Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has gained notoriety for the distasteful supporters he attracts – white supremacists, neo-Nazis, Confederate sympathizers, open fascists, “sovereign citizen” militants. A veritable who’s who of modern American traitors, potential domestic terrorists and radicals, it’s quickly becoming clear that it’s not just his supporters who espouse this kind of hateful and divisive extremism.
One of Trump’s pledged delegates from Tennessee, who will be attending the Republican National Convention, believes that the government is “way off away from the Constitution right now” and that our current leaders should be slaughtered for violating their oaths: “The polite word is ‘eliminated…The harsh word is ‘killed” said delegate David Riden to Mother Jones.
Riden is an open member of the “sovereign citizen” movement, – a group of delusional white men who believe that the federal government is out to “get them,” to steal their guns, take away their rights and their land. Made famous by the “Bundy boys” who seized a federal building and attempted to force a standoff in Oregon earlier this year, the movement is characterized by a fetishistic obsession with the Constitution, their understanding of which is exceptionally poor, which doesn’t stop them from being utterly convinced that President Obama is violating the Constitution somehow.
Unsurprisingly, this dangerous man – who is a former nuclear engineer – believes that the American people should be able to own tanks so that they may overthrow the government, if need be:
“There’s only one reason why the Founding Fathers put the Second Amendment…If the federal government were to follow the path of all other governments, at some point it will turn to tyranny against the people. And at that point, when it stops to uphold and abide by the Constitution—and we’re talking about the Supreme Court, Congress, and the executive branch, all three are way off away from the Constitution right now—the people have the right to assemble, bear arms, go to Washington, DC, or wherever necessary, and go into military battle against the government and replace those in government with individuals that will uphold the Constitution.
The Constitution should remain, but the people that are abusing it should be, the polite word is, eliminated. The harsh word is killed. And they’re killed by American citizens with weapons. And if people have tanks, assault weapons, if they have bombs—they need to have the weaponry necessary to be able to overthrow the federal government.”
These groups multiplied six-fold after the election of President Barack Obama and wealthy conservatives – especially the Koch Brothers – began extending the tentacles of their political network to cultivate treason against the President and foster paranoia and delusion.
These are the kind of men that the Republican primary voters have chosen to represent them at the national convention – men who are openly advocating rebellion against the government and openly calling for bloodshed. It is as fascist and undemocratic as you can possibly get – but these are the kinds of people who are flocking to support Trump.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.