Americans Who Want To Kill Americans

An essay about the present danger, and the danger coming after the present danger. Supremacists who kill with laws and those who kill without them. Differentiators, Part 4

Americans Who Want To Kill Americans

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In 2017 American Nazis invaded Charlottesville, VA, which is a U.S. city in case you didn't know. Maybe you remember it. They called themselves "Unite the Right," and they wore polo shirts and held tiki torches, and chanted Nazi chants predicated on the idea that the white race (which is a pretend thing that people made up in order to consolidate social and political power and wealth by organizing the application of brutality and violence) was being replaced by inferior races, in a conspiracy orchestrated by Jewish people. It's a vile conspiratorial lie called "replacement theory," and Nazis believe it is true, and justifies their framing as self-defense the violence they enact and the violence they intend.

Many Nazis consider themselves Christian, which means that the bigotry in their hearts and the violence that they intend is the thing they worship as their God, which whatever you might think about Christian tenets isn't a Christian tenet. On the other hand, I can't help but notice that a frightening number of Christian institutions and leaders and parishioners don't do much to differentiate themselves from these Nazis, at least not in the way they use their religion as a rationale both for their bigotry and for practicing the popular traditional form of violence known as supremacy. Perhaps it's that these non-Nazi Christians are just too polite to publicly disagree with the Nazis who claim to share their religion. Perhaps it's that these non-Nazi Christians just agree with the Nazis too much to disagree. Who can say? Inner lives are so unknowable.

Anyway, after the Nazi invasion the white Christian president (by which I mean to say the president who exclusively represents the interests of white supremacists and Christian supremacists) defended the invading Nazis as "very fine people," though some will tell you that he was only defending the non-Nazis who marched with the Nazis with mostly the same objectives for doing so as the Nazis, and when those people tell you that, they will expect you to find it to be a meaningful distinction.

These days, mainstream elected members of the white Christian party and mainstream figureheads within its vast and popular media disinformation and propaganda superstructure will talk about this Nazi theory of replacement as a rationale for murdering people at the border, and murdering them outside the border, and murdering them inside the border, and like Nazis they frame all this violence as self-defense, and they encourage other people to see the existence of certain types of mostly not-white and mostly not-Christian people as an existential threat of deliberate replacement by shadowy conspiratorial figures that they don't usually name as Jews out loud, and they also encourage their respective constituents and audience to defend themselves from this threat, and they make sure that massacre weapons are plentiful and easy to attain, so I guess the Nazis really did manage to Unite the Right after all.

I'm reminded today that the Nazis were defending statues erected in public spaces to honor leaders of the Confederacy, who were a traitorous gang of insurrectionists who back in the Sixties (the eighteen sixties) waged a war against their own country, and murdered hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens in order to preserve and expand their practice of enriching themselves by enslaving Black people. The practice of enslaving Black people was one of the big reasons that people who wanted to consolidate power and wealth invented the idea of the white race, incidentally, so we should I suppose not be surprised to find that Nazis would want to defend the public signs and signals of ongoing support and reverence for these men, who so recently in human history murdered so many of their fellow citizens in order to preserve whiteness and the right of whiteness to enslave others, and to use their human property until they as owners have no more use for them, and to kill them if they as owners deem their human property has not earned life, or if they deem that their human property poses a threat to them as owners, or for any other reason, or for no reason.

Nor were the Nazis who invaded Charlottesville content to only honor the supremacist murderers of the past. They got in on the act themselves. One of them, and may his name be forgotten forever, struck a bunch of peaceful protesters with an automobile, killing a woman named Heather Heyer.

It was murder. Not incidentally, it's a form of murder that many Americans want to make legal. Ask around. They'll tell you. You don't even have to ask them. They'll tell everyone, often while passing laws in Iowa and Florida and Oklahoma and proposing them in many other states, designed to legalize any future murders of any future Heather Heyers for any Nazis who happen to be interested in murdering their fellow citizens, by which I mean all Nazis. And, if you are a fan of nuance and distinctions, these laws will work for any non-Nazis that are not Nazis but want the exact same thing as Nazis and so make common cause with Nazis.

