The Written Invitation to Bite Back a Thousand Times

Sooner or later evil stops just snarling and baring its fangs –and bites.

That’s what has happened in Arizona: the Oath Keepers have taken the first step of violent overthrow of US constitutional governance. And 12 million Americans think this and more is just superfine.

Arizona is just the first step towards things like the Einsatzgruppen in the lower picture, above. Just consider what these traitors are willing to do. Do we want to wait to find out yet again what cults do to people?

If this had happened in another country we would call it what it is without a moment’s hesitation: political terrorism. Threatening elected officials and their families with harm to force access to votes and then to refuse public auditing of the counting? For a Presidential Election that has long since been verified and closed as valid? Who on earth gives these bullies and thugs the right to question that? Gaining permission by threatening bodily harm? Hiding their process to change the outcome? Thinking that they know better than the people what the people decided? Acting to prove their lie rather than to improve our processes? What else could any reasonably prudent person label this attack?

For those who might somehow doubt that assertion, this: it does not require any special law to take down this attack and the Oath Keepers behind it! All anyone should need to grasp is that this is not an audit, that it violates all the requirements of an audit, that is aimed at the heart of our federal governance, trust in election monitoring, and has used the intimidation of bodily harm to responsible officials and their families to get at the ballots and “audit” them in secret.

And because a President of the United States has twice been released from paying the penalty for prima facie high crimes and treason, his BIg Lie that Mr Biden is a usurper of the election process has taken root in a substantial minority of our electorate. They are doing what Goebbels and Hitler knew they would do if the Big Lie were repeated often enough and given any form of support at all: become indignant, angry and want to tear down the edifice that they now believe is undermining their rights, even if that is evidentially and de facto untrue.

We have as part of our governance a wild fire just waiting to be lit.

And this act of terror in Arizona is the spark to light it. If the people of Arizona who do not want this (and the private conversations show that they are the majority) continue to stick their heads into the sand and betray the country that gave them the freedom to disagree, then it will ignite and grow like wildfire.

Of course making the mind up to act now and act decisively, finally takes understanding that these self-righteous, but deluded and fatally manipulated terrorists are betting that those who could crush them in DC wil drag their feet, obfuscate, deny approvals, argue it away.

Why not? That’s effectively what they have done so far. Just how much of a threat to the Oath Keepers and their ilk do they think that more federal investigations and state trials will be? Do the rest of us not read history? Do we not recall that Hitler led a putsch attempt in Bavaria, was arrested, tried and sent to prison.

And he used the time in his well appointed prison apartment rooms to write Mein Kampf, prepare to use his trial as a platform for campaigning for his Nazi cause, and get out early to go right back and this time eventually succeed in destroying Germany’s Weimar democracy without ever having fired another shot or gotten a majority in the Reichstag?

Yes the Weimar Republic was fatally flawed by weaknesses in its constitution. But: Did Donald Trump do his almost fatal damage to the country and constitution he was sworn to protect and uphold, only twice to be let off by the cowardly, traitorous Senate Republicans — because our constitution was working so well? Is he still at large because he has been rendered harmless by a political system that automatically knows how to shut down wannabe dictators like him? Are the oath keeper thugs and bullies perpetrating their treason in Arizona because our system is built to handle this? If so, why has it not done so already?

All it takes is the realization that this sort of terrorism from the Top can happen because our system has no way of stopping a President who is a criminal. We relied with pride in the mold of the transfer of power peacably set by George Washington and assumed nobody would ever usurp that, because, after all, we were exceptional. Note that the last verb in the previous sentence no longer can be read simply as narrative past. It must also be read as a statement of factual past-ness: our exceptional status, mostly of the level of legend in our own mind, is dead and gone. We cannot deal with Trumpcult and still believe that we are somehow exceptions to human frailty, duplicity, naïveté and culpability.

We used to be the people about whom Goethe wrote, Amerika du hast es besser: America, you have it better.

No more.

What we now have is reflected in another insightful poem by that same great man:

Who never ate his bread in tears,

Who never throughout sorrowful nights,

Sat weeping on his bed,

He knows not you, Heavenly Powers.

You bring us into life,

The poor man you let fall into guilt,

Then leave him to his pain:

For all guilt is suffered for on earth.

Translations by Richard Stokes, author of The Book of Lieder (Faber, 2005)

We must act now, when our cock-sure arrogance has been knocked into a cocked hat and then run over by the Trump Truck. It is the only time we will have the credibility and compelling force of morality free of self seeking. It will be more persuasive because we will have been bleeding from the wound to pride and presumption. And that’s an advantage the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and the other self-righteous, presumptuous exceptionists cannot claim.

All it takes is an understanding that Trumps cadres are not his supporters, they are armed, angry, trigger-ready Trumpcult drones.

There is an ancient way of describing what they have done: sold their souls to the devil. Goethe, the great German writer and commentator on human nature, in the worlds most thorough work on evil, Faust, has the devil tell Faust who he is: I am the spirit who constantly negates. But this is the modern Prince of Darkness: no horns, no tail, no cloven hooves, but a good natured, urbane, sophisticated looking, infinitely manipulating bon vivant. He could easily look just like Donald Trump.

Evil going beyond snarling baring of fangs.....
Mephistopheles (ancient Germanic name for Devil) beguiles and cajoles Faust to sell him his soul. Delacrois painting, early 19th Century, source Wikimedia.

So all it takes is understanding that we need no other answers about why this is happening. We need no more theories about his cult members being just dissatisfied Americans. Arizona should have nailed that debate shut for good.

This requires that the rest of us get going together and root this out with whatever that will take. Luther told us: when faced with this degree of betrayal and loss of good faith for the community. no one individual can handle this. We all have to agree to quell this now and with categorical decisiveness.

Do we, who need our democratic union to survive, believe in those values articulated by Lincoln at such tremendous cost, less strongly than these terrorists believe in their nihilism?

The Rubicon has been crossed.

Henning von Treschkow was the organizer of the Walküre Assassination attempt on Hitler. When he learned of the faillure of the coup, in order to prevent the Gestapo torturing the identities of other conspirators out of him, he went into the wood and shot himself dead.

What in the name of all that is good and desirable are our leaders waiting for–a written invitation?

Here it is then: for every bite into Government of, by and for The People, The People must bite back a thousand times more and a hundred times harder.