BECAUSE I TRY to understand people who have political viewpoints very different from mine, I let myself fall into rabbit holes where some of my family get their political values. I remember my grandfather at the kitchen table in the 1960s telling me that "some people want to have a government that gives them everything" and once that happens those people keep voting to keep the socialists in office. But as all gun-carrying Americans know, socialism runs counter to American values. In the minds of some people, an armed citizenry needs to rise up to protect American values.
So that's why military garb and assault rifles are in the crowd with veterans who defend the American constitution. That's why Open Carry is being normalised across a wide stretch of America. The backwoods training has moved to on-the-streets activism.
Force. Intimidation. Belligerence.
I watched this sentiment course through the Trump Presidency. A sentiment laced with strong support of white nationalism, white separatism, and white supremacy.
During Congressional hearings concerning the insurrection on January 6, 2021, I listen to Trump's call to action, "Take back the Capitol". People waved Trump flags on the streets below where their defeated President stood. They heard the call and set out to find and hang the treasonous Vice President. The crowd was going to reel in the VP.
But those details don't enjoy coverage on conservative media outlets. Instead, I hear the clarion call: "This socialist agenda needs to be reeled in" as members of the US Congress discuss how to reduce the cost of prescription medicine or plan for a carbon-free future.
[Bernie Goldbach teaches creative leadership on the Clonmel campus of the Technological University of the Shannon.]