by Shelt Garner
It used to be I had at least one conservative relative I had regular, friendly debates with. That has ended, ominously, however, because my conservative interlocutor finally was so detached from reality that I got mad and he said he didn’t want to talk politics with me anymore.
I try to be empathetic, so I find myself rolling around in my mind the topics we talked about in our last debate. The key take away I can think of off the top of my head is how much conservatives fucking hate science. It’s not that they don’t believe in it or that they deny it — they just hate it. This is the origin of their collective hatred of Dr. Fauci. In fact, Dr. Fauci was one of several instances where what my conservative relative started to say seemed like it was being beamed out of the Upside Down. It was surreal. It was bonkers. And it was dangerous.
Anyway, another re-occurring theme with conservatives is they “just want to be left alone.”
I assume what they mean is they think that just by being conservative, that just by having an opinion that doesn’t fit the “liberal media’s agenda” that they risk having their lives destroyed via “cancel culture.” I find it curious that conservatives get so worked up over the power of the liberal media when it’s also pretty obvious that for all the talk about the Republican Party dying it is actually growing more powerful as it marinates in its hate.
I struggle to figure out what the solution to how the United States is tearing itself apart. My fear is the only way there’s any solution is some sort of historic “reset” of our politics that involves an actual hot civil war. I could be a lot more empathetic to the concerns of American conservatives if they weren’t so hysterical that they were willing to throw their lot with fascism. Because that’s what we face right now — the rise of American fascism.
And, really, ironically, what has allowed us to doge the fate of the Weimer Republic for the time being is the Right is completely consumed with hero worship of a…ding-dong. Trump pretty much is an American Hitler…but for the part where he just talks a lot and never actually takes the next step of knocking heads. Trump is soooo fucking lazy and disorganized that while he has helped us lurch towards a Fourth Reich, he has also delayed its creation because of his, specific, personality quirks.
It’s not like Trump has the wherewithal to organize any sort of SA-type paramilitary group. So, a crucial aspect of the rise of American fascism doesn’t exist. We have a few would-be paramilitary groups but they’re small and disorganized at the moment. And, hopefully, will stay that way and never organize into one big jackbooted organization.
But let me be clear — the MAGA Republican Party isn’t dying. If we were still a liberal democracy, then, yes, you could make that argument. But we’re not that anymore –we’re an autocracy without an autocrat. What I mean by that is — all the conditions are there for an autocrat to turn us into a managed democracy like Russia…but for someone to actually do it.
And the one person who history would have do it — Donald J. Fucking Trump — is such a dingbat that for the time being we have a few years of peace. Either Trump will come back tan, ready and rested and take us into the dark night of fascism, or any one of seemingly endless stream of would-be MAGA autocrat presidents will do it instead.
And, as such, that’s why, as I keep saying, we face a stark choice between now and January 2025: autocracy or civil war.