Spend The Holidays With Traitors? No Thank You
After a bit of softening on my part two years ago, I find my position on this matter growing firmer by the day.
by Justin Rosario
It has become something of an annual tradition for me to answer the following question: How do I deal with my MAGA relatives for the holidays? Most advice columnists urge people to try and get along. I am not one of those. As you may have noticed from the title and my previous musings on this topic, I am less “let’s all hug it out” and more “pass the bime again for the rest of your miserable life”.
After a bit of softening on my part two years ago, I find my position on this matter growing firmer by the day. And not without very good reason. I do not break bread with people who wage war on my country.
There was an off-ramp. They didn’t take it
In 2019, I really was considering taking it easy on MAGAs, but only if they were ex-MAGAs. I figured three years was more than enough time for people to realize the magnitude of their mistake. To be fair, there were a number of people who came out and said exactly that. It wasn’t a tidal wave but they existed. I thought that if they really meant it and were all in on resisting the out-of-control monstrosity that was the Republican Party, forgiveness would be just fine. Maybe there was hope for the Republican base.
Then Trump received 74 million votes in 2020. After 4 years of being the single worst president, the worst person, in American history, 11 million more Republicans eagerly rushed to the polls for him. The repentant represented a tiny fraction of the right. The rest had made their choice: White nationalist fascism.
This is far more damning than the choice they made in 2016. In 2016, your Trump-loving relatives had a million excuses for voting for a monster. Trump was an “unknown quantity” back then. He actually wasn’t but his voters and the press sure pretended they didn’t know exactly how corrupt, racist, and vile he would be once in office.
In 2020, everything about Trump was laid bare and then some. Trump voters could have walked away. There was an off-ramp. They didn’t take it. 2020 represented a very conscious decision to vote for a man who tortured children. A man who was responsible for the deaths, at the time, a quarter of a million Americans and would go on to kill hundreds of thousands more. This was a man who tried to rig an election, was caught red-handed, confessed, and was impeached for it. That is who they voted for.
These are bad people and they should never be allowed to forget it. In the year since? They have graduated to literal traitors to the country and a direct threat to your continued existence. Not a comfortable truth but you do not come here for molly-coddling.
The insurrection really changed everything
I would love to say that even people who voted twice for Trump saw the events of January 6, 2021 and decided that maybe it was time to jump ship. Maybe for some, the terrorist attack on the Capitol was a breaking point. If these people do exist, they, just like the tiny percent of Trump-Biden voters, do not represent the American right wing in the slightest. The overwhelming majority of Republican voters still worship a man who bragged about spying on underage girls like a god.
The insurrection really changed everything. We on the left have been calling Republicans “fascists” and “terrorists” for a very long time. For our troubles, we were smeared as alarmists and divisive by a press hellbent on protecting the status quo. This continued even as Republicans rapidly escalated their hate speech and right wing violence got worse well before Trump put the ugliness on steroids.
The slow motion car crash so many of us saw coming, some for decades, finally arrived on January 6th when a violent and armed mob of Republicans attacked the US Capitol with the explicit intent of overthrowing an election and murdering elected officials. The attack, ongoing investigations have revealed, was planned and coordinated with Republicans in both the White House and Congress. We’re still discovering how far the conspiracy went but it is indisputable that the Republican Party staged a coup. They passed around a goddamn PowerPoint presentation about it! They staged a coup and failed. This time.
The majority of Trump voters are fine with that. If the terrorists had succeeded, they would be thrilled with a lawless Trump still in the White House over the bodies of however many Democrats it took to make it happen. Think about what that means for a second. The person sitting across from you this holiday season is 100% OK with the violent overthrow of democracy in America. The same person that cried for the future of mankind over localized violence at a handful of Black Lives Matter protests wants to see blood spilled so they can seize control of the country.
The person breaking bread with you is a fascist and a traitor. Someone willing to wage war on the United States. Oh, they might not pick up a gun or a baseball bat themselves, but they’ll cheer on the public executions of Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, the Squad, and everyone else they hate. The list of people they hate is very long. Do not kid yourself, you are on it. If not now, you will be later unless you swear allegiance to Trump and his MAGA cult.
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The danger is very real
We like to comfort ourselves with lies. It is how we get through the day without collapsing in the face of existential terror over things like climate change. We tell ourselves that everything will be fine if we just keep going. That is not where we are right now. Republicans represent a very real and immediate threat to your life.
You might look at countries like Russia or Hungary or even China and think, “Yeah, they’re bad but they’re not murdering thousands of people in the streets, right?” Life goes on even if freedom is snuffed out. You would be very wrong.
We are not like Russia or Hungary or China. Those countries are run by oligarchs and autocrats. While it is true this is exactly what Republicans want for America, to be ruled by a lawless strongman, we have something those countries lack: A violently insane right wing consumed by unfathomable racism, religious extremism, a bottomless appetite for cruelty, and dreams of revenge. We are not Putin’s Russia. We are not Orbán’s Hungary. We are the worst of Hitler’s Germany crossbred with the worst of the Taliban’s Afghanistan. We will be infinitely worse than both.
I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: The Germans of the 1930s did not understand what was happening to them or, initially, what was being done in their name. Not really. They needed to be led, step by step, to the Holocaust. There’s a reason the concentration camps were tucked away from prying eyes and why the Nazis did not advertise their atrocities. It allowed the average citizen to pretend they were just sending the Jews to another city or country, not to be systematically murdered by the millions.
