BY KEITH M. JUDGE
The most critical issue right now is testing.
Not only must everyone be tested, everyone must submit to being tested. I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is. This is not something everyone does voluntarily. This is a matter of civic duty. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the next batch of nurses and doctors we train to go door to door, conducting a census, swabbing mouths and distributing aid. Only then will social distancing laws be relaxed. At the very least, we’ll be reading the temperature in the room. We’ll know what we’re dealing with.
So when Trump alleged that “anybody” could obtain a test, he didn’t really mean, “anybody.” He spouted whatever nonsense he believed would distract from his failings, intimidate his audience and deliver him one step closer to a New York Strip, well-done, side of ketchup. Governor Andrew Cuomo made a sensible observation the day before the liar-in-chief’s tour of The CDC in March: “. . . the more people you test, the more positives you’ll find. The number has to go up.” We don’t even have enough tests to fully comprehend the scope of the problem, and if you don’t think that’s some kind of epic failure, you’re probably brainwashed.
What is the best way to get people back to work? We don’t see protests as the best way to do that. Instead, we are working directly with policymakers to bring business leaders and public health officials together to help develop standards to safely reopen the economy without jeopardizing public health. The choice between full shutdown and immediately opening everything is a false choice.
That’s a statement from the oft-quoted, Koch-lead astroturf campaign, Americans for Prosperity, which is pushing for an early release of quarantine measures, cleaving a divide in the country between left-leaning voters, who support a circumspect approach, and Republican voters, who want to go right back to work, fuck the consequences, “people die every day.” The second strategy was work-shopped in whatever place Wall Street meets K Street: a smoke-filled room, a cold window in a Manhattan office tower, Mount Doom . . .
When it comes down to it, the only reason people want to “restart” the economy is either because they’re attached to some antiquated, group-think concept of “normalcy,” or they have some employees they’re eager to exploit. Let Trump stock the shelves of a bodega in Brooklyn for a month. If he doesn’t get sick, I’ll come out and play. We’ve roused some ancient thing, a dragon that won’t rest until we learn our lesson. Protesters who tote semi-automatic rifles on the steps of our capitols or gather in our city centers while flaunting measures enacted to safeguard public health are blinded by sideshow politics, lost in labyrinth of lies or consumed by hate. They either don’t know or don’t care about the suffering they invite into their neighbor’s homes. Their faith is an unspoken oath to obey without questioning. Their banners say, “We do not comply,” but these people wouldn’t know the meaning of noncompliance if it bit them in the ass. If it doesn’t drip from the jowls of some ring-kissing fascist, Trump’s devotees won’t believe it. They’re the most obedient, little bootlickers in history. They prefer the whims of a cruel and decadent task master over reason, logic, or their own independence.
Luckily for us, they’re a slim minority.
In late April, a poll conducted by The Associated Press in association with The National Opinion Research Center at The University of Chicago found only 12 percent of Americans believe stay-at-home measures in their state went too far. This swirling pit of ignorance, hatred and fascist ideation is Trump’s base. In a poll conducted by The Washington Post and University of Maryland, no more than thirty percent of the country supported opening hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, restaurants, gyms or movie theaters in May of 2020. However significant this vitriolic minority may be, they’re actively being courted and persuaded by “a conservative network of national players with ties to President Donald Trump.”
America’s Nazis are only the tip of a spear hewn from corporate profits. Stephen Moore, a Heritage Foundation Fellow and founder of The Committee to Unleash Prosperity, a pro-corporate propaganda machine, and the anti-tax organization, The Club for Growth, has been fomenting opposition to stay-at-home orders among Trump supporters since the first of May, 2020. He assembled a group of corporate blowhards to lobby every bureaucrat willing to sacrifice American lives for a campaign donation, who call themselves The Save Our Country Coalition. Freedomworks and The Tea Party Patriots are among the groups that have worked with The Save Our Country Coalition to facilitate The SARS-CoV-2 virus in its crusade to infect, procreate, evolve and kill the greatest possible number of people in The United States.
An offshoot of an older, more prominent and nefarious group of far-right entities has worked behind the scenes to foment opposition to stay-at-home orders: CNP Action, the 501(c)(4) affiliate of The Council for National Policy, which has been described by The New York Times as “a little-known club of a few hundred of the most powerful conservatives in the country.” Numerous Trump allies have been involved with the inner workings of CNP, including Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s former chief adviser, Steve Bannon, Mike Pence, Trump’s lawyer, Jay Sekulew and the entire Prince family, which includes The Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. The Council for National Policy has been coordinating with Stephen Moore and Ed Meese, The Heritage Foundation figurehead. The chairman of CNP Action is Al Regnery, cousin of the multimillionaire Nazi, William Regnery The Second, who founded The National Policy Institute, a corporate-backed organization in The United States that promotes racist, fascist and Nazi ideologies under the banner of, “Identitarianism.” Erik Prince, the postmodern Charles Lindbergh Jr., Nazi credentials and all, is also the owner of America’s premier corporation of for-hire mercenaries, who the pampered Prince paid to spy on left-of-center, civil rights groups and organizations since 2017.
