Stephen Gottlieb: A Taste Of Their Own Medicine | WAMC

Stephen Gottlieb: A Taste Of Their Own Medicine

Jan 12, 2021

I find myself getting angrier by the day and wanting to give the extremists, the alt-WRONG, the Trumpistas, the people who think the road to greatness is violence against each other, a taste of their own medicine. They chanted “Lock her up” and I want to lock HIM up, and THEM too.

More than that, I keep thinking of the loyalty oaths we had to sign in the 50s and 60s, spread by Joe McCarthy and used to attack liberals. It was very effective in destroying the pro-labor movement, the left that called for measures to make life better for working people. That was what the McCarthy loyalty oaths took down. The left morphed, of course. In the 60s it switched to integration and the women’s movement so that the Trump crowd could now slander the left claiming we liberals don’t care about workers.

But now, like the old loyalty oaths, it’s time to make people swear under penalties of perjury that they have never brought guns or other weapons to demonstrations, or into public buildings, or threatened public officials with them. It’s time to fence in those who believe that politics is a blood sport, decided not by votes but by force. This goes much deeper than Trump and it needs to be removed from the body politic. Maybe the alt, the racists, misogynists and extremists who are afraid of fair competition with Blacks and women will morph into something more constructive – though I don’t have a prayer that they will ever understand that we all do better when everyone does better.

The South took back their loss in the Civil War with continued violence, guerilla violence where necessary until they took over a part of this nation and ruled it for a century of segregation and intimidation. Now it’s time to finish the job of taking this country back and threaten and intimidate those who think threats, intimidation, assault and murder are fine means of politics. This country has no place for people who put victory and murder above democracy. We talk about violence in this country but the way-over-the-top racists are the problem and before we tear down the prisons, we should use them to lock the violent racists up. What goes around comes around and that includes gun violence as well as biological violence by refusing to abide by the rules of public health, overwhelming our hospitals and killing people both ways. They don’t believe in life. When you take away the idea that they care about human life, what you are left with in the anti-abortion hysteria is misogyny. Blacks and women, that’s what these extremists are afraid of. They are cowards in daily life trying to claim bravery with their weapons, mobs and threats.

Frankly, it’s very disturbing that there are people who still support the monster called Trump, who will work against any non-Trumper in politics even though there are no Trump policies – he got rid of every idea as soon as he announced it: love the uneducated but support the rich; love the workers in middle-America but ditch the infrastructure projects he promised. He lies to his most devoted supporters because he can.

The biggest dupes of Trump are the ones in the Red hats. He’s filled their minds and bellies with words. And turned many into traitors.

Steve Gottlieb’s latest book is Unfit for Democracy: The Roberts Court and The Breakdown of American Politics. He is the Jay and Ruth Caplan Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Albany Law School, served on the New York Civil Liberties Union board, on the New York Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Iran.

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