All right.

We need to talk about how Trump and the GOP are marketing themselves as the Southern Fire-Eaters who spurred secession and the Civil War and how that time bizarrely mirrors our own.

Here's a taste of what I write about in AMERICAN RULE.

This ad that's making the rounds by Lauren Boebert, in which she brags about taking her gun to Congress, is not just empty posturing. It reflects a growing tension in our government that seems to be trending toward the societal discord and violence of the Civil War.

The way our history is taught, the Civil War just...kind of happened. Out of nowhere. But there were many forces involved and they reflect what we're going through now.

To understand, we need to look at those forces and the people who benefited and cultivated them.

Prior to the Civil War, Congress erupted into violent chaos. There were massive brawls, duels, assaults, all of it arising from the South's refusal to accept any legislation or development that didn't reflect their desires or empowerment.

Members of the southern Democrats would come armed to sessions to intimidate their rivals, flashed knives and clubs and, if the process got out of control, would use them.

These threats we're seeing now have a very, very similar flavor and should concern people.

It's not a coincidence that, as the political moment has shifted away from the GOP, they've begun filling their ads with flashes of weapons and veiled threats of violence.

They're warning rivals that if things continue down this path, there will be trouble.

There's a relationship, of course, to white militias marching in the streets and interrupting legislative meetings while armed with semi-automatics.

These are messages and threats. Losing ground democratically, these interests are assuring they're willing to be violent.

These Right Wing ads and campaigns are posturing, for sure, but the posturing moves the window of possibilities.

It was like this pre-Civil War, with developing news outlets that led to Southerners posturing in order to cement their support.

The angry and violent southerners pre-Civil War were not only intimidating rivals but also performing for media outlets who praised them as cult heroes and portrayed the political divide as insurmountable and treated conspiracy theories like they were fact.

This often gets left out of our histories and education, but the Civil War South was simply floating in conspiracy theories and believed the North was engaged in a massive conspiracy to take their power and ruin them.

It felt a lot like this moment.

But any discussion of what we're seeing now and the Civil War demands an actual account of what happened and why.

And that conversation begins with the Founding and why we're in this crisis right now.

The ugly truth is that our Founders created a white supremacist government and society that favored the fortunes of the wealthy and powerful.

And when the South said they were defending the Founders, they weren't completely wrong. We have to wrestle with this.

To secure a government that served the white, wealthy, and powerful, the Founders gave incredible concessions to the South that ensured it would determine politics while also protecting its prized institution of slavery.

That's our foundation and we need to break it.

Contrary to what some people might tell you, the Confederates claimed they were the actual heirs to the Founders. They revered them, honored them, and laid claim to the mantle of "Real Americans."

They were advocating for a continuation of Founding ideals.

The Confederacy surrounded itself with statues and symbols of Washington, Jefferson, the Founders. It claimed to be the *real* patriotic movement in the country.

It was a fight to continue the ugly concessions from the founding.

The dissolution of the Union stemmed from rampant conspiracy theories and a belief that the original deal of the Founding, created to empower the white, wealthy, and powerful, would not be upheld.

This is the same fight we're having now. That intentional inequality.

It's incredibly hard not to see echoes of the 2020 Election and the election of Abraham Lincoln. The South sat the election out and rejected its results because they believed it would not sit with their interests.

It was an apocalyptic rejection of shared society.

What we see now is another white supremacist, anti-democratic movement that is erupting as an entrenched power group sees its power waning and refuses to go along with democracy if it doesn't serve its interests.

It's an angry denial of reality.

When power groups see their power wane, they reject democracy. They attack it. They undermine its influence and legitimacy and eventually refuse to participate within it. Once that shared society is broken, it's incredibly hard to repair it without major conflict.

Like the time immediately before the Civil War, we now have a large segment of America that's trapped in a completely alternate reality wherein the wealthy and powerful are spreading conspiracy theories and fearmongering to try and maintain their dominance over society.

When those manufactured conspiracy theories reach a fever pitch, there's almost always someone there to capitalize off the fervor and propose coups and anti-democratic actions.

It's a natural evolution to this insidious method of control.

These aggressive, threatening advertisements and promises to carry weapons into Congress and capitals are thinly-veiled promises of violence.

As long as the wealthy and powerful continue to cling to their advantages via conspiracies and fearmongering, it will only get worse

In order to get out of this crisis, we need to reevaluate the institutions and structures that give these people power and influence. It starts with the Founding and spirals out from there.

