Two decades after the unspeakable terrorism attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the nation has reached another terrible crossroads.
The threat of domestic terrorism now overshadows the threat of foreign terrorism.
The Republican party under Donald Trump has thoroughly eroded the sense of community and unity of purpose galvanized that day when hijacked planes flew into the Pentagon and World Trade Center.
Trump is singularly responsible for this slide to the very edge of the abyss, aided and abetted by venal politicians unanchored by any sense of decency, truth or national norms.
Only now is the nation beginning to wake up to the creeping threat against our institutions and the rule of law that underpins our democracy.
President Joe Biden’s speech in front of Independence Hall, Sept. 2, was a much-needed, bare-knuckle wake up call.
“There is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven, and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans, and that is a threat to this country,” he warned.
“MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people,” he continued.
“They refuse to accept the results of a free election. And they’re working right now, as I speak, in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself.”
The FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago last week produced the strongest backlash yet, fueled by right-wing politicians, pundits and media, leading to an exponential increase in violent threats against the government, the Justice Department and the FBI.
One Trump supporter bought into the rhetoric and attacked an FBI office in Cincinnati. The suspect was killed after a high-speed chase and shots exchanged with police.
Death threats have become part of the daily lives of elected officials at all levels of government who stand up to Trump and his MAGA cohorts.
Republican lawmakers like Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney, who have called out Trump, and Democratic leaders like Nancy Pelosi have received detailed threats of violence.
“Threats of violence over politics has increased heavily in the last few years. But the darkness has reached new lows,” Kinzinger recently Tweeted.
“The lack of civility has reached such a dangerous level that it threatens the safety of leaders, the functioning of law enforcement, and our society’s ability to address major problems,” according to The Brookings Institution.
Backed by corrupt dark-money interests, the attack on our democracy has been systematic, unrelenting and bent on seizing power at any cost.
Based on evidence uncovered by the Jan. 6 Committee, the effort to install Trump as president was planned in advance of the 2020 election and executed by Republican operatives once it became apparent Trump would lose.
After failing at more than 60 separate legal challenges of the election results, including a review by the U.S Supreme Court, Trump and his operatives put in play the final gambit, inciting a mob to violence at a Washington rally.
Tens of thousands of Trump supporters, spearheaded by right-wing paramilitary groups, stormed the U.S. Capitol in a violent effort to disrupt the certification of Biden as president on that day.
Some 147 Republicans— eight Senators and 137 Representatives — voted to block certification without any evidence to support their position.
Republican lawmakers in key battleground states engaged in schemes to send fake slates of Trump electors to Congress, even though Biden was the certified Electoral College winner, with the sole purpose of installing Trump as president.
The campaign to subvert our national elections has continued through measures enacted in Republican-controlled states to suppress voting or disenfranchise minority groups.
The continued polarization of the nation has been stoked by right-leaning media outlets, led by Fox News, that nightly inflame anti-democratic sentiment and harden violent elements bent on the violent overthrow of our government.
Meanwhile, Trump’s pattern of lawlessness and flouting of the rule of law continues unabated.
His decision to horde hundreds of pages of classified documents — some with the most sensitive top secret classification — at Mar a Lago, raises serious national security concerns and violates a number of laws, including the federal Espionage Act.
He went even further by trying to obstruct federal efforts to recover the documents, including falsely stating that he had turned over everything.
In fact, dozens of sensitive papers were still in his possession and had to be retrieved with a search warrant.
It’s still unknown what Trump’s intentions were for the documents or whether he shared them with foreign operatives or potentially hostile adversary nations.
While in office, Trump corrupted our legal system by appointing three hard-right Justices, all of whom lied under oath during their Senate confirmation hearings on their view of Roe v. Wade.
The court by a 6-3 vote, overturned the 50-year-old ruling in June, fulfilling one of Trump’s signature campaign promises — to stack the court with anti-abortion justices.
The Roe decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, denying women the right to control their own body and make sensitive personal decisions regarding a pregnancy, left the court’s reputation for impartiality in tatters.
Americans’ confidence in the court has reached a historic new low.
Only 25 percent of U.S. adults said they have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in the U.S. Supreme Court, down from 36 percent a year ago and five percentage points lower than the previous low recorded in 2014, according to a Gallup poll.
Fully, 61% disapprove of how the Court is handling its job, according to a Marquette University Law School national poll. “The percentage saying they have little or no confidence in the Court has more than doubled since 2019.”
