Boomer Opinion: If you’re not still scared, you’re not paying attention

Even with the race finally called, there have been worrisome signs that everyone won’t coalesce and accept it. That’s what BoomerCafé’s co-founder and executive editor Greg Dobbs writes about in this Boomer Opinion piece.

If you’re not still scared, you’re not paying attention.

Because even now when Joe Biden can confidently claim not just a popular vote edge of some four million Americans but a verifiable victory in the Electoral College, there will likely be trouble. Not from most of the 70 million Americans who voted for Trump and who respect our democracy. They might not like the final result but they are Americans, they are patriots, they will peacefully abide by the outcome.

Trump press conference, November 5, 2020.
Credit: Evan Vucci, AP

But if the history of just the last few weeks is any guide, let alone the whole of Trump’s presidency, there will be trouble from those whose unflagging obedience and blind belief in the president might send them to the streets.

Some, I fear, with their guns. With the covert but clear encouragement of the president.

Hyperbole? Hardly.

Look back to just the day before yesterday, when Trump’s former campaign manager and White House senior counselor Steve Bannon spoke on a podcast about Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray, both of whom have spoken out against Trump: “I’d put the heads on pikes. I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning,” to which his podcast co-host added, “You know what, Steve, yesterday there was the anniversary of the hanging of two Tories in Philadelphia… This is what we used to do to traitors.”

Or look back, also two days ago, when the president’s rabid son Donald Trump Jr. called on his father “to go to total war over this election.”

Hyperbole? Depends on who’s looking.

Look back just a month to the documented plot to kidnap, try, and execute the Democratic governor of Michigan. The president’s repugnant response? “Maybe it was a problem, maybe it wasn’t.”

Countless heavily armed and self-appointed militias support Trump.

Look back to Trump’s four years in the White House. Did this president ever try to pacify the conspiracy spreaders, the anti-semites, the racists? No. Remember what he said to Savannah Guthrie during his NBC Town Hall when she held his feet to the fire for tweeting nonsense about Joe Biden having a Seal Team killed? “That was a retweet. I’ll put it out there, people can decide for themselves, I don’t take a position.” He enables the fanatics, he empowers them, in their misshapen minds he even ennobles them.

Look back to Trump’s campaign against Biden. Did he honestly depict the differences between them? No, because he didn’t just exaggerate Biden’s place on the political spectrum, he purposely perverted it. Biden, a socialist? Hogwash. I’ve covered news in many socialist countries and what’s obvious is, neither Trump nor his followers have a clue what socialism means. What’s more, as Trump said so often during the campaign as if it disqualifies him, Joe Biden has been in the public eye for almost 50 years. If the man were a socialist, by now we’d know it.

Trump speaking at a “mask-free” political rally in Tulsa. He complained about the size of the turnout.

But because Trump lies as easily as bees sting, tens of millions of Americans think Joe Biden is a socialist and, from Trump’s own lying lips, Kamela Harris is a communist. Will that drive some of Trump’s most fervent followers to go to any lengths to keep this president in office? The alarming answer might lie in talk on Trump’s side— including Bannon in that threatening podcast— of civil war, which would be a whole lot worse than looters smashing windows and grabbing a pair of Nikes.

Donald Trump these last few days has done all he could to undermine our faith in this democracy, which means, he undermines democracy itself. He’s been calling the vote counts (only the ones that went against him, of course) a conspiracy, a fraud. But maybe it’s not hard to understand: the narcissist faces not just humiliation but conceivably incarceration when he’s kicked out of office. So this selfish unscrupulous man unleashes the worst instincts of his acolytes. The scary thing is, even if he goes away— in chains if need be— they don’t.

Joe Biden speaking at Wilmington, Delaware.

Is Joe Biden the perfect person to lead this nation? Maybe not. But is he the right one right now? Absolutely. Because with Biden in the Oval Office, once again we’ll have a president who sends love letters to allies, not adversaries. Once again we’ll have a president who treats people decently, not maliciously. Once again, we’ll have a president with a history of compromise, not con jobs. Once again we’ll have a president who leads by example and wears a mask, not ridicule those who do.

I’ve said this many times but it’s more important now than ever: whether on the left or on the right, all of us— almost all anyway— want the best for our nation. The trouble is, we have different ways of getting there and sometimes, different definitions of what’s best.