For example, let's talk about the white supremacist Senator from the state of Arkansas. The way I'd describe this guy is that he's long and thin like an unpainted pencil, and is not so much pale as paleness; he looks like something that was extruded to be put inside a sausage casing. This long and pallid chappie is actually named "Tom Cotton," which given who and what he is seems either a lazy placeholder for a hack writer or a punchline in search of a setup. And sure enough, Tom Cotton provided that setup last week when he took to the old social media place to talk about protestors who were blocking a road, as protesters tend to do when they are tired of murder and exploitation and corruption and would like less of it.

Tom Cotton, who is a sitting U.S. Senator if I hadn't already mentioned it, told his social media audience that these protesters were terrorists and criminals, that anyone encountering them should "take matters into their own hands" to remove them from the roads. In case that wasn't clear enough, he subsequently went onto TV and told his interviewer (along with people who still watch TV) that he thought the protesters ought to receive the sort of treatment political agitators for justice tend to receive in the state of Arkansas. In case you're not familiar with the history of the recent struggle for civil rights, the treatment political agitators for justice often receive in the state of Arkansas (and many other U.S. states) is brutalization and murder. And just so there could be no doubt, Cotton specified that he thought they ought to be thrown off of bridges and have their skin torn off and so forth. Senator Tom Cotton has what you might call a zest for the murder of U.S. citizens, if you didn't know. For example, some years back, he wrote an op-ed in our increasingly fascist-friendly paper of record, The New York Times, calling for summary public military execution of the thousands and thousands of protesters who were at the time demonstrating against grotesque police brutality. And Cotton is a leader within our nation's white Christian party, so all of this should perhaps not be such a surprise to decent normal people, but I would argue that it should remain a shock.

I would like to make it clear that Tom Cotton, while perhaps distinguished by his enthusiasm and forthrightness, is in no way alone in his murderous desires.

U.S. citizens who want to kill U.S. citizens are everywhere, if we look.

Let's look.

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Along with all the laws for people who'd like to know what it sounds like when you run somebody over with their blue-line-flag emblazoned Ford F-150, there are laws coming and laws already here that are designed to Make Women Property Again. These are laws which ban abortion and make inevitable the deaths of people who can get pregnant. There's a law in Arizona, for example, that was written in 1864 (the Sixties were a crazy time, maaan) and creates a total ban on abortion. Now this is something that will cause many many pregnant people to suffer and will kill many many others, but it will also make women second-class citizens, and so people who worship their gender bigotry and call it "god" are very excited about doing it, and they're speaking in tongues on the floor of the Arizona State Senate as they force us to contort our country back to a time when we were literally fighting murderous confederates who wanted to defend and expand human chattel slavery, mostly because they wanted the money, but also because (they said) God told them to.

And in Louisiana, lawmakers voted to remove a law requiring lunch breaks for child labor, so our national nightmare of lunch breaks for our nation's proud child laborers is finally over. This isn't the only law passed that removes longstanding restrictions and regulations on the exploitative and harmful practice of unregulated child labor, but it is certainly the latest one. It was proposed by an elected representative who also owns a chain of "Smoothy King" ice cream parlors and thus has a lot of child labor. Probably not a lot of deaths will result from kids working in ice cream parlors as a result of this law and others like it, but for those children working at typical summer pocket-money jobs like slaughterhouses and sawmills, it will, by which I mean it already has. And in Florida and Texas, lawmakers passed a law forbidding municipalities from enforcing their own laws protecting workers from the heat, protections such as shade and water breaks, which is fine, because heat isn't something that kills and maims people (it does). The Florida law was sponsored by state Rep. Tiffany Esposito. She told reporters that her husband has two decades experience working in South Florida’s construction sector. I wonder if he has the sort of construction job where you can drink water whenever you need it or even if you don't, or if he has a job where you're hired because you're off the books and can be treated as if you are property owned by your employer, and whose death and/or maiming is increasingly treated as if it is immaterial to efficiency. Which is it? There's no way of knowing.