And that was before revelations that the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas was deeply involved in the plot to overturn the election results, a fact Thomas tried to cover up in one of the court’s rulings.
With the Dobbs ruling, the Supreme Court’s unprecedented assault on rights previously guaranteed by the constitution may be just beginning.
Thomas wrote in a concurring opinion in the Dobbs case that court rulings upholding same-sex marriage, the right to contraceptives, the rights of LGBQT citizens and other “due process” precedents should also be challenged.
On the anniversary of 9/11, it’s unbelievable to think, as we speak, 99 percent of the Republican party is looking to fly their own metaphorical jet liners into the heart of our democracy.
Given where we are now, it begs the question: In his wildest dreams, could Osama Bin Laden have envisioned such a ‘glorious’ outcome?
Had you presented this to the Al-Qaeda leader on the eve of 9/11, he most likely would have laughed you out of the room; like telling a guy on the beach with a metal detector, if he walks just a few more feet, he’ll find Blackbeard’s treasure.
Having a front row seat to the past four-plus years, one can’t help but think we’re living in a real-life version of “Fight Club.” And the Republican party is attempting to pull off a real-life “Project Mayhem.”
The only difference between the MAGA movement and the members of “Fight Club” is the magats aren’t hiding. And it’s about time our president called them out by name.
To think, journalists are actually writing pieces questioning Biden’s move to call them out.
After all, the list goes on and on.
They’re plotting to kidnap governors, threatening nursery schools, showing up armed at polling locations, changing state laws to put election outcomes in the hands of biased officials, banning books, storming into FBI offices, even joining a professional golf organization backed by the country that sponsored 9/11. If you don’t call them out, they’ll devour you.
So, how did we get here? How did we go from a nation where everyone is welcome to a nation that tears children from their parents, never to see them again?
A nation that came to the aid of other nations experiencing fascist coups, to a nation trying to defend itself from one?
A nation that bragged to the world that no man is above the law, to one where one is?
You can point your finger at myriad reasons.
The Electoral College – This archaic, centuries-old law allows the loser to win. We claim to be the greatest democracy on earth, yet we can’t even figure out a way to let the person with the most votes win? It goes without saying, we need to kill the electoral college before it kills us.
Fox News: A 24/7 spigot of lies, disinformation, and hate, spewing its wretched lies in airports, restaurants, taxi cabs, elevators, hotels, and homes for the past two-plus decades, with the sole purpose of profiting of the destruction of this democracy.
Donald J. Trump: A lifelong con-artist and grifter who took advantage of personal white grievance, took advantage of the weak-minded, the greedy, and the selfish and convinced them America would only be great when it’s a white, Christian nation. Run by him.
Trump fellow travelers: Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Ron Johnson, Lauren Boebert, Ron DeSantis, Gregg Abbott and all those who begged Trump for pardons for their role in the Jan. 6 insurrection have continued to stoke division despite the increasing radicalization of Trump’s militant base.
Media: Outlets like Yahoo News looking for click bait happily featuring disinformation sites like the National Review, Washington Examiner, OANN, etc. on its front page, while its journalists ask if a president calling out white supremacist-supporting domestic terrorists, thereby obeying his oath to defend this country from enemies both foreign and domestic, was the right thing to do.
Mitch McConnell: It’s hard to decide who should hold the title of the Worst American in History? Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell? Thanks to “Moscow Mitch,” we have a corrupted SCOTUS, massive tax loopholes for the rich, a terrible record on carbon emissions, three dubiously appointed Supreme Court justices, and an impeached president allowed to continue blowing up this country.
The Federalist Society: A not-so-secret association of hyper-conservative Republicans bent on reshaping the law while lining their pockets. It’s just one of several dark money groups with outsized influence over our lives.
The MAGA Movement: It’s shocking to think nearly 70 million Americans have adopted a ‘scorched earth’ policy unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Tens of millions of Americans are so dug in with hate for the other side, they’d rather see their country burnt to the ground, and their kids six feet under, than admit they were wrong.
Because that would require the one thing almost no Trump supporter has: Character. That is what separates “us” from “them.”
When Biden was confronted by a heckler, he made a point of saying “that man has a right to be outraged.” When Trump was confronted with the same scenario, he encouraged the mob to attack the person, going as far as to volunteer to pay the attackers’ legal bills.
However, at this point, it matters not how we got here. But what we do going forward. I, for one, am not optimistic. Why?
Because, as Prof. Eddie Glaude says: “…just removing Trump doesn’t remove ‘Trumpism.'”