rank and file military would be in a race war. Whole lotta black and brown folks.
Befehl ist Befehl
Our military knows that the Nuremberg Defense—“I was just following orders”—is not going to cut the mustard.
On Monday, we saw illegal orders, illegally given, and illegally obeyed.
Between Monday night and this afternoon, we have seen the backlash.
And the People are Still Protesting
And, as many have noted, they are not 9in the main) protesting Trump. They are protesting racial and economic inequality. They are mad, and they are just not going to take it anymore. And without the military to suppress them, they sure as hell are not going to let themselves be suppressed by a certain element of the police and some white vigilantes.
Trump’s Little Dilemma
If Trump does not persist in trying to use the military to block the majority’s exercise of constitutional rights, Tom Cotton will call him a limp noodle.
If Trust does give unconstitutional orders, the military probably will not obey them.
It must really suck to be Donald Trump.