- Get the congressional Republican leadership to “tell the truth,” i.e., that President Biden won the election fair and square. Good luck with that. With the dust barely settled from the January 6 assault on the Capitol, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy made a pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago to kiss the DFP’s “ring” and lick his “boots.” Mitch McConnell, who in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol insurrection, blamed the DFP for inciting it, has since retreated into the Republican fold and folderol that we have come to know so well over the last four years. Like McCarthy’s, his spine and other vital body parts are also in a lockbox. The “Party of Lincoln” has morphed into the “Party of a Different Lincoln”—George Lincoln Rockwell, the late Führer of the American Nazi Party.
- Enact legislation that speaks to the discontents of the DFP’s base. The argument goes that if tangible benefits and opportunities flow to them from the federal government, they will change their tune and mend their ways. They won’t. To believe otherwise is optimistic, but naïve in the extreme.
Neither solution will work. Like the white supremacists that overwhelmed Germany and much of Europe in the interwar years, we cannot reason with our own domestic version of these hostiles. That makes them a lost cause. Aside from picking off a handful of these deluded folk, the vast majority will remain credulous and in thrall to their cult leader, the DFP. Once a fascist leader has been elevated to cult status, his worshippers will follow him through the gates of Hell.
Twentieth century history teaches us that constant vigilance and, when appropriate, swift recourse to the criminal code is the only way to keep these people from further assaults on the Constitution and renewed attempts to overthrow our democracy and replace it with authoritarian rule. The Weimar Republic governed Germany for 15 years following World War I, until Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933 and quickly snuffed out the nation’s failing attempt at democracy. Weimar collapsed in large part because it allowed anti-democratic forces to run riot in the streets without fear of punishment for their violent acts. We cannot allow the same thing to happen. We must not falter in our monitoring of white supremacist groups and individuals. When they are identified, any indication that they intend to commit acts of violence must be addressed immediately.
The fact that so many of their conspiratorial plans are shared on social media puts them squarely within the language of the federal criminal code’s section on interstate communication of “a threat to injure the person of another” (18 U.S.C. §875). In addition, they would also be subject to punishment under 18 U.S.C. §2383, “Rebellion or Insurrection.” These tools must be applied vigorously. Appealing to their grievances won’t work. They are far past listening to or even understanding such appeals.
At the same time, we must address the decline and, in an increasing number of schools, the absence of both history and civics education. While the adults who have fallen for the hate-filled rhetoric and contempt for democratic values of the DFP are a lost cause, their children are not. There is still time to raise a generation of Americans who can comprehend and appreciate fact-based reality and the values that really make America great. A grounding in civics and history is the only path at our disposal if we want to counter the alternate universe in which their parents reside.
If we do not do this, they too will be fodder for the same perverted untruths that have consumed their parents and taken them to the dark realms of lies and fakery in which the DFP wallows, waiting in the wings to once again incite them to violent assaults on the fragile norms that successfully governed us and maintained order for almost two-and-a-half centuries.
February 5, 2021