“People are scared and frightened. The country is on the verge of a war between people of color and law enforcement, and the White House seems to be spurring it on.”
– Greg Sarris, Chairman the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria
Last month, I wrote an article about the 1970s clandestine organization, the Weather Underground, which appeared in Tablet magazine, and that prompted an irrational and uncivil response from Daniel Greenfield, published in FrontPage, a right-wing political website, edited by David Horowitz, from the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Greenfield libeled and targeted me, too, as “a stooge for a communist terror group that murdered Americans.” Thanks, Dan. I appreciate the compliment. “Stooge” is a word I haven’t heard for a long time. In fact, it doesn’t belong in our current political vocabulary. Your boss, Mr. Horowitz would be proud of you. For decades, he has specialized in targeting American lefties, including teachers and writers, he dislikes.
In his narcissistic autobiography, Radical Son: a Generational Odyssey, Horowitz heaps scorn on Jessica Mitford, Warren Hinckle, I.F. Stone, Bob Sheer, Eve Pell and Todd Gitlin. In his autobiography, Horowitz also attacks the Black Panthers. He claims that there was a Panther “killing ground” in the mountains above Santa Cruz that was “littered with the charred bones of comrades they had murdered for stepping out of line.” Pure bullshit.
Horowitz is still sell bullshit. Now, he has Daniel Greenfield to help him sell it. Greenfield’s article shows me that you don’t have to be an African-American, a Latino, a Latina, or gay to be the target of a right-wing hate group. If you speak your mind and tell the truth you, too, can be a target. Indeed, members of the radical right are calling for a civil war, a bloodbath, and, in the case of Mr. Greenfield, “a reckoning.”
At the end of his rant about me and article for Tablet, Greenfield writes that “A reckoning will come, not in academic papers or reviews, but in the crimes that have never been repented, and will therefore come again, until the tide of lies, blood and treachery bring down the same system that covered up the crimes of the Weathermen, and brings a revolution against the revolution.”
Greenfield lives in a fantasy world of lies, blood, treachery and crimes.” He sounds like the sort of person that Congresswoman Barbara Lee had in mind when she recently noted that, “There are a lot of people who are living on the edge, who have mental disorders, who are stressed.” She added, “All you need is a trigger. And this president is that trigger for people who are unstable.”
While Greenfield calls for a “revolution against the revolution,” Horowitz’s organization—which describes itself a “battle tank”— says it is gearing up to “fight a war.” The David Horowitz Freedom Center website adds that “the political left has declared war on America and its constitutional system, and is willing to collaborate with America’s enemies abroad and criminals at home to bring America down.”
Horowitz has it all wrong. It isn’t the left, but rather Donald Trump and the members of his Republican Party, who have declared war on the U.S. Constitution and are collaborated with the enemies of democracy at home and abroad. All of which makes the 2020 presidential election especially important, as all of the Democratic Party candidates understand.
I have always thought of Marianne Williamson, who is one of those candidates, as a person who didn’t minimize the dangers to democracy, but she did just that recently when she said that “a low-level emotional civil war” was being waged in the U.S. The bodies that piled up in Dayton, El Paso and Gilroy tell a different story. Our embryonic civil war is a lot more than low-level and way beyond merely emotional. It’s high-level and it’s being fought with bullets as well as with words and over-heated rhetoric.
On Townhall.com, a Trump supporter published an article with a title that read, “Why Democrats Would Lose the Second Civil War.” The fact is that no one would win a second civil war. Everyone would lose. Civil Wars are devastating to everyone. Ours was and so has every civil war that has been fought ever since then.
Jon Soltz understands the truth about civil wars. The chairman of VoteVets, a veterans advocacy group whose members fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, he urges Americans “Do NOT buy guns (or any weapons) to use against your fellow Americans.” Soltz added, “We are NOT in civil war.”
In the radical right his words are falling on deaf ears. Those who don’t already have guns are buying them and using them against people of color. No wonder that Greg Sarris, the chairman of the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria in California, noted in July, “People are scared and frightened. The country is on the verge of a war between people of color and law enforcement, and the White House seems to be spurring it on.”
As Barbara Lee pointed out, Trump is the trigger.
I’m with the nineteenth-century American writer, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who wrote a poem titled “The Warning” in 1842. Longfellow predicted the coming of the Civil War and a time when “the vast temple of our liberties” would be “a shapeless mass of wreck and rubbish.” Horowitz, Greenfield, the folks at Fox and the president himself, feed the hate and the anger of those who want a civil war. Our own liberties, which are fast eroding, might become a mass of wreck and rubbish. The warning signs are nearly everywhere.