Rioting in Ferguson
Alan Sabrosky — The Unz Review Nov 5, 2022
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold….
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
William Butler Yeats, “The Second Coming” (1919)
On the eve of the 2022 mid-term elections here, these words penned by Yeats as Europe reeled in the aftermath of that fratricidal bloodletting misnamed the Great War (1914-18), a time of broken lives and empires that benefited principally Bolsheviks and bankers (perhaps only two sides of the same shekel), have an eerie echo today. For the moment, it is less bloody now than that earlier conflict, but the upheaval within and across countries and societies is even greater in many respects. It helps not at all that the same people (I speak generically) who control the financial and information centers of power, and thus the political process in many countries, are simultaneously the primary source of funding and encouragement for the worst disruptors of those same societies. Throughout the West, the best are largely bereft of focus and lack a coherent response to what seems to be an unending, insensate assault by the worst within: the resurgent, insurgent Left.
Details differ in some respects in each country. But I am primarily concerned here with what has happened to the United States, and why, and what choices are open to those of us who wish to salvage something from the shipwreck it has become. In “Deconstructing the ‘Woke World’,” I laid out the elements in the U.S. which came together to dominate the Democrat Party and its political agenda, and what it meant for Americans in general terms. Here I will go into that crucible in some detail, looking at what the Left – within the general framework of the Democrat Party – has wrought to date; where we misjudged and missed the best opportunity to deal with it relatively painlessly; and what our prospects are in the coming months.
Into the Crucible
To fully appreciate the choices open to us in coming weeks and months, we need to understand how and why we got here in the first place. It appears painfully clear now, but it was also self-evident to some of us at the time, and more than obvious to many in retrospect.
I’ll not dwell on the details here – they merit a library of studies. Suffice to say there were three main currents to the opposition. One was overtly political, increasingly affecting – and moving leftward – the Democrat party, starting at the national level and permeating the infrastructure at state and local levels. The second was more subtle, eating away at – and capturing the leadership of – many of our prized institutions and professions: education, journalism, law, business and public health, to name but a few. And the third (less an independent current than something overlaying the first two) was the predominance of liberal–to–radical Jews as a controlling force in the media, elite academic institutions, law, business and finance – ALL favoring the Democrat party and the causes it promoted. This entire process went largely unnoticed until the last decade or so, when they converged with the altered political landscape and surfaced in Obama’s second term.
I’ve wondered why this went largely unnoticed and unremarked until then. There was certainly plenty of evidence of what was happening, had anyone bothered to look closely – but few did, and even fewer spoke or wrote openly about it. I suspect that part of it was sort of an “avoidance syndrome.” People who DID notice and spoke up about it increasingly became censored or sanctioned in their fields (a less structured precursor to today’s concept of being “canceled”) – I write here from personal experience, and saw it happen to others. People in the professions noticed, and prudently stayed away from looking to closely at any of those metaphorical “third rails.”
But it was also because we were so focused on affairs outside – first with the Cold War and its confrontation with the USSR, and then after the Soviet Union imploded, shifting into those miserable “regime change” wars in the Middle East. This was facilitated because In both situations, the two major parties – whatever their differences in domestic policies – largely stood together on many foreign policy issues. But there was a penalty. Aside from their overt costs, these conflicts were to us what the bullfighter’s cape is to the bull – a deadly distraction that led most of us to disregard the near-mortal rot within, just as the bull ignores the sword that kills him.
Storm clouds had been brewing on the political horizon for years, although I doubt if anyone – perhaps not even the Democrats – really apprehended just how deep and extensive they were. Hillary Clinton’s unexpected loss in 2016 produced an odd bifurcation in the development of these these currents during Trump’s presidency. The two major parties still generally held together internationally, especially in the Middle East wars. Both parties are now dominated by AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), and what Israel and its lobby wanted, they mostly got, thanks principally to the concentration of money and media influence on their side.
Domestically, however, uncertainties and outright animosity began to take center stage. In many areas and on many issues, the two major parties began pulling further apart. Whereas once they had overlapped in the moderate center, with the Democrats more liberal and the Republicans more conservative, the center balance was occupied largely by independents – the Republicans hadn’t changed their values all that much, but the Democrats (especially the leadership) had moved sharply Left over the years. This distancing had managed to spread through all levels of government, from local through national, and permeate all three branches – executive, legislative and judicial – at each level.