The Michigan wing of these organizations is the Michigan Freedom Fund, which is largely responsible for “Operation Gridlock,” protests against stay-at-home orders issued by Governor Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan. Protestors in Michigan have both surrounded and entered the Michigan State capital while openly carrying assault weapons. The corporate-backed, disorganized mob of heavily armed bigots verbally assailed police officers without donning masks, carried signs that threatened the public lynching of state officials and made broad, incoherent comparisons to Hitler to mask their own pro-Nazi sentiments, of which there is no doubt since they forced their children to don blackface and dance in a minstrel show that portrayed Barack Obama as a “welfare king,” who supposedly steals money from working people, then hands to some unnamed group we can safely assume are not white. Trump described participants of Operation Gridlock as “very good people.”
Those who’ve protested against stay-at-home orders verbally harassed and intimidated healthcare workers, blocked ambulances, and refused to distance socially or wear masks, and Fox News praised them for it. A spokesperson for The Auchwitz Museum described protestors as victims of “moral and intellectual degeneration” after Illinois Nazis who protested stay-at-home orders taunted their Jewish governor with messages that were prominently displayed in the death camp during The Holocaust. Circumstances in Michigan are so severe, state Representative Sarah Anthony was forced to hire armed guards to escort her to and from the capitol building on the rare occasion when the state legislature isn’t canceled due to credible death threats from “reopen” protestestors.
All of this is taking place against a national backdrop of greed and hatred that’s been carefully crafted by the current administration. After Trump was publicly emasculated by the nation’s leading epidemiologists on national television, he blasted social media with a series of tweets intended to incite insurrection: “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” “LIBERATE VIRGINIA!” It’s unclear what America’s fascists expect to accomplish after they storm their own castle. Democratic leaders were always committed to “reopening” their states’ economies and encouraging “needless suffering and death.” They simply fooled themselves into believing they could half-heartedly negotiate a compassionate form of servitude with their corporate donors. Today, white supremacists feel comfortable enough with their hatred to don clan hoods and Nazi flags in lieu of masks while shopping for groceries.
Trump’s Administration has succeeded in promoting a spate of politically-motivated hate crimes, but this epidemic of hate and fear has plagued America for centuries. The lynching of Ahmaud Arbery by Travis and Gregory McMichael is only the most recent example. Shockingly, there have been 79 unsolved, public hangings of African American men since 2000. The 25-year old young man was out for a jog on February 23rd. Reportedly, he had been sneaking into a house that was under construction then left unfinished after the owner, Larry English, developed sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease caused by an immune response that adversely effects the lungs and lymph nodes. Footage confirms that Ahmaud had visited the house on February 23rd. The victim’s family’s legal team has confirmed that the trespasser appears to be Mr. Arbery. Larry English said a young man fitting Arbery’s description had tripped motion sensors in the house on five occasions in the past, but nothing was ever damaged or stolen. Numerous other people also tripped motion sensors and frequented the open and unfinished house: white people. Perhaps Ahmaud was studying joinery, drinking some water or dreaming about how he might own a home one day, but he left five minutes after entering the frame of the unfinished building and continued his jog in Santilla Shores, Georgia.
Two 911 calls from residents who were shocked to see a black man jogging in their neighborhood reported a black man jogging in their neighborhood, and the first of those calls places the jogging black man in the vicinity of the unfinished house around 1:08PM. The second call was made at 1:14PM. As of now, the identities of the callers are unknown, but it would appear that the second caller was mobile. About a half hour later, Travis McMichael and his father, Gregory, barricaded the street with their pickup truck. Travis was driving and Gregory was standing in the back, on the bed of the vehicle. Ahmaud ran in the opposite direction, but was blocked by a second vehicle operated by McMichael’s neighbor, William “Roddie” Bryan, who can be heard cocking a gun while filming the incident before Travis shoots Mr. Arbery to death with a shotgun.
Travis and Gregory McMichael weren’t arrested until 74 days after they murdered Ahmaud Arbery. It would appear that The Glynn County police took it on faith that The McMichaels and William “Roddie” Bryan were defending themselves after they surrounded the jogger with guns loaded and ready to fire. It took almost 90 days until William “Roddie” Bryan was arrested. Since the McMichaels were arrested, at least two district attorneys have recused themselves. The first prosecutor, Jackie Johson, recused herself because Gregory McMichael was a former investigator for her office. Gregory McMichael is a former police officer who was stripped of his badge after he failed to comply with firearms training and use-of-force courses. The second attorney, George Barnhill, recused himself because he believes Gregory did nothing unlawful. In an email response written to Newsweek, District Attorney Barnhill asserts that law in Georgia is different from law in the rest of the country.
