On November 3rd Trump lost the Presidential election in Vermont by a wider margin than in any other State in the union. But that did not prevent a couple dozen (peaceful) pro-Trump supporter from demonstrating in front of the Statehouse on January 6th. It was also feared that Trump’s lack of support in the Green Mountains would not prevent a minority of armed extremists from committing acts of violence today [1/17/21] in our Capital.
Warnings that fascists, those who supported the Trump coup, were planning armed actions in all 50 State Capitals in the U.S. were taken seriously here in rural Vermont. Throughout this morning and into the afternoon police in bullet proof vests, military grade helmets, and with automatic rifles in hand patrolled the streets of our Capital City of Montpelier (population: 7,800). The Mayor and City Council issued prior warnings encouraging residents to stay home. Many businesses were closed. And despite the threat of rightwing violence 100 anti-fascists converged on City Hall to demonstrate their support for democracy and unwillingness to concede to fascist threats. And the armed fascists? They were nowhere to be seen.
Today [1/6/21] thousands of neo-fascist Trump loyalists converged on Washington with the aim of forcing the annulment of the November election (which Democrat Joe Biden won by seven million votes). There they were met by Donald Trump himself who addressed the mob, falsely claiming that he won, that he would never concede defeat, and encouraging them to fight to keep him in power.
Meanwhile, Inside Congress Republican Representatives and Senators from the extreme right issued formal challenges to the Electoral College vote (which also spelled overwhelming defeat for Trump). Like their neo-fascist counterparts outside the Capital Building, these anti-democratic, anti-union law makers were actively seeking to carry out a coup against the majority will of the American people.
75 Years ago (May, 1945) the United States, Great Britton, The USSR, and Allies emerged victorious over Fascism in Europe; Nazi Germany surrendered. While the price was high (hundreds-of-thousands of American soldiers dead, tens-of-millions more around the world), no one can rationally argue that the sacrifice was not needed. This was, after all, a Just War; one of the few which lacked any moral ambiguity. We were on the side of right, engaged in a historic battle against evil incarnate. Fascism had to be crushed if we were to not enter a new dark age of barbarism equipped with ledgers and death camps. The drum beat of war had to be answered as no other response was capable of overcoming this existential threat to liberty.
Coming out of the Great Depression, my Grandfathers and Great Uncles, like countless others, served in the U.S. Army during the war. The Greatest Generation did their part and are owed a debt that can never be repaid. With victory we won a reprieve from the horrors of Fascism for generations to come. But the ghosts of Nazism were never completely exorcized from our consciousness – this hatred, born out of social alienation, fear, and economic pressures, still persists. Charlottesville reminds us that the twisted vision of Nazism still lurks in dark places, waiting to emerge if our collective will grows weak and if not beaten back through physical force. The xenophobia proclaimed, at times, from the White House, and the camps on our southern border, where even children are caged, also gives form to real concerns that Fascism can again infest the highest halls of state power (and will grow if left unchecked).
“If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organization of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs.”
-James Connolly, Irish Republican & Labor Leader