The Masked Versus the Unmasked
How can Trump opponents take on people who will stop at nothing?
· May 15, 2020
Back in the other world, before all was stilled, a neighbor in Colorado would tell me it was time for liberals to “gun up.” The other side was armed, he argued, and would stop at nothing. What would we tell our grandchildren when Ivanka Trump took office as the 46th president of the United States in 2025 and term limits were abolished? That we tried words, all manner of them, he scoffed, but they had the rifles.
I waved him away. American democracy was not Hungarian democracy, now dead. Its checks and balances were resilient. Too many guns are an American scourge. No, he insisted, you will see by June 2020. Civil war, or something like it, is coming. Gun up, dude, before it’s too late.
My neighbor did not predict the uniforms of America’s warring factions. How masks would become normative in but be scorned in Colorado Trump country as the giveaway dress of the liberal egghead terrorized by the virus. The responsible crowd, with face half-hidden, confronting the unmasked live-free-or-die crowd across the vastness and fracture of an unled country.
Once again, in this frayed Republic, there is scant middle ground. The virus is Godzilla destroying all before it. The virus is a myth, get over it. Biking onto the Manhattan Bridge I pass a new piece of graffiti: “Bezos made the virus.”
Nobody foresaw what a pathogen about one-thousandth the width of an eyelash could trigger in a society where truth itself has been obliterated by President Trump, day after lying day. If he could deny the , like the number of people at his inauguration, imagine what he could do with the . Or don’t imagine it, just look around.
, urges his tens of millions of followers to “LIBERATE” Virginia from the lockdown and “save your great 2nd Amendment,” which is “under siege.” Or, roughly translated, grab your guns while you can to fight the liberal virus conspiracy, just the latest attempt after climate change and all the rest to emasculate America.
His languidness, Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and go-to person for every known problem on the planet, whether he is willing to commit to the holding of the Nov. 3 election. “I’m not sure I can commit one way or the other, but right now that’s the plan,” he says.
Good to know. Right now, there’s a plan to hold an election.
For Trump, this disaster is no more than a deep state conspiracy like the Mueller investigation or the impeachment proceedings. All of it: the virus death toll, surely inflated by officials as a means to defeat him; the dented Dow; the ; the collapse of his “spectacular” economy; the dire scientific predictions of the consequences of premature economic reopening.
Followers of Qanon, a far-right conspiracy movement, provide fodder for the president’s paranoia, as . I hear that the letter Q now appears on T-shirts at far-right protests in Germany. Signs at a recent demonstration in Stuttgart listed the “worst dictators” in history: Bill Gates followed by Angela Merkel and, down the list, Hitler.
Some German protesters wear yellow stars. They claim that Anne Frank would have been among them, protesting the “corona dictatorship” that unnecessarily shut down Europe’s largest economy. Christian Drosten, a top German virologist , receives death threats, like Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert. History, science, truth, the Enlightenment are under siege. Anything could happen in America between now and November.
I mean, This month, Trump’s Department of Justice against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had twice pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators in the Russia inquiry. A more flagrant demonstration of Trump’s political cronies at the Department of Justice, led by Attorney General William Barr, bending to the president’s diktat rather than fulfilling their oath to the Constitution is hard to imagine. No wonder more than 2,000 former Department of Justice officials have . He is a disgrace.
So much for those resilient checks and balances I lauded to my Colorado neighbor.
Back then, in the bygone era, he wrote to me: “No wonder Republicans are laughing at us. The billionaire politicians have complete control (besides the military at this point), no oversight, and most of their constituents are armed, some heavily, and ready to defend them. Roll over and die? What the hell? Time to even things up. To save this country. Hopefully, guns will always be a deterrent, but they be our last hope to save this country. Time to gun up, liberals!”
If you prefer, think of “gun up” as get real, get tough, get registered, get mobilized, get implacable and vote Trump out. Or you may just want to go down to the range.