This week, Americans took to the streets to protest shutdown orders and social distancing guidelines. Michigan hosted a very awkward scene. Protesters armed with assault rifles stood in the state Capitol. Some legislators wore bulletproof vests. This stretches the limits of the notions of protesting. In truth, these people looked a lot more like armed terrorists.
I know that sounds a bit harsh. However, what they are doing fits the definition. Moreover, signs carried outside the Capitol showed their intentions. Yes, outside. Apparently the first amendment is banned inside, but the second isn’t. Wouldn’t want someone to get hurt by a careless word, right?
For those of you having a hard time making the leap to terrorist, I’ll make my case. Furthermore, this is the best example to show the dark underbelly of the right wing culture wars. How race, religion, and patriarchy tie in to politics culminating in a culture war for the soul of our nation.
Would they be armed terrorists if…
Remember the Muslim ban, rebranded as a travel ban? Imagine if armed, middle eastern men in turbans had rallied outside the White House with assault rifles to protest it. Would you call them terrorists? The right definitely would.
Imagine this. Law enforcement shoots an unarmed black man. Black Lives Matter activists storm the local police department armed with AR-15’s. How far would they make it? Would you call them armed terrorists?
ANTIFA shows up to protest a Trump rally. Donned in masks and carrying rifles, they stand in the balcony glaring at attendees. Would President Trump simply wear a bulletproof vest and continue the rally? Would you call ANTIFA terrorists?
Or how about the women’s march in Washington D.C.? Their vagina hats were widely mocked. However, if they had been marching with M16s would the hats still be your focus? Or would you call them armed terrorists?
I use each of these examples for a specific reason. Race, religion, patriarchy, and politics tie in to the center of this culture war. Furthermore, all of these factions are necessary to make it work. There aren’t enough racists for them to gain political power. Moreover, if this were just about sexism, their numbers would fall short. These groups are tied in together because they need each other to succeed. And the GOP is the tie that binds these groups together.
Viewing this dichotomy through the lense of the Second Amendment.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Why wouldn’t Republicans celebrate armed Muslims, blacks, or women fighting back against a repressive Federal Government? Easy. A proper reading of the Second Amendment through the eyes of the founders shows that they have no right to.
First, read the phrase “right of the people”. At the time of ratification, blacks weren’t people. They were property. Hence, they had no right to bear arms. The founders wouldn’t want a slave revolt now, would they? Moreover, the first Muslims in colonial America were slaves brought over from Africa. Thus they also lacked this right.
Second, read the phrase “well regulated militia”. What did that mean to the founders? The militia was the adult male citizenry. Thus, the founders clearly weren’t giving women this right. Furthermore, it wasn’t until 1839 that Mississippi would become the first state to allow women to legally own property. Clearly the founders were not feminists.
And this is where it all ties together. Don’t be distracted by race, religion, or sex. This is a cultural issue. Trump’s Republican party has fully embraced the southern American culture. They embrace originalism because it props up a white European Protestant patriarchal culture. By “Make America Great Again”, they mean to reinstate that culture. In 2017, Republican Senatorial candidate Roy Moore admitted as much. Moreover, he did so to a black man who asked him when America was great.
“I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery — they cared for one another…. Our families were strong, our country had a direction,”
This leads us to the second apparent dichotomy of these Trump supporters.
As we saw, what appeared to be a dichotomy really wasn’t. They oppose revolutionary threats from people the Constitution never intended to protect. However, they support their own right to revolt since it was granted only to them. The second apparent dichotomy is also a misunderstanding.
Trump supporters often say the don’t like what President Trump says, they just like what he does. However, they then say that they like how he’s not afraid to tell it like it is. How can both of these things be true?
Many Trump supporters are turned off by either racism, sexism, religious bigotry, or crass language. Thus, when they hear the President say bigoted things, they cringe. It’s an unwelcome reminder of the dark underbelly of their movement.
However, these attacks are also shots fired at the enemy, the multicultural left who accepts “immorality” like gay marriage and abortion, an affront to the largest segment of the GOP base. The Evangelicals. Thus, to establish the traditional culture, Democrats need to be defeated. Hence, Trump’s supporters love the attack while they hate the reminder of the racially and religiously bigoted undercurrent in their movement.
How to deal with these armed terrorists.
In 1967, 30 members of the Black Panthers protested on the steps of the California statehouse armed with .357 Magnums, 12-gauge shotguns and .45-caliber pistols and announced, “The time has come for black people to arm themselves.”
History shows us how to deal with these threats. Moreover, one has to fight fire with fire. Armed black panthers got the NRA to lobby Ronald Reagan to ban concealed carry in the State of California when he was governor. Perhaps it’s time for them to step up again.
The Constitution may have originally reserved these rights for white males. However, civil rights legislation has altered that. Thus, it is no surprise that President Trump has even lashed out against the 14th Amendment, which gave citizenship to freed slaves. The movement he represents wants to take us back to the culture that existed prior to the civil rights era.
Yes, I am a white male. However, in this culture war I side with the left. I believe in freedom. Moreover, I don’t define freedom as the right to live under the religious convictions of the vocal minority. Pro choice activists aren’t trying to force me to get an abortion. Nor are marriage equality supporters trying to force me to marry a man. They’re fighting for their right to be themselves, and I agree with them. When they are free to be them, then I am free to be me.
I disagree with the shutdown protesters. However, I fully support their right to protest. It is merely their tactics which I oppose. An assault rifle is useless against a virus. Moreover, they are not protesting in a war zone. Hence, there is only one reason to carry these weapons to the protest. To intimidate and strike fear into those who disagree with them. These people aren’t protesters, and the aren’t patriots. They are armed terrorists. We must stand up to them and speak out against their tactics and the culture that they wish to terrorize us into accepting.