Back in 2013, when I first started writing about gun violence for Huffington Post, I started receiving all kinds of hate mail from my Gun-nut Nation friends. After all, here I was, a member of the NRA (and an Endowment member no less) who was saying that America’s ‘first civil rights organization’ was full of sh*t. And saying it in a very public media space.
One day I got a call from the ATF. The caller told me that I was going to be placed on a ‘domestic terrorism watchlist’ which was jointly administered by the FBI. The ATF agent also told me to consider installing better security around my gun shop and my home. And most of all, he warned me never to open a piece of mail from anyone I didn’t know.
So here I am, eight years later, still saying that the NRA is full of it and not yet being attacked by anyone at all. Gee, what a surprise!
I get the same feeling about how the liberal media has been playing up the ‘threat’ to American democracy unleashed by Trump telling his supporters to march on Capitol Hill. Not that I think Trump shouldn’t be impeached and then charged with serious crimes. But for all the talk about an ‘armed insurrection,’ I have yet to see that anyone who charged into the Capitol building was carrying a gun.
What really appears to be happening here is an attempt by Trump to somehow transform his MAGA movement into a replacement for the GOP. His attacks on GOP party officials in states like Georgia and Arizona isn’t just the behavior of a sore loser, it’s also a strategy designed to make sure that his so-called ‘grass roots’ supporters will take over state-level party affairs.
Trump’s attempt to remake the GOP, however, is complicated by the fact that he no longer has access to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media venues that he used to reach his ‘base’ over the last four years. Which means he’ll have to rely on surrogate individuals and groups to get his message across. And in reaching out to those helpmates, let’s not forget that he’ll have plenty of help from my liberal, mainstream media and liberal, advocacy friends.
Ever hear of the American Freedom Party? They claim to have offices in 7 different states, and promote the idea that being White, being pro-American and being pro-Trump are one and the same thing. Back in 2016, the Southern Poverty Law Center said that the AFP was “arguably the most important white nationalist group” in the United States. How many members were in the group? Roughly two thousand, okay? That’s some ‘most important’ group.
Then we have the QAnon bunch who showed up in force to lead the Capitol Hill assault.
They were led by their shaman, Jake Angeli, who was booted out of the Navy for refusing to be vaccinated and has since promoted himself on social media as a fervent supporter of Donald Trump.
This is what you do now when you don’t have a job. You build an internet following and show up at as many rallies and other crowd events as you like. Which is what Trump will no doubt begin doing after he’s unemployed later this coming week.
If I were Tom Wolfe and wanted to write a Bonfire of the Vanities type book about the last days of the Trump Administration, there’s no way I could come up with a storyline which is as good as what is going on right now.
Here we have the President of the United States allegedly compiling a list of ‘enemies’ comprised of GOP Senate and House members who have turned their backs on him, and he’s being helped by Steve Bannon who was thrown out of the White House but now that he’s been indicted, he’s let back in. On the other hand, Trump’s most visible supporter over the last four years, Rudy Giuliani, has now been told by Trump to get lost and disappear.
So, here’s the real question: What are we going to do for entertainment after next week?