If Joe Biden is the winner of the election, that’s what he’s up against. That’s what we’re all up against. As we have in the past, we can figure it out. Unless those who can’t accept a democratic outcome don’t let us.

12 Comments

  1. Thanks once again for a terrific and clear-eyed overview of what’s next.
    It makes me see a key issue, and that’s DT’s pull on his most extreme acolytes is permission granted for them to do whatever they want, spreading violence and malice, with his blessings.
    However, I hope the saner majority can focus on Biden as the president for our times, with the skills, humanity, and ability to delegate and uphold democracy, as an override to the Trump blot on history.
    Paying attention is a necessay step for a peaceful, however rocky, transition. Thank you, Boomer.

  2. I agree with Gregg: there are rabid trump militias out there who could take this opportunity to do something symbolic (and stupid) — with their AR-15s and body armor.

    This whole period of our history scares me.

    Alternate realities.

    The death of facts.

    The death of compromise.

    The death of civility.

    The death of critical thinking.

    I just watched John McCain’s concession speech when President Obama won the election in 2008. You don’t have to agree with his politics to recognize a high road approach with the best interests of the country being put first and foremost, not his ego. You won’t get that from the current incumbent. He will whine, throw tantrums and claim that losing the election, which is a hoax just like the COVID pandemic and continue to claim without evidence that the election was stolen from him.

    And before he is dragged, screaming and kicking, out of the people’s house, he is likely to trash the place and leave the water running and ignore the Biden’s as they begin their residency there.

  3. I am trying to find hope that the Founding Fathers’ “Grand Experiment” will survive Trump and his minions. And I too am scared.

  4. Thanks Greg for saying so eloquently the things many of us are thinking. Joe Biden can bring respect back to America and to our democracy. My wife and I are looking at a home security system for the first time. Worried about burglars?….no, worried about the very people you talked about. It might take generations to close the divide between our political ideologies, but we need to start the process now.

  5. Concerned – yes. Scared – no. The nightmare is over. The worst hangover ever is just beginning. We must not give up hope. We need to remind ourselves that we are Americans first and the letter after the name does not always reflect the true character of the individual. Yes it can be scarey to think that this truly is Mr. Trump’s GOP right now, but there will be more John McCains to rise above the mess. Yes there are people out there who are armed and dangerous, granted the threat is much greater today than ever before, but this has been a problem all of our lives. “We the people” have overcome enormous challenges and conquests in the past. We will again. Now we ALL must work to make America grateful again. Practice compassion.

  6. I too am concerned that you are right Greg; it has become clear to anyone who has paid attention over the past four years that this is a dangerous person who lives in our White House. I’ll never acknowledge him as a president or even a past president, he deserves no recognition for anything done well. As a dangerous person, he attracts those who seek a messiah for their own perverse justice and will continue to follow his message and even act it out in violence. My faith in the majority of our people has been renewed by having Joe Biden elected as our president, but there is a small (I hope) minority that will continue to spew the hate and venom that trump has not only allowed but applauded. How far and how deep it will go is anyone’s guess, but I do believe that we are in for some hard times in the aftermath of this presidency. So, I hope we’re both wrong Greg, but neither of us are naive’ to the possible outcomes of a dangerous situation. Thank you for your excellent assessment of what we may need to prepare to confront in the near, hopefully not the distant future.

  7. Now, I can breath but totally scared that the losing side might not accept the results and the chief in the white house is fanning the flames. I just hope we will come to realized that election is over,will start anew to right what went wrong ,to unite with one common goal that our democracy is alive but very very fragile. We , the people have the responsibility to protect it, abide to our constitution and be Americans.

  8. Oh, give me a break. The lawsuits and investigations will complete and the loser will concede. Quit making it sound like we’ll have a civil war over an election. You’re just making it worse with your hand-wringing.

  9. What will it take for Trump to see the writing on the wall and decide to exit peacefully, if for no other reason than simply to save face? Do we need to actually help him save face? And if so, how?

    1. When the courts and the electoral college render the final decision, the loser will concede and exit. Quit making it sound like the end of democracy, it’s not.

        1. If you have that little faith in our democracy, that one person could end it (Donald or Joe or Kamala), you are sadly mistaken. Damage it, maybe; end it, no. Our form of government (a republic, not a pure democracy) has survived many less-than-desirable presidents and will continue to. As for the rioters, the fringe will not overrun the center. They will push too far, and the pendulum will swing back. Law and order will prevail.

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