With Trump’s election, then, the institutions the Left had captured went into open opposition, ranging from public demonstrations and unswervingly negative commentary on anything and everything the Republican administration tried to do, to open attacks on individuals serving in that administration. And politically, Democrats at all levels mostly seemed determined to throw sand into the wheels of government, slowing or derailing anything their Republican counterparts attempted to do domestically. When the COVID-19 virus (which was real) was elevated into a pandemic (which was contrived) with enormous social, economic and political consequences, the stage was set for an explosion.
2020: The Path Not Taken
That explosion erupted in late May 2020, following the death in Minneapolis of a lifetime criminal named George Floyd while in police custody. (You can read elsewhere about the details and arguments over this incident.) What matters here is that protests and riots erupted nationwide, eventually afflicting over 400 cities – all but two run by Democrats, mostly in Democrat-run states. There were so many more or less simultaneously, with some indications of prior preparation (e.g. stacks of bundled bricks being dropped in places where “protesters” could get them), that it is hard not to believe that plans had been made for such things, awaiting only a convenient trigger.
Once that trigger was pulled, what followed for the next seven months was unexpected and unbelievably disruptive. Over $2 billion dollars in damage was done, shopping districts were looted wholesale and burned, statues and memorials were vandalized or removed, over 3,000 people were seriously injured and more than 60 killed – NONE by police or what few National Guard were deployed. Most of the protests and much of the violence were the work of two radical organizations: Antifa & BLM (Black Lives Matter), but not all of it. A liking for excitement and a desire for loot played their own part, and the victims of the mobs were remarkably diverse. The demonstrators, protesters and/or rioters – take your pick – essentially gave America an ultimatum: Give us what we want or we will burn the country down.
The response from the Democrats and their allies in the media was a telling combination of permissiveness, denial and outright support of the rioters – who were frequently described simply as “protesters” no matter how violent their conduct. The media fanned the flames of the violence by generally refusing to portray accurately what was happening, and by justifying what was happening as something attributable to police misbehavior and/or systemic white racism. (A CNN reporter’s characterization of them as “mostly peaceful protests” while the entire skyline behind him was on fire ought to go down as an epic understatement.)
Politically, with a solitary principal exception (Tulsi Gabbard, D-HI), elected Democrats at local, state and national levels either did nothing of consequence to stop the violence and to restore order, or excused it and sometimes even encouraged it by asserting that they stood with what they continued to call merely “protests.” This may have been because those doing the rioting were their constituents, or at least their ideological comrades-in-arms. I recall during the days of the antiwar protests in the Vietnam era, one radical student leader gave the best reason for where they chose to riot: “you always riot against your friends, and not your enemies, because you know your friends won’t shoot.”
But it also provided further excuses – they would say “added justification,” I am sure – for changes in voting in the November 2020 general election, emphasizing early voting and mail-in voting. These changes caused very real problems for election integrity, but they also provided opportunities for political organizations to manipulate election outcomes, especially in urban areas. And many large urban areas were controlled by the Democrats.
Faced with this chaos in the streets and the utter refusal of elected Democrat governors and mayors to use whatever means were necessary to restore order, one of two things needed to be done to salvage the situation. President Trump needed to invoke the Insurrection Act, use U.S. Marshals to arrest the most recalcitrant governors and mayors for sedition, federalize all National Guard units across the country, and deploy regular units of the Army and the Marine Corps to the worst affected cities with explicit orders to use deadly force to end the violence. Or without that being done, we the people – the most heavily armed citizenry in history counting millions of trained combat veterans in our number – needed to put an end to it ourselves.
Both of these are extreme measures, and as a Marine Corps veteran and a longtime student and practitioner of security affairs, I fully appreciate that. But America was faced with an extreme domestic threat that had been germinating for decades, and which had captured one of our two major parties – a Democrat party I had often supported in the past. President Trump had the Constitutional obligation to “ensure domestic tranquility” if governors and mayors abdicated their responsibility to do that in their states and cities. He had the statutory authority in the Insurrection Act to use his powers as Commander in Chief to act if necessary – and it assuredly was necessary then and there.
And what of the rest of us? Americans have prided ourselves on being different than so many in other countries without our advantages. As with most peoples, a good deal of this has been misunderstood and exaggerated over time. But at some point in the carnage – such as the murders ny BLM or common thugs of a retired black police captain in St. Louis, a pregnant 23 year old white mother in Indianapolis, an elderly black Trump supporter in Minneapolis, a 5 year old white boy in North Carolina – with nothing being done by authorities at any level, one would have thought people would have said “enough” and stopped it.
