By Camerin "Camo" Nesbit
Supporters cheer as President Donald Trump speaks at a rally at Xtreme Manufacturing, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
With less than 50 days to go until the presidential election, it’s time to step up our efforts to correct this nation’s disastrous trajectory. Many of you may be asking yourselves, “What can I do other than vote?” The answer: Get vocal with those closest to you who are under the Trumpian spell.
I don’t know how many times I have to say this before it sinks in, but here it is again: This is the most frightening moment in American history in my lifetime.
As a Gen-Xer born six weeks before Nixon resigned from the presidency, I can say with full confidence that this is America’s most calamitous period in the last 46 years.
Lest you think I’m indulging in unsubstantiated hyperbole, let me be more explicit. I was a reporter in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001. I watched the smoke billow over the Pentagon from my home. My office was two blocks from the White House, which many considered another likely target on that fraught and fateful day.
I spent the next 19 years covering the aftermath of 9/11 in one form or another, be it on the frontlines of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or in the corridors of power in our nation’s capital and beyond.
I know danger firsthand on distant battlefields, and yes, I recognize that I bring this up a lot. But I do so to illustrate the gravity of my assertion. I’m more concerned now about my own future as it relates to the November election than I was in the moments after I was shot in the head in Afghanistan.
We are in serious jeopardy of losing our already-tattered democracy, folks — very, very serious jeopardy.
Two of Trump’s most trusted advisors — one in the administration, the other in the shadows of the rabid, conspiracy-theory right (is there a traditional conservative willing to speak out other than sheepishly defiant Mitt Romney?) — have been barking about “deep state” operatives in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seeking to undermine the president. They’ve also been calling for martial law were Trump to lose.
Earlier this week, Michael Caputo, the assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, warned without a shred of evidence against a “resistance unit” within the CDC purposefully juking the coronavirus stats to harm Trump’s re-election chances.
Many of you may shake your heads at such preposterous headlines, having been inundated with them for more than three years that by now feel more like three consecutive Ice Ages.
Lest you become numb to such harmful conspiratorial nonsense, hold on: It gets worse.
Trump supporter, longtime confidant and self-proclaimed “dirty trickster” Roger Stone recently told fellow fringe-dweller, Sandy Hook-massacre-denier Alex Jones, that the president should impose martial law and arrest his perceived enemies if he loses. Stone also advocated for the arrest of journalists working for The Daily Beast, a regular critic of the president.
From The Guardian newspaper:
Citing widely debunked claims of fraud around early voting, absentee balloting, and voting by mail, Stone told Jones Trump should consider invoking the Insurrection Act and arresting the Clintons, former Senate majority leader Harry Reid, Zuckerberg, Tim Cook of Apple, and “anybody else who can be proven to be involved in illegal activity.”
Let’s not mince words: All of this anti-democratic, fascistic saber-rattling is batshit crazy and poses a legitimate threat to our freedom. If Trump wins another four-year term — all too likely with the help of outside interference from Russia, a crippled U.S. Postal Service, and widespread efforts at voter suppression — our country as we know it, and what’s left of our democracy, will not survive another four years of this.
Many of us have become inured to this kind of lunatic, anti-American gibberish. But the fact is, this lunatic, anti-American gibberish is now holy writ in the Trumpian bible that many of our fellow Postindustrial Americans consider gospel.
Which brings me to my most crucial point: We have to get active, people — especially those of us in Postindustrial America. The Postindustrial states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin swung for Trump in 2016 by the slimmest of margins, handing Trump the presidency.
We can’t let that happen again. If we are to survive with our nation and our democracy intact, Biden must win — and win big, so there is no doubt who is the legitimate leader of the free world come noon on Jan. 20, 20201.
This is where you, Postindustrial Americans, come in.
We all know Trump supporters. Many of us have them in our own families, myself included. I have immediate family members who voted for Trump in 2016, and several more in my extended family.
We’ve got to find a way to appeal to their remaining sense of humanity and decency. If they are lifelong Republicans, remind them that this president has veered so far off course from Reagan-era Republicanism (which merely employed dog-whistle racism to rally supporters) that the party of Lincoln and Eisenhower is all but dead.
What has replaced it is an amalgam of racist hysteria, international isolationism, and lies about the coronavirus that cost untold numbers of Americans their lives over the last six months.
So, do whatever it takes to change their minds. Beg, plead, bargain, weep, wail, gnash your teeth, promise to cut their lawn for a year, and regularly attend Sunday dinners with them until the end of time to get them to see the light of rationality and help us save Postindustrial America and the United States as a whole from the lesser angels of our nature.
And for those who think I’m merely armchair preaching, rather than doing my own part: This column is going to cause me untold grief with my family — like a piano-dropped-on-my-head amount of woe. But hopefully, it will open the eyes of those among them, and untold numbers of others, who are still enraptured by Trump’s hatefulness, Svengali-like rhetoric, and bullhorn racism.
It’s all hands on deck. There’s no time to spare.
Now get to it!
Carmen Gentile is founder and editor-at-large for Postindustrial. He has worked for The New York Times and CBS News, among others. His book, “Blindsided by the Taliban,” documents his life as a war reporter and the aftermath of his brush with death after being shot with a rocket-propelled grenade while embedded with U.S. Army forces in Afghanistan.
By Kimberly Palmiero
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Supporters cheer as President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019,Â in Hershey, Pa. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)