This reevaluation is what they're frightened of, what they can't allow to happen.

We are at an extremely tenuous moment. The GOP has EVERY reason to continue threatening violence, secession, and playacting as Fire-Eaters.

Things are not okay, but we can back away from the cliff. It begins with recognizing the cliff is there and what it represents.

If interested, Episode 3 of my AMERICAN RULE LECTURE series gets more in-depth about this. Episodes 1 and 2 deal with Trumpism as fascism and the white supremacist founding.

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More from @JYSexton

4 Jan
There likely won’t be a schism in the Republican Party. Romney might eventually give a tearful speech and declare himself an independent, but the Right is going to dive deep into the muck and eagerly and violently compete over who can swallow the most filth.
All economic and political incentive on the Right is on embracing anti-democratic fascism and slamming down the pedal. Even being ambivalent or lukewarmly supporting a blatant coup is enough to get thrown in the gulag. It’s going to be a horror show.
A lot of people have made a lot of assumptions that the GOP fever would break, that all this posing with semi-automatics and trafficking in conspiracy theories would slip away when the right person got elected. It was a fantasy. The Right is terminally lost in fascism.
Read 5 tweets
29 Dec 20
The wealthy and powerful spent decades and billions destroying government as a public good and eradicating trust between Americans.

It’s no accident we have bought-off representatives, a violently divided citizenry, and a hapless infrastructure incapable of fighting a pandemic.
Reckless, thoughtless, humanless greed got us here. A society cannot function like this and America is sprinting headlong into decline and fascism because the wealthy have coopted everything. This always, always, always leads to disaster.
The wealthy undermined experts until we were lost in fascistic conspiracies, hollowed out our infrastructure and industry, imprisoned us for profit and kept us dependent using debt and insecurity, and captured our government and turned it into a wealth redistribution center.
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28 Dec 20
To reckon with the fact that white people carry out terrorism is to begin unraveling the entire fragile mythology of white supremacy and the narratives that legitimize oppression.

That our media is incapable or unwilling to do this should tell you everything you need to know.
White supremacy isn’t just carried on by avowed white supremacists. It’s also served by people who are disgusted by those groups and yet continue to cultivate, protect, and maintain the stories and ideology of white supremacy in their journalism, art, and politics.
The difference between “disturbed, lone wolf” white terrorism and “organized, cultural” terrorism carried out by people of color is an unwillingness by white supremacist America to reckon with itself or disturb the brittle mythologies that lie under our facade.
Read 5 tweets
27 Dec 20
This government is not designed to help people but to serve as an organ to redistribute the people's wealth from the bottom up.

Any gesture otherwise is only intended to keep people from understanding this and realizing how angry they should be.
It does not have to be this way. We can have an actual government for and by the people that serves public good rather than a system that plunders our wealth and sells out our well-being.

It can be different.

It has to be different.
For decades now there has been an economic consensus that wealth is best served being handed over to the wealthy and allowing the powerful to operate based on their own interests.

That consensus has to be broken. If it isn't, fascism and economic collapse are inevitable.
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19 Dec 20
The President of the United States is sitting in the Oval Office floating the idea of a full-scale military coup.

He probably won’t try it, but we’re primed for an authoritarian moment. If it was someone more competent or a closer election we’d be in a whole lot of trouble.
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that Trump is a precursor to a more competent, more ideologically-driven fascism. The GOP is enabling this, profiting from it, as are the wealthy and powerful.

Things are not okay. And they could get very, very bad.
Economic crisis, continuing alienation and radicalization, and shrinking resources from climate catastrophe will only worsen the situation. If we don’t recognize that fascism is growing every day and that this seditious behavior is real...there’s no telling what it’ll become.
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19 Dec 20
Somewhere in town last night there was a huge explosion that rocked my house. This morning, I can’t find anything on it anywhere. Not a news item, not a tweet.

It’s making me think about decline of local news and local experience that’s contributing to our current crisis.
Beginning a few decades ago, with media deregulation and the Gingrich plan to nationalize all experience for the purposes of political power, the downfall of local media has created a perfect environment for alienation and radicalization.
In small towns especially the economies are nonexistent. Jobs have dried up. Monopolies like WalMart absorbed everything and lowered living standards. These people are frustrated and the lack of local voices explaining the moment left a dangerous vacuum.
Read 7 tweets

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