On the Road to Dystopia or?
Neither happened. There are many reasons given for this, and the debate on that will likely continue for years. But the implications were severe: The perpetrators of violence and their supporters won. This encouraged the Democrats to steal the 2020 election. And we are today where we are because of it.
Perhaps the only good news is that where we are today in America, is where we would have been 4 years or so ago had Trump not upset Hillary Clinton in 2016. For all of the insanity with which he, his Administration and decent Americans were afflicted by the Left generally and Democrats in particular during his tenure, we at least were spared the onslaught then of what we have endured under the Biden Administration. And spare me arguments about who is really in charge, or whose puppet he is, and all the rest of it. Someone – individually or collectively – is pushing a very radical agenda, and doing it with single-minded determination to remake America in their preferred image, and it is decidedly not an image the Framers of the Constitution intended or could have envisaged. But it is an image they would have loathed, whatever their differences might have been.
A history of this era – likely written in Russian (if you are an optimist) or in Chinese (if you are not) – will make fascinating reading. I doubt if any will really understand how what Raymond Aron called “The Imperial Republic” could have come to such a pass and fallen so far, so fast with so little open resistance. I’ll only mention the principal disasters here, all done deliberately by this Administration: the weaponization of the Justice Department and the FBI as instruments of political repressions; treating political opponents as “enemies of the state” or “domestic terrorists”; the loss of energy independence; runaway spending and the inevitable spiraling inflation; upwards of a quarter-million illegals into the country each month; pushing CRT (an anti-white “Critical Race Theory” where “systemic racism” is the supposed key to everything) everywhere including in the schools; forcing the “woke” DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) agenda in the military; and using race and gender as tools of cultural disruption and restructuring – the list is long and painful. And it is not over – if this is not yet dystopia it assuredly verges on it.
There has been some push-back in some states and school districts against one or more of these tenets, and a slight diversification in the once-united front of the media and social media platforms, that may bear fruit someday. But only three things to date have really slowed the radical uprooting of our traditional institutions and culture. One is an evenly divided Senate: even with RINOs and only one or two Democrats occasionally breaking partisan traces, it remains a barrier to unrestrained wrecking. Another is a Supreme Court, with six nominal and perhaps five actual conservatives: the Chief Justice strikes me as at best compromised. And the third is the military: all of the service chiefs – even my beloved Marine Corps – have signed on to the “woke” DEI doctrine, but the majority of the people within the services cannot be considered reliable by the Leftists – yet.
So where does this all go? Constitutionalists or conservatives – especially Republicans – put their hopes in a Red Wave” which will allow them to flip control of both houses of the Congress in the 2022 midterms, as well as several governorships. Polls certainly indicate that this will be the case, and although the Democrats control the balloting in the same cities in the same states as in 2020, there has been a significant movement of Hispanic voters – and a smaller but still interesting one – of black voters to the Republican party.
Personally, I have my doubts: Nancy Pelosi is an evil witch if ever there was one, but she is a ruthless, experienced and cunning harvester in the Washington vineyard. I do not believe she would have run for re-election if she had thought that she would be handing over the Speaker’s gavel to a Republican in January, and have to face retribution there for what she and the Democrats have done over the past two years.
Moreover, there is the perennial problem of “it isn’t who votes, it is who counts the votes.” The excellent documentary, “2000 Mules,” demonstrated conclusively (at least to me, and I understand the methodology very well) how the 2020 general election was stolen. But it received little national attention, and most of what it did receive was critical. So all it really accomplished was to show the Democrats where and how they had to clean up their act in 2022, to do the same thing more smoothly with less chance of detection. Watch for pre-dawn ballot dumps or prolonged counting delays, especially in states with largely Democrat-controlled black majority cities.
But let’s say the Republicans do as they believe they will do and flip both Houses of the Congress in the mid-terms. In fact, it might be wise strategically for the Democrats to let that happen, and to refrain from doing anything that might even remotely look like illegal or unethical (I know, such words!) ballot harvesting or counting in 2022. That way, they could defuse criticism of whatever they did in 2020 by pointing to Republican wins in 2022, and clear the way for them to do the same thing as in 2020 very smoothly and very well in the really important 2024 general election. What, then will victory in the mid-terms mean? Well, first of all, a lot of radical legislation pending in the Congress now (e.g. Federalizing all election practices in all states) or desired but not yet formally proposed (e.g. automatic amnesty of all illegal migrants) will be blocked. But any legislation the Republicans want and the Democrats do not want, will not become law. Biden will veto them, and the Republicans – even the most optimistic of them – know they will not have a two-thirds majority in both chambers needed to override a veto. So legislatively, a stalemate, with Biden (or whoever) governing by executive order.