It’s okay to stalk, detain and murder strangers in Georgia, according to some Georgia district attorneys. This is demonstrable proof of institutionalized racism, which is a danger congruous to the budding, or recently somnambulant, danger of American fascism. In an age of postmodern, cognitive dissonance, there may be some confusion surrounding the meaning of the word, “fascism.” If you want to identify your run-of-the-mill, bootlicking fascist, ask yourself, “For whom does this person work, on whose behalf do they advocate, and who actually benefits from their actions?” Don’t cheat, do the research and remember to play devil’s advocate with yourself. Only proud-sick buffoons assume they know everything. If the answer is, “Only themselves, rich people and corporations,” you’ve got yourself a fascist, or a member of The American Libertarian Party. Throw some Confederate flags and swastikas in the mix, and you’ve got yourself a certified Nazi.
End of lesson.
Of course, far-right activist networks like The Convention of States hope to dress up America’s particularly unique and perverse variety of fascism in a minivan with a soccer mom, a dog, two-and-half children and some bearded posterboy for twentieth-century consumer culture in a gingham button-up, with a shit-eating grin. Historically, the organization leveraged the vague concept of states’ rights to lobby state powers to hold a convention and allow corporate lawyers to pare The Constitution down to a clean slate that can be polluted with whatever authoritarian contrivances they dredge up from macabre depths of their nightmarish imaginations, but CoS President Mark Meckler has struggled to square his organization’s historic position on states’ rights with its support for “reopen” protests, which explicitly support the role of a powerful, centralized government. “State legislatures and mostly the governors and the municipalities have overstepped their bounds,” he said. By his omission, he must consider The Federal blockade on the states, the withholding of personal protective equipment and tests, to be a completely rational use of government power: further evidence of the postmodern, cognitive dissonance that plagues discourse in the country today.
Fascist astroturf campaigns aren’t limited to gun-toting mobs that cluster in our capitols and block ambulances. An online bot tracking platform that implements “machine learning and artificial intelligence to classify [social media] accounts,” which are then analyzed according to specified criteria has found that the internet has recently been bombarded with an unprecedented volume of conspiracy theories backed by pure bullshit, seeded with animosities toward Democrats and stay-at-home orders. “Thank you to all of my great keyboard warriors,” Trump wrote, “You are better, and far more brilliant, than anyone on Madison Avenue (ad agencies). There is nobody like you!”
Among the most heinous and bizarre conspiracy theories pandered online is “The Boogaloo,” a strategy pulled straight from the playbook of the convicted cult leader and mass murderer, Charles Manson. “The Boogaloo” is the American fascist’s desire to incite a race war that balloons into a civil war, which they signal to one another by co-opting popular media. They wear Hawaiian shirts, for example, and wave flags depicting igloos and palm trees on a blue field. America’s fascists fold these flags around neat, little scrapbooks dutifully organized with Nazi memorabilia, confederate patches and human teeth, which they shove in the glove compartments of their pickup trucks and only produce when they’re trying to impress a date.
Let me make this abundantly clear: don’t let anyone stop you from speaking ill of a bunch of pig-fucking Nazis, some piece-of-shit Confederate flag and all the hooded, child-raping shitheels of a depraved, slaver culture that barely survived the bloodletting of 1865. Anyone who feigns offense when we speak plainly of America’s enemies can sit down to a plate of shut the fuck up and watch Band of Brothers, or Glory. Fascists and Nazis don’t deserve our respect, and if we suspect a Nazi, Fascist or Confederate piece of shit lives near us, we will peacefully maintain our distance while securing the right and means to defend ourselves.
We desire a civil society, but civility is impossible when intolerance and the postmodern, cognitive dissonance of hate and fear are leveraged to unbalance it, as we see today. “Reopen” protesters believe they are above the law. So did the Nazis. The State Supreme Court of Wisconsin believes it is above the law. So did The Nazis. Donald Trump believes he is above the law. So did The Nazis.
Let’s not pussyfoot around. Their wing of the country is 10 to 20 percent strong at most, and they support a regime that’s dismantling the country. They’re not Americans. They’re bootlicking Nazis, hate-mongering pseudo Christians and fascist yes-men.
[This work is licensed under a creative commons attribution-sharealike 4.0 international license. Originally published in August, 2020 by Keith M. Judge in Chicago. This is a free culture license! If you like what you’ve read and would like to support the author, subscribe at Patreon or Substack!]