An Open Letter to Joe Walsh and the Alt Right
It is Election Day 2016. I predicted, back in March, that Hillary will win in a landslide. I have seen nothing since then to change my opinion. Whether I think it’s a good idea or not, it is what I think will happen. Trump followers, spurred on by Donald’s intemperate remarks, have been making an increasing amount of noise over not accepting the election results. Exhibit A is Congressman Joe Walsh’s tweet asking people to pick up their muskets with him if Hillary wins.
Methinks the alt-right, Cliven Bundy worshipping, run-around-in-the-woods-playing-soldier folks need a reality check and I would like to give it to them. Joe Walsh claims his tweet was a call for civil disobedience to take back our government. While I totally support his right to protest, picket, and perform acts of civil disobedience, I am not naïve enough to believe that his choice of metaphor was an accident. Even a cursory look at Brietbart and other right wing web sites reveals numerous links to groups advocating armed rebellion against our government.
Polls show that a significant number of Americans fear violence following Trump’s defeat, so it’s not just paranoia on my part. One major flaw in using the Internet to connect to like-minded individuals is that people get a false sense of numbers. They shout into an echo chamber and think that they are stronger than they really are. The vast majority of Americans are too busy with their daily lives to fantasize about becoming a modern day revolutionary hero. These Americans only care about one poll and that’s the polling of official ballots in November. And most expect everyone to accept the outcome in a nonviolent manner.
Joe Walsh and company seem to think they are the only people with guns who love their country. They despise ordinary voters and think they understand the Constitution better the government it established. They take Jefferson’s quote about the blood of patriots and tyrants out of context to justify their treasonous conversations. They use thinly disguised talk of assassination to stir up the crazies. I have news for anyone who takes up arms against the elected government of this country: in 1970, I took an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. I promised to obey a president I despised, Tricky Dick Nixon, and fight in a war I was vehemently opposed to. And no one has released me from that oath.
Yes, I know it’s a popular T-shirt slogan and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of Walsh’s supporters own one. But they seem to not understand that our government, whether it’s run by Nixon or Clinton, is the one established by the Constitution they profess to love as well as by the ballots of a majority of voters. Even in elections tainted by fraud, such as those in 1876, 1960 and 2000, there are Constitutional remedies that must be followed and adhered to. Otherwise, the Constitution and the government it established is worthless. Citizens have the right to protest and work within the limits of the Constitution to change the government and its policies. They do not have the right to advocate the use of violence.
I do not expect an armed insurrection if we elect the first woman president. I do expect that her opponents will use the Constitution to try and stonewall her just like they did with the first black president. I think and hope that Appomattox settled the question of armed rebellion against the U.S Government permanently. But in case I’m wrong, I have the ability and the temperament to defend my family, my home, and my elected government. I don’t know how many other people feel the same way, but I do know I am not alone in my sentiments. I’m willing to bet that the number of people who will defend our political system is a whole lot greater than the number of people who will pick up a musket against it. Both Japan and the Confederate States bet that their smaller population, fervor, and sudden use of violence would be enough to defeat the United States. Both paid a terrible price for that foolish bet. Your call, Mr. Walsh. You wanna bet I’m wrong?