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General Mattis’s Statement

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis wrote the following statement and sums up what Americans should stand for. He’s deeply critical of Trump. This is the first time he’s spoken out since he left the administration in 2018. After Mike Esper distanced himself and the military today from any plan Trump had to mobilize the troops, my gut tells me that the military was not onboard. I’d be surprised if it was. Oh sure, there are always going to be some ammosexual evangelical legends in their own mind types. But I don’t believe most of them would go along with turning our streets into a battleground.

The paramilitary police forces though? Yeah, saw that coming years ago. Those are the ones we have to worry about.

Here’s the general’s statement. I only wish the predictable response from the White House (he’s disgruntled, he begged me for a job, he’s a loser, he’s a Never Trumper) wasn’t still working. Worth the read. It’s beautiful. I’m starting to wonder why he worked for Trump in the first place.

statement: 

“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words “Equal Justice Under Law” are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.

When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.

We must reject any thinking of our cities as a “battlespace” that our uniformed military is called upon to “dominate.” At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.

James Madison wrote in Federalist 14 that “America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat.” We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law.

Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that “The Nazi slogan for destroying us…was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’” We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis—confident that we are better than our politics.

Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.

We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another. The pandemic has shown us that it is not only our troops who are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the community. Americans in hospitals, grocery stores, post offices, and elsewhere have put their lives on the line in order to serve their fellow citizens and their country. We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. At the same time, we must remember Lincoln’s “better angels,” and listen to them, as we work to unite.

Only by adopting a new path—which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals—will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad.”

****************************

Well, that didn’t take long 🙄:

He’s so predictable. You’d think we could figure a way to take advantage of that.

We only ask

Two days ago, Trump declared Antifa as a domestic terrorism organization. He didn’t mention anything about whether the Boogaloo Boys, 3 percenters or KKK were also domestic terrorist organizations. (I think we can all agree that they are and have track records)

So what is Antifa? The Vox podcast Today Explained gavd the history and “organizational” structure (hint: there is none) in a recent episode. Basically, anyone who is Against Fascism could be Antifa. In other words, if you are willing to fight fascism, you could potentially be Antifa. {{insert the People’s Front of Judea telling Brian “alright, you’re in” when he says he really hates the Romans- A Lot!”}}

By the way, the explicit absence of an organizational structure makes it difficult if not impossible to declare Antifa a domestic terrorist organization. It’s very difficult to prosecute a conscience. Being anti Antifa is like saying you approve of concentration camps, singling out certain ethnic or racial groups for harsh governmental decrees and other loathesome things.

But seriously, if anyone in your family fought the Axis powers in WWII, they could be considered anti-fascist. Our country took the anti-fascist side. Antifa has its roots in Nazi Germany in the 1930’s when some German citizens decided to fight back. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Sophie Scholl might loosely be considered anti-fascist.

I’m not minimizing the role that various left wing ideologies have had in Antifa. I just want to point out that you don’t have to be an anarchist, socialist or communist to be anti-fascist. Being against white nationalism should be baked into the American character.

Anti fascism is a value set. Antifa is not necessarily anarchist but some anarchists may consider themselves Antifa. The primary reason for being for Antifa is to be anti-fascist. Whether it has its roots in another political ideology or not, it’s primarily directed against white nationalist movements.

Nazism and white supremacism is bad. Antifa is agin’ it.

If Antifa had a slogan, it might be: Stay in school, don’t do fascism. Or “Nip fascism in the junk before it starts growing. Take it seriously”

So, if Donald Trump is NOT Antifa:

****************

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a source of timely quotes.

Here’s a good one:

“We must learn to regard people less in light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.”

This one seems very appropriate:

“If I sit next to a madman as he drives a car into a group of innocent bystanders, I can’t, as a Christian, simply wait for the catastrophe, then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. I must try to wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver.”