The Republican base grew up learning about the horrors of the Holocaust and Nazi Germany. They understand exactly what they are doing and do not need to be led to the next Holocaust. Your Trump-loving relatives are eager for the purge to begin. They want mass executions. They want the bloodshed. We know this because they keep telling us so. The entire QAnon movement is explicitly about killing Trump’s enemies in very showy public trials:
After that? They’ll never stop. The entire premise of the American right wing is centered around hurting the people they hate. Once they have the power to go all the way, which a fascist regime will give them, what would stop them? A sense of morality? A sense of decency? The Trump regime tortured children and his followers brayed for more. MAGAs are killing themselves with Covid by the truckload to swear their allegiance. If you’re looking for morality or decency or sanity, you are kidding yourself.
In MAGA America, where political violence is sanctioned by a fascist state, you will either bend the knee or you will eventually be disappeared, perhaps into an unmarked van by federal agents with no identification. That’s assuming you even have the choice to bend the knee in the first place. There were Jews in Germany who, when the Nazis first rose to power, tried to be a part of the new order. It did not work.
I cannot speak to your personal situation but this is precisely why I will never speak to my in-laws again. As Jews, my children and I will be high on the list of those to be removed from MAGA America. Freed from any legal, moral, or ethical constraints, antisemitic violence would run rampant more than it already is. We have been and always will be the supervillains in the fairytale white nationalists tell themselves in which they are the victims of global plots to destroy the white race. When Trump supporters feel comfortable wearing “Camp Auschwitz” t-shirts in public it is time to recognize the movement for what it is.
By continuing to support Trump’s ongoing endeavor to foment civil war and turn America into a haven for white nationalist fascism, my in-laws have put me and their grandchildren in very real danger. Their hate for a diverse future was more important than the lives of their grandchildren. That is unforgivable.
Genocide is in the DNA of America
Listen to them and understand, the language of the right is the language of genocide, not of simply seizing power. They do not just call us the opposition. They call us evil. They call us pedophiles. They call us cannibals. We are not human beings. We are an infestation to be stamped out. Every time that language is used by one side, it inevitably leads to mass murder. That is explicitly why that language is used. This has been understood for centuries, if not millennia.
One of the worst lies we tell ourselves is that such violence could never happen here. Here is where I remind you that just sixty years ago, mobs of racist whites would drag people (usually black) into the streets and murder them with no fear of punishment. Sometimes they would burn them alive. Some of those murderers are still around and railing against teaching America’s racist past today. The people who lynched black men for fun are demanding we stay silent about their guilt.
100 years ago, a mob of violent white racists burned a black community to the ground and murdered dozens, possibly hundreds. Tulsa was just one of several black communities put to the torch. America has had pogroms, where mobs of racist white people would hunt Jews. During WWII, we put “foreign-looking” Japanese-Americans in concentration camps, but not “white” Germans. We systematically committed genocide against Native Americans for centuries and we’re literally still trying to eliminate them. We are the only country in history to go to war with itself because racist white people could not stand to see enslaved black people be free. Genocide is in the DNA of America. The Nazis learned it from us.
An America fully in the thrall of white nationalist fascism would commit horrors that would redefine the word “atrocity”. Make no mistake, your MAGA relative wants to be a part of that. That’s what it means to be in the cult of MAGA.
Family dynamics are complicated
I get it, family dynamics are complicated. But history is very clear on this matter: The MAGA cult will not see family as a barrier. If Republicans seize control of this country, the very same family member you have been tolerating will happily report you to the authorities for sedition unless you’re flying a Trump flag the next time they see you. Your lack of a Trump pin will be logged with the new House un-American Activities Committee.
That kind of thing happened under a lawful, constitutionally restrained (barely) American government. Do not think for a second a lawless fascist government run by white nationalists will not abuse the awesome power of the modern surveillance state to rule by fear and violence backed by the most powerful military to ever exist.
It was not easy to cut my in-laws out of my life. It has caused considerable tension with Debbie. Since last year, I have also stopped speaking to one of my half-brothers who has slowly fallen down the rabbit hole. I will not have these people in my life. They are dangerous and they are enabling the kind of violence that puts me and mine in harm’s way.
You do what is best for you and yours. Do not forget what I am telling you. Do not forget what history is telling you. And for the love of all that’s holy, do not forget what the MAGA cult is telling you. They are screaming it at the top of their lungs. If you don’t believe me, if you don’t believe history, you should at least believe them.
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There is one major factors most media pundits are not taking into account.
by Ben Cohen
The general consensus in the media seems to be that Donald Trump will run for President again in 2024. Pundits are busy “reporting” on a mythical matchup between Trump and Biden, and a slew of Democrats they are convinced will replace the sitting President.
“Kamala vs Trump”, “Buttigieg vs Trump” and even “Gretchen Whitmer vs Trump” stories are circulating, sending casual observers of politics into a feeding frenzy. The two major narratives appear to be that:
Biden is too old to be President, and a resurgent Trump is going to destroy him.
There are many Democrats vying to replace Biden, none of whom are equipped to take on Trump (the focus is on Kamala Harris).
If you’ve covered US politics for long enough, you know to ignore pretty much anyone who makes bold claims about who will be facing who in an upcoming presidential election, particularly more than a year out. Perennial grifter/political consultant Dick Morris once penned a book titled “Condi vs Hillary” in 2005, staking his already ropey credibility on a matchup that anyone with functioning brain cell could predict would never happen. Republicans don’t vote for black women no matter how conservative they are, and Condoleezza Rice made clear on numerous occasions that she had zero interest in running for elected office.
Pundits stand to make a lot of money playing this irritating horse race game and it shouldn’t be paid much attention.
That being said, the issue as to whether Trump will run again in 2024 is an incredibly serious matter. The future of American democracy is again at stake — should Trump run again and win, the odds of the democratic system surviving another four year assault are slim to none.
While pundits are certain Trump will attempt to revenge his loss to Biden in 2024, there is another, far less popular school of thought that believes he will not run again. There is no way to know until Trump officially announces his intentions one way or the other, but there is one major reason he might not want to go through another election again…