Second, really nasty appointees to any Administration posts won’t be confirmed. But none will be removed by the process of impeachment. They might be impeached in the House of Representatives, but they will not be convicted by the Senate – no two-thirds vote in a densely partisan political world will be forthcoming. So any vacancies will likely be filled by temporary (“Acting”) appointees who will remain that without confirmation. It has happened before.
Third, expect the Democrats to revert in the lower chamber to the sand-in-the-wheels strategy used in 2017-2019 when they were a minority there, coupled with a resumption of public protests and harassment of Republicans in both houses. Disruption, delay, and as much disorder as possible will be their rules of the day, every day. And in parliamentary terms, there will be damn little the Republicans can do about it.
Fourth, the RINOs like McCullough and McCarthy will likely retain leadership positions of their parties in the two chambers, or – if replaced – will still have senior positions and a number of followers in them. This poses an interesting dilemma for younger Republicans: If they retain the RINOs in leadership positions, it will be business as usual on the Hill. But if they replace them, they may split the party in one or both chambers for voting purposes, and hand the Democrats some victories that simple majorities could avert. It is a neat problem.
Fifth, Biden’s current political appointees (or their “Acting” successors) will continue to execute Administration policies. If the Democrats will not be able to get new ones through, they can block – at one level or another – whatever the Republicans want to do. This includes maintaining Administration support for CRT in the schools, DEI in the armed forces, open borders, energy policy, and support for certain policies overseas (e.g. aid for Ukraine). The powers of the purse (House of Representatives) and confirmation (Senate), for example, are real. But more than one past president has found ways to go around a hostile Congress – and while I doubt Biden can sniff his way around anything substantial, there are some very smart – if wrong-headed or even outright evil – people in his Administration who can do that quite nicely.
Finally, a real problem is the entire Department of Justice and its principal enforcement arm, the FBI. I do not know if the word “corrupt” is adequate, but I know that as long as Garland, his key subordinates, and the existing array of U.S. Attorneys are in place, conservatives or opponents of any Administration policies and practices are in deep trouble – and there is little or nothing ta reworked Congress can do about them. States can do something within thir jurisdictions if they wish, but the “leadership” of states like California do not, so we will end up abandoning part of the population to the mercy of their radical leadership and trying to save what we can – at least until 2024 is upon us.
Any who doubt what the Democrats intend for us and for America need only review Biden’s appalling speech on September 1, 2022 in Philadelphia, with his blood-red background and his dire threats to those who would stand against his party’s designs. And later demurrals or walk-backs by his staffers notwithstanding, its essence was repeated in another speech a few days ago on November 2nd. Both echoed what Speaker Pelosi, AG Garland and other leading Democrats have reiterated over the past two years: conservatives generally and Republicans in particular are domestic terrorists, national security threats and enemies of the state. It was no less than a declaration of war on the Constitution and what it rep[resents. It was literally an assertion of an emerging despotism – if we the people let it happen.
There is no compromise with these people. Reasonable people can disagree, reach understandings that respect the interests of both sides, and remain at peace. The emergent radical Democrat despotism is neither reasonable nor willing to compromise except in the classic revolutionary sense: one step back, then two steps forward, then repeat the process as needed – until you win absolutely.
In these circumstances, the best we can hope for if the mid-terms go our way is two years of disruption and no new wounds, but a continuation of most – if not all – of what we have experienced since January 2021. But if we lose the mid-terms – that is, if the Democrats go for broke and do (or attempt to do) in them what they did in 2020, and win – forget about changing anything in 2024. The die will be cast in stone, insofar as politics and the country is concerned.
Neither outcome is sustainable or acceptable, at least to me – and, hopefully, to others who love this country, warts and all. It was never so bad in 1775 when Patrick Henry proclaimed “Give me liberty or give me death!” Compared to what we face now, the wrongs enumerated in the Declaration of Independence were nothing but pin-pricks, and the worst of King George III’s Royal Officers little more than irritants. For those who share my views (or are simply interested in seeing where they lead!), there is the third and final installment of this series: “America Arise! A Manifesto for the Militia.”
Alan Ned Sabrosky (PhD, University of Michigan) is a ten-year US Marine Corps veteran. He served in Vietnam with the 1st Marine Division and is a graduate of the US Army War College. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org