Contrary to Rep. Lauren Boebart’s tweet on the morning of January 6, 2021, it is not 1776, the year of our Declaration of Independence during the American Revolutionary War. Rebels are not fighting for freedom from an oppressive foreign regime. It is not even 1861, the year that the American Civil War started. Soldiers are not fighting to end slavery. It is 2021, the year that a group of domestic terrorists stormed the US Capitol in a deadly attempted coup.
The deep political division in the United States is based in white supremacy, similar to the American Civil War, and the MAGA militants definitely yearn for a new civil war; however, it will not remotely resemble the first one. Uniformed soldiers are not going to stand across a field and shoot directly at one other. People wage war differently in the 21st century; guerrilla warfare is the norm. Hit and run attacks. Small groups of insurgents. Scattered violence against political targets and ideological opposition. In fact, this new civil war has already begun.
The chasm between the progressive left and radical right repeatedly plays out in our city streets and in the halls of Congress, but it’s no longer a partisan debate over policy and opinions. Condemning white supremacists is not partisan. Promoting religious fundamentalism and conspiracy theories is not partisan. Radicalizing people with lies and inciting an insurrection against our democracy is not partisan.
This is not about politics. This is a war over the very perception of reality—where daily Orwellian tactics by Trump and Trumpsters dominate the airwaves and white supremacists are on the rise, furious that white people are no longer the only ones heard, employed, and considered relevant. Never in my darkest nightmares did I think we would use the term Nazi in present tense, but fascism is growing in America.
Rooted in systemic racism and religious fundamentalism, along with Trump encouraging these “very fine people,” white supremacists have taken over the Republican Party. No longer conservatives, the GOP is now filled with racial and religious extremists disinterested in facts, history, and science, choosing instead to believe repeated lies, conspiracy theories, and superstition.
Since Trump took office, this dangerous movement’s numbers and visibility have increased in horrifying fashion: The shocking Charlottesville march in 2017, an armed occupation of the Michigan State Capitol and attempted kidnapping of their Governor in 2020, violent clashes with anti-fascists and shooting protesters, the attempted running of Biden’s campaign bus off the road in Texas. This vicious, unprovoked brutality has been led by white supremacistsm, encouraged by Donald Trump, and excused by many GOP lawmakers. Few, if any, of these perpetrators have faced proportionate consequences.
This is a slow civil war, gradually unfolding and gaining momentum.
This new civil war is happening right now.
The economic fallout and unending hours of lockdown during this global pandemic coupled with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the dangerous rhetoric from Trump– who has brought this country dangerously close to full-blown fascism– put the slow rise of white supremacy on the fast track, culminating in the attempted coup at the US Capitol.
These terrorists who breached the Capitol proudly carried the racist Confederate Flag in its hallowed halls. They wore swastikas and other fascist symbols. They tore down the American Flag and replaced it with a Trump one. They murdered one police officer and savagely assaulted others. They looted offices and spread feces on the walls. They desecrated the halls of Congress. They call themselves patriots, but they are traitors. Their violent siege was an act of war against our democracy.
The members of Congress who still back this treasonous president are complicit in this deadly insurrection. They are fueling this radical rebellion and fanning the flames of civil war. Every member of Congress who voted against the certification of the electoral votes and parroted the big lie of a stolen election have committed sedition. They along with Trump are directly responsible for the attempted coup.
This new civil war has been fought in our city streets throughout 2020, and then it came to our Capitol, threatening our very democracy. Unless Trump, those complicit in Congress, and the traitors that stormed the Capitol are arrested and convicted for sedition, it is far from over. As Trump has said multiple times, this is only the beginning.