Is a Revenge Revolution still likely? The fall 2013 was the first entry in this blog. About every six or so months thereafter I’ve written a “sense check“ whether a 5th US revolution was possible, or just a statistical aberration.
One needs to be careful about believing everything one writes is somehow automatically true. Doing so might make one feel better, but a peer review and some objective measures are good guardrails.
The last sense-check was Entry #400, published January 1, 2021. The entry preceded the attack on the US Capitol January 6 and preceded numerous (and on-going) attempts by Trump to overturn the results of the presidential election. From a historical perspective, I think the attack on the Capitol will mark the beginning of the 5th US revolution, the Revenge Revolution.
While Trump has continued to make noise, file frivolous lawsuits, and bilk supporters out of hard-earned cash by claiming he’s going to run again (fat chance), there have been other events recently that suggest the 5th US revolution is accelerating rather than slowing down as one might expect under a new, more rational Biden administration.
For example, in 2021 the Supreme Court seems to have decided to let the highly conservative Fifth Circuit do its dirty work by allowing the seemingly unconstitutional restrictive abortion law in Texas stand, thereby effectively overturning Roe v. Wade.
And yes, SCOTUS has decided that it supports those who question why the Federal government should have jurisdiction over states to protect its citizens against the pandemic. Apparently the majority of SCOTUS thinks the current governors of such states as Florida and Texas are much more qualified than the world-class immunologist and virologist at CDC to make medical decisions. Like SCOTUS, surely everyone knows that the Florida and Texas governors are the smartest people on the planet.
What may intensify the 5th Revolution, however, is the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Aside from a clearly biased judge, the verdict now allows someone to carry an assault weapon to an event, initiate trouble, kill people, and then claim he (or she) was being threatened by the people that he intimidated with the assault weapon. As demonstrated in Kenosha, the killer in that situation can walk away without penalty.
Unfortunately, Republicans and the talking heads on Fox apparently are too stupid to understand the consequences of the Rittenhouse verdict. To demonstrate even more of their stupidity, Senators Cruz of Texas and Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida (under FBI investigation for sex trafficking) offered Rittenhouse an internship in their respective offices. Doubtless Rittenhouse is as qualified for the position as Cruz and Gaetz are for Congress.
An equally large contributor to the 5th Revolution, although the effect will not be apparent until after the November 2022 mid-term election, is the effect of voter suppression, resulting from changes in state law and extensive gerrymandering. Once the Democrats and Independent voters realize how worthless their votes have become, they likely will become incensed. But then it will be too late to change any outcome of the election.
How have Republicans been able to run roughshod over voting rights? Again the US citizenry can thank Chief Justice John Roberts and, to a degree, Mitch McConnell for packing the Supreme Court with lackeys. Roberts led the charge to change the law when he wrote the majority opinion gutting the Voting Rights Act.
Roberts’ method was subtle. Rather than continuing to force proposed changes to voting rights in certain southern states to be approved by the Federal government before taking affect, Roberts allowed the states to make a law as restrictive as they wanted without Federal review. Then, after the law took effect, aggrieved parties would need to sue and prove damages.
While the voting-rights cases were slowly winding tgheir way through the courts, the restrictive laws would remain in effect and any elections would proceed. Of course, if the restrictive laws were ever overturned, the plaintiffs had no method to rectify other laws implemented after the rigged elections.
How will Roberts new “Rules of Order” for elections play out in 2022? Republicans in such states North Carolina can gerrymander to their hearts content. North Carolina’s about evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. With recent changes to the redistricting maps, 10 of the 14 House seats are so gerrymandered as to guarantee a Republican victory. Why wouldn’t anyone think that it’s fair for a state split about evenly between Republicans and Democrats, with Democrats holding a slight edge, to have 70% of the Federal House members guaranteed Republican?
One other event that is a positive for justice but may accelerate the Revenge Revolution is verdict in the Ahmaud Arbery case in Brunswick, GA. Three men were convicted of murdering Mr. Arbery, who was unarmed and posed no threat. The unfortunate aspect of the investigation is nothing was done to investigate the murder until a video was released, likely accidentally, of the three men chasing Mr. Arbery and murdering him. Only after a public outcry was an investigation started.
The defense in the Arbery case used a defense similar to Rittenhouse. It is OK to kill someone else, even if they are unarmed and pose no real threat. Just claim the other person poses a threat. The far right loves this logic and many Republicans seem to support or at least condone it. Few, if any top Republicans commented publicly about the Arbery verdict, which was announced the day before Thanksgiving. Must have been Republicans were more concerned about cooking the Thanksgiving turkey.
When the Revenge Revolution ratchets up remains a question. How does anyone predict the point when a bubbling revolution boils over?
What does seem almost assured, however, is when it boils over, the revolution will include a significant use of firearms and the killings of numerous higher-profile people. I wish the conclusion of the “sense check” were less onerous but I need to be honest about my assessment. Let’s hope I’m wrong.
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