Fine’s words echoed Donald Trump’s during the 2016 election, when he said that “Second Amendment people” might be able to stop a President Hillary Clinton from appointing Supreme Court justices. What was once a barely concealed insinuation of violence has morphed, especially after Jan. 6, into an even more forthright menace. As ProPublica has reported, dozens of members of the Oath Keepers militia were arrested in connection with the attack on the Capitol, but that hasn’t stopped the organization from “evolving into a force within the Republican Party.”
In Shasta County, a conservative part of rural Northern California, a militia-aligned faction has secured a majority on the board of supervisors, in what members of the movement see as a blueprint that can be deployed nationally. Throughout the country, reported The New York Times, “right-wing Republicans are talking more openly and frequently about the use of force as justifiable in opposition to those who dislodged him” — meaning Trump — “from power.” Expecting those same Republicans to collaborate with Democrats on public safety is madness.
The horrifying irony, the hideous ratchet, is that the more America is besieged by senseless violence, the more the paramilitary wing of the American right is strengthened.