In a story that combines fascist states and smoothy kings, Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick was the recent subject of a viral video in which he casually suggests that the only thing we have to do to end crime forever is to lock up the 15% of people nationwide who apparently do all the crime. That's quite a claim, and a rather speciously sourced statistic, but as final solutions go you have to admit that it is as bold as it is stupid. Anyway, I'm certainly not the only person to point out that this would equate to about 50 million people imprisoned, and that it is remarkably if not coincidentally close to the percentage of Black Americans nationwide, but it's indisputably true that this 4000% increase in the United States' already globally high incarceration rate would be boom business for our private prison industry, which benefits from our justice system's turning the penal system over to the private sector, with its profit motive and its desire for never-ending double-and-triple-digit growth. Our incarceration profit system disproportionately imprisons people who are Black (that is to say, they are not a made-up thing called "white") by 5x, and it opens prisoners up to disenfranchisement and slave labor and brutality and early death, among other things, and the same government that allows all this also built the statues celebrating the men who murdered their fellows to defend and expand slavery, and if you're not connecting Dan Patrick's dots yet, I would like you to write me and let me know how much effort it takes to not understand easily understandable things.

Patrick's suggestion would equate to concentration camps, as would any attempt to round up and imprison 15% of a country's entire population, much less one as large as the United States. But it's not just his suggestion, because Patrick belongs to the white Christian party, whose corrupt pig-brained leader was appointed by God and which has documented their plans for sending roaming bands of law enforcement and militias around to round up people they deem "illegal," and their plans for establishing permanent rule over the constitution and democracy and law and everyone else, and their plans to create a state of fascist domination that would deliver state violence on a scale that I honestly don't think any of us is capable of imagining.

And if you're thinking, "well, doing that would require a massive and unconstitutional seizure of power," don't worry! They've documented their plans for all of that, too!

And if you're saying that prisons aren't concentration camps because concentration camps are a place where mass killing takes place, I fear you're telling me something about your own ignorance—about history, about the nature of our prisons as they currently exist, and about the momentum of genocidal intent, once it has deemed 15% of its population illegal and rounded them up and imprisoned them.

But we aren't just looking at murder by law. The white Christian president is facing 91 criminal charges, which is I suppose a by-product of his committing open crimes and bragging about it. Anyway, they're sitting a jury for one of his trials, and there's a real and present danger that the jury members might be threatened with murder or actually murdered, which is usually something that you see with mob trials, but the white Christian president's supporters are white and Christian, and thus a great many of them believe that they have the right to kill anyone they think ought to be killed, and in this general belief they are not discouraged in any way by leaders of the white Christian political party or its propaganda apparatus.

The name for the group of U.S. citizens who more or less would like to be permitted to murder their fellow citizens with (among other things) their cars is "Republican." You could also say "evangelical Christian" or "conservative" or "confederate" or "MAGA" or "white supremacist," if you like; there are plenty of synonyms, all of them identifying groups made comfortable by the thought of imprisonment and bad use and death coming to others they deem unworthy of life. I'm told that it would be beyond the pale to say "Nazi," because there is apparently an important distinction to draw between Nazis and people who want exactly what Nazis want and pursue those things using the exact same methods and language and rationales, but give themselves non-Nazi excuses for doing so, and if I ever remember what that distinction is, I'll let you know right away, because I am a huge fan of precision and nuance.

Nevertheless, I do agree that all these terms are fraught with historical and rhetorical baggage, and as such they might cause confusion and discord.

Let me propose a new term that boils it right down: Americans Who Want to Kill Americans.

They're out there, and they're not shy about their intentions these days. It's an increasing problem for those of us who would perhaps like to not be murdered.

Let me wrap up today with some thoughts about that.

My last couple essays were about this idea of differentiators, using the election as a context. You can read part 1 and part 2 and part 3 if you want to fully understand my points, and you can not read them if you don't want to fully understand my points, and who could blame you.

This one is also sort of about the election, insofar as the election is one of the ways that Republicans (or evangelical Christians or conservatives or white supremacists or Americans Who Want to Kill Americans or whatever other synonym you care to use for people captured in our nation's spirit of supremacy) intend to capture power, so they can get down to the business of exercising domination and control over our bodies and our lives. So, it would probably be good if they lost the election, and every other election after it, and it would probably even be good if we made it so that such people winning elections was no longer in the realm of the possible, though I confess that I'm not sure exactly how to accomplish such a thing other than a complete shift away from our dominant and very popular supremacist cultural values.

