Earlier this week, we ran a story in the newsletter on the extremists that have taken over the Republican Party and injected hatred, vigilantism, and terror into state and local politics. A few of the right-wing lawmakers we highlighted are state legislators in Michigan, one of the hotbeds of anti-government activity. Today, news broke that those Republicans helped inspire a plot to kidnap Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and violently overthrow the state government.
State and federal authorities charged 13 angry white men with a litany of crimes on Thursday. Some headlines call the bearded toxic males who were arrested a “militia,” but that’s far too generous. These people are terrorists.
The affidavit is not a pleasant read, but it’s illuminating to see just how these would-be murderers think, communicate, and function. Here’s an excerpt — CHS-2 is an informant and FOX is one of the dopes they tricked.
On June 14, 2020, CHS-2 participated in a consensually recorded telephone call with FOX, who described the meeting in Dublin, Ohio. FOX said he needed “200 men” to storm the Capitol building in Lansing, Michigan, and take hostages, including the Governor. FOX explained they would try the Governor of Michigan for “treason,” and he said they would execute the plan before the November 2020 elections.
A few days later, they met at a second amendment rally in Lansing, the state capitol, where they marched with guns and tried to recruit more people to their cause. These rallies happened all summer, with far-right maniacs stomping around and threatening to kill Democrats so that they can defend their “constitutional” rights, which mostly include the right to carry a gun and not wear a mask.
Look at these miserable dorks:
These aren’t some independent group of fringe actors who are disconnected from the rest of the political mainstream. No, these right-wing lunatics have been egged on by Republicans all year. Republican lawmakers filed lawsuits to strip Whitmer of her power while these armed wannabe terrorists looked on in the capitol, refused to criticize their most violent threats, gave their anger plenty of fuel on social media, and even spoken at their rallies and marched alongside these disgruntled, bitter white men.
Their rhetoric speaks for itself:
Mike Shirkey in an interview with @MIRSnews, 4/29/20: the governor "has made it clear for a number of weeks now that she's very comfortable being a dictator."
— Joshua Pugh (@JPughMI) October 8, 2020
Mike Shirkey, by the way, is the Michigan Senate Majority Leader.
State Rep. Beau LaFave, who I highlighted last night, actually walked through the capitol building carrying a semi-automatic rifle on the day of Whitmer’s State of the State speech. The Michigan GOP sued her over and over again and accused her of deliberately murdering people. The message was loud and clear.
So these angry disgruntled terrorists followed orders. According to the affidavit, they scoped out Whitmer’s vacation home in Western Michigan. They planned to either storm the capitol or take Whitmer on her own, when she had less protection. Here’s what one of them said in late July:
“In all honesty right now . . . I just wanna make the world glow, dude. I’m not even fuckin’ kidding. I just wanna make it all glow dude. I don’t fuckin’ care anymore, I’m just so sick of it. That’s what it’s gonna take for us to take it back, we’re just gonna have to everything’s gonna have to be annihilated man.”
Disturbing, right? You’d think that Republicans in the state would want to separate themselves from these nightmare terrorists, but instead, they actually rallied the same sort of psychos in front of the capitol building today.
Senate Leader Mike Shirkey now speaking. Says those accused of plotting against gov shouldn't be connected to today's protest "this is no time to be weak in our commitment to freedom. We need to be strong…and not be afraid of those who are taking our freedoms away from us" pic.twitter.com/lVGXwKMnmc
— Lauren Gibbons (@LaurenMGibbons) October 8, 2020
So what do we do about all this?
Well, having the FBI catch these people is obviously a good start. But long-term, it’s not just about the individual actors. Instead, we have to take power away from the Republicans who legitimize them and egg them on. And thankfully, Democrats in Michigan are looking like they have a good chance to retake at least one chamber of the legislature.
Here at Progressives Everywhere, I’ve reviewed some of the best Democrats running and most likely flip opportunities. We’ve been raising money for them for months now and have already brought in $15,000 for them. But with just over three weeks until the election, we need to go harder. If we can flip both chambers, Democrats can pass stricter gun laws, finally clean up Flint, restore schools after a decade of Betsy DeVos sabotage, and take care of the state during the next pandemic.
I seriously believe that when those things happen, these kinds of radical terrorists won’t have the same power and sway over people. End the starving of working people, take away the appeal of angry fringe politics.
If we don’t do it now, the United States as we know it may just fall under their sway for good. It’s terrifying to think about because it could really soon be a reality.
Here’s the link to the latest version of our Michigan fundraising page — I’ve included Beau LaFave’s challenger (Renee Richer) in this list because even if she’s an underdog, I think she’s got a legit chance of winning. You can read about some of the other candidates here.