As we inch closer to election day, I’m hearing more and more rumblings of threats from the Trump base that if he were to lose re-election the rest of us are in deep doo-doo.
It seems to me that either way we’re pretty much screwed. A Biden win will invite civil unrest the likes of which we’ve never seen; a Trump win will give us four more years of what we’ve already seen.
Of course, those rumblings I’ve been hearing could just be my digestive tract, which has been wreaking havoc with me during the past eight months. (We tried ever-so-briefly to replace animal protein with beans. The results were interesting, to say the least.)
But the threat of armed insurrection by the Far Right leaves me with more than a few questions.
First and foremost, how will the sides be recognized? I assume that the base will be dressed in camo, as they have been all year when they attended street rallies, polling places, Walmart, or their local Tastee-Freez. That could lead to some confusion which could bring unexpected surprises to hunters trying to fill their freezers with game meat for their families. As for the rest of us who won’t be venturing afield this year, will we be identified by our masks and then shot for trying to be considerate of others? That seems kind of harsh. And if that is the case, we’ll never get the damned pandemic under control.
And where will this insurrection take place?
I’m hoping that my street won’t be host to a battle of any kind. So far, the political differences with our neighbors have been noted only by yard signs announcing a preference for whoever is running for Clerk of the City Court, a non-partisan position. Only three houses have been decorated for Halloween, which may or not be a political statement by virtue of the heavy employment of masks to become someone you’re not for not much more than an evening. For the most part, we all just wave and smile at each other and go about our business.
I could well be mistaken, but I don’t think any of my neighbors have any armaments beyond a deer rifle, a shot gun, and maybe a side arm. I would be surprised to learn that any one of them had a grenade launcher. I’ll admit to having all of the stuff needed to make a potato cannon. I’m sorry now that I didn’t complete the project, which was intended to be a father-son bonding experience.
A couple of streets away and down a block or two is a suspicious structure that could easily be mistaken for a garage. But the coming-and-goings of people who don’t seem like they belong here indicate to the authorities that it might house a terror cell. They’re watching it from a food truck that sells the best tacos in Montana, which really isn’t saying much.
And then there’s the matter of leadership.
The Trump administration seems incapable of doing much beyond cheer-leading for its base and relentlessly threatening his detractors. Anybody who has ever disagreed with Trump he believes should be locked up, and so the base screams the names at every rally. Hillary, four years out from the 2016 campaign remains a target. Biden needs to be prosecuted for unknown reasons, as do all the Amtrak passengers he commuted with for thirty years. Kamala needs a new first name. And, apparently, all of the Democrat governors and mayors belong behind bars, as well.
In 1971, I felt truly slighted that I hadn’t made the cut for Nixon’s enemies list. I haven’t heard whether Trump has such a list, but I’d wager he does. Making lists of one’s perceived enemies is pretty common among paranoid sociopaths, of which the president seems surely to be. Nixon’s initial list had only twenty names; Trump’s, I would venture to say, numbers in the thousands, dating as far back as the four years he spent in the third grade.
It’s not altogether clear if Trump will accept the election results, concede a loss, or even leave the White House unshackled. If he’s escorted out, it will be the most watched perp walk in history.
His base seems to be willing to accept a coup, even without a clue how one might unfold. Many coups involve the military. That seems unlikely considering that much of that sector has been roundly criticized by Trump. His bragging that he knew more about military stuff than any of the generals probably still gets some laughs around the map boards inside the war room. If one wishes for military support in a political takeover, one shouldn’t contend that their comrades were suckers and losers. One also should note that the military has unlimited access to firearms, which they’ve actually been trained how to use.
It’s not clear if the Boogaloo Boys, which I mistakenly thought was a boy band like the Back Street Boys, and the Proud Boys, which was commandeered by Gay Pride, leaving the Proud to become the Leathermen (another gay thing they apparently weren’t aware of), have any training in shooting their guns. From pictures I’ve seen—mostly on the internet—the assault weapons they wear slung across their backs seem like part of an exercise in accessorizing their ill-fitting outfits. I suspect they spend considerable time dressing in the latest Army-Navy fashions and preening before whatever surface might offer a reflection.
The question of how to participate in the event of armed conflict is nagging.
I’ve watched my fair share of war movies over the years and there typically is a lot of gunfire and people getting killed. This holds even less appeal for me now than when visiting Vietnam as an armed tourist was a real possibility in 1970. I’m too old to be of much use on the battlefield and the weapons I have, now that I don’t hunt anymore, would not be particularly effective. The .25-caliber handgun would be practically useless unless the enemy was no farther away than two or three feet and I could chuck it at the guy’s head. The .22 rifle will prove handy if gophers join in the insurrection.
When I was a little boy, my friends and I had two activities for rainy days. One was boxing in the basement of my friend Michael’s house. His father didn’t work, possibly because the War had left him mentally “soft,” as my father said, and he would coach us with great zeal.
We also played with little green plastic soldiers, strategically lining them up to engage in battle. We’d then shoot them down with rubber bands.
So, when the civil war breaks out, I’ll choose to be in my basement, plotting strategies with plastic soldiers and rubber bands.
Unless there are gophers.
Photography by Courtney A. Liska
Cream Chipped Beef on Toast (SOS)
This has been a war-time staple since the Napoleonic Era, if not before. Who really knows? When WWII rolled around, it earned the moniker Shit on a Shingle. It’s actually quite delicious.
1 lb. ground beef
2 cups whole milk
4 Tbs. salted butter
4 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
12 slices bread, toasted
In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, brown the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper. Drain excess grease and set aside. Melt butter in the same saucepan. Add flour to make a roux.
Add milk, salt, and pepper. Stir constantly until thick and bubbly. Add meat and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. If necessary, add a little more milk until it reaches your desired consistency.
Serve over toast.