So yes, it would be good if they lost the election, I think, even as we recognize the numerous and multifarious failings of the party that would be the beneficiary—a party called "Democratic," which has an unfortunate and sometimes overwhelming habit of accommodating Americans Who Want to Kill Americans rather than standing in solidarity with the Americans they want to kill. We could argue whether or not so many of them so frequently do this because they agree with the Americans Who Want To Kill Americans, or simply because they support a status quo that is murder-aligned, or even some other reason, and we should argue about that to get to the bottom of it, but we should also acknowledge that the Democratic Party has a leader who has, for example, not tried to overthrow democracy in order to establish a white Christian dictatorship, and has actually walked with striking workers, and hasn't published plans for dispatching roving gangs of deputized brute forces to round up millions of people, and he doesn't appoint judges who are aligned with and/or bribed by fascist white Christians, and he's not facing 91 criminal charges while posing an active threat to the lives of the judges and jurors, and so on and so forth, and so despite many failings, if he and his party win, Americans Who Want to Kill Americans will not be as empowered as if the white Christian party wins.

I think it's worth saying it again: It would be good if the election empowered Americans Who Want to Kill Americans as little as possible.

(This is different from saying that the Democratic Party will save us, and silly things of that nature. We can get into all that some other time. Today I'm talking about the Americans Who Want to Kill Americans.)

If Americans can murder their fellow citizens using the existing rules and institutions, they'll do it. If they can't, they'll corrupt those rules and seize those institutions. And if they can't do that, then they're pretty clear about their intentions: they'll follow Master Tom Cotton's instructions and take matters into their own hands, because what they want is hard use and brutality and murder to come to those of their fellow citizens they believe deserve it, and if our institutions stop delivering those things to their liking, then they'll attack the institutions, by which I mean they already have.

More and more, they're talking now about waging some form of something like war, though perhaps it won't look like war as we're used to seeing it. It's not too hard these days to find somebody openly agitating for secession and civil war, and here I'm not just talking about Republican governors or conservative propagandists, but also rank-and-file members of the white Christian party, who seem to take comfort from thinking of how many members of the military and our military police are conservatives or white Christians or white supremacists or whatever, and also of how many massacre weapons they all own and how much massacre they would be able to deliver if their fellow citizens, who don't deserve life, ever try to threaten their existence by replacing them—in other words, by insisting on existing in public as if they are equal human beings whose lives hold equal value, even though they aren't Christian or a made-up thing called "white."

I think the Americans Who Want to Kill Americans expect to use the election and the planned and published takeover that would come after to establish the fascist domination of creepy religious bigots that they crave. But if they can't, I think a great many of them—far more than we'd want!—hope and intend to deliver stochastic white supremacist terrorist violence on a scale that I honestly don't think any of us is capable of imagining, including even them.

Am I wrong? Maybe. I hope so. But I don't know why we should expect different from a movement that celebrates 1864's laws and beliefs, or defends a murderous confederacy and their supremacist cause as its heritage, to the point where they cannot establish meaningful tactical or rhetorical differentiation between themselves and 2017's Charlottesville-invading Nazis. I don't know why we should expect different from a movement that worships the beliefs that attend supremacy to the point that their bigotry is what they mean when they talk about their religion.

Enough. I want to make some conclusions now.

I still think about differentiators. Members of the white Christian party don't differentiate themselves from white supremacists, whether or not those white supremacists are currently invading Charlottesville. I think we should find ways of exposing and clarifying this lack of meaningful differentiator.

First, we need differentiators of tactics to oppose a political movement that acts in such fathomless bad faith. I think this means we need to stop acting in good faith with white and Christian supremacy, by which I mean people captured by the violent spirit of supremacy, or Republicanism, or Trumpism, or conservatism, or whatever other synonym you prefer to use for it—particularly if this spirit of violent supremacy is a spirit they claim to worship.

Second, we need to start creating some nice sharp crisp simple messages about who and what these supremacists are, which will happen to be very mean and divisive things to say, but which also will happen to be very true. And we need to do this not just because it's good to speak truth, but also because truth will create differentiators for those who don't know the difference. "Americans Who Want to Kill Americans" is an example. I've got some other ideas too.

See you next time.

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A.R. Moxon is the author of The Revisionaries, which is available in most of the usual places, and some of the unusual places, and the upcoming essay collection Very Fine People, which you can learn about how to support right here. He is also co-writer of Sugar Maple, a musical fiction podcast from Osiris Media which goes in your ears. He'll let you be his chaperone at the halfway home.