By Hugh Bowden
As the investigation into the failed mob attack of the United States Capitol on Jan. 6 of last year has unfolded over the past 13 months, much has been revealed about the involvement of militant right-wing groups such as the Oath Keepers and the Proud Boys in that insurrection. With former President Donald Trump still lying about the outcome of the 2020 election and most Republican office-holders scared to death to challenge that lie, those right-wing militant groups continue to enjoy a significant level of support among the so-called Republican base. The Republican Party recently endorsed a resolution proclaiming that the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol was “legitimate political discourse.”
The voices emanating from the right-wing militants and their supporters make it increasingly clear that, while they would willingly tear apart the democracy that has served this nation well for more than 200 years, they have not one scintilla of an idea what might replace that democracy.
One can reasonably surmise that they have no interest in continuing a form of government that rests on the collective will of the people. Those same Republicans who embrace the right-wing militancy are eager to do everything they can, both lawfully and illegally, to suppress the votes of non-white minorities who represent an ever-growing percentage of the American population. Sadly, they enjoy an increasing level of support from a majority of the United States Supreme Court who will, at every opportunity, render interpretations of the U.S. Constitution that reflect their right-wing ideology with little or no consideration for the well-being of the nation.
It seems reasonable to assume that the increasingly vocal right-wing element would willingly replace democratic rule with an autocracy that would tell all of us what we can and cannot do, enforcing their will with martial law. They demonstrate no interest at all in ensuring that United States elections remain readily accessible to all Americans, regardless of their culture or ethnicity. Like Donald Trump, who remains their titular head, they show no respect at all for the rule of law or for the constitutional norms that have made this nation a beacon of freedom for more than two centuries.
It is rather frightening to know that there are increasing numbers of right-wing Americans who may be willing to turn lethal weapons against fellow Americans who still believe in the tenets of democracy. Criticize the lies of Donald Trump and you may be subject to their wrath. Disagree with their politics publicly and your life may be forfeit. This is not a figment of my imagination. There are countless threats already on record that provide the basis for such concerns.
Too many folks across this nation still cling to the idea that our country should be a bastion of white supremacy — a place where minorities should have no voice in deciding their own fortunes. Have they never bothered to read the words of our Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness….”
What are we becoming?
Hugh Bowden of Ellsworth is a former Republican state representative and a lifelong journalist and political observer.