*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
Many Americans have seen the signs, the portent of intimidation against any American unwilling to toe the fascist line and support Republican standard bearer Donald J. Trump. The candidate himself has incited his acolytes to take matters into their own hands and monitor people of color, people of the wrong faith, places people of the ‘wrong’ faith worship, “suspected” immigrants, and to assemble their gangs to carefully watch and supervise Americans while they are in the voting booth In November. The terrifying prospect of Trump’s supporters, armed and angry after being told for months that the upcoming election is already rigged and therefore will have been “stolen” from them; actually taking action is a clear and present danger to the public. As a portent of what could be coming as the election looms closer, the event in Palmyra Virginia is a troubling indication that the phrase “elections are messy” may take on a meaning only Iraqis under Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical rule could comprehend.
On Thursday, an ardent Trump supporter who was “legally armed” took intimidation to the next level and positioned himself in front of a Democratic congressional candidate’s office in Virginia for twelve hours. The armed man just stared inside the office at the women volunteering and changing position only to make sure staff and volunteers saw the gun on his hip. It is noteworthy that the “intimidator” was not doing anything illegal by strapping on a gun and stalking a candidate’s campaign office for twelve hours straight; but legal can be damn terrifying when a Trump supporter with a gun and a pocket Constitution is protecting “persecuted” Trump voters by staking out a campaign office for hours.
Democrat Jane Dittmar’s Palmyra congressional campaign office volunteers said they were rightfully frightened at what the ‘intimidator,’ Daniel Parks said was his way of supporting Donald Trump and protesting against Hillary Clinton. And, he was helping other Trump supporters horrified at being persecuted. Parks said,
“I’m just trying to provide a voice for someone who might be closet supporters of Trump. Other people that are a little worried to speak out because of possible persecution.”
No-one persecutes Trump supporters any more than they do evangelical Christians, they just don’t. Not supporting Donald Trump is not persecuting his minions and criticizing his advancement of America’s rape culture isn’t either; it just isn’t. That persecution mindset has been cultivated by, first evangelicals and more recently by Donald Trump through various conspiracy theories that the Clintons, Republicans, unattractive women, jealous men, Hispanic-named federal judges and an ever-broadening coalition of corporate press and media are conspiring to prevent Trump from sitting in the Oval Office and besmirch his already slimy character.
Parks, a Virginia resident claiming to have served in the military didn’t do much besides show people inside the campaign office that he was armed while intimidating the volunteer staff, all women, to stop Trump supporters from being persecuted. He also told CBS 19 affiliate Newsplex that carrying a gun is legal and “that he had no ill intention by carrying it” while making a bizarre reference to ignorance breeding fear. He said, “We’re not a threat to anybody, the only threat is ignorance, and ignorance breeds fear.” For the group of female campaign volunteers, a maniac with a gun staring at them for twelve straight hours breeds fear, and only an ignorant sot thinks stalking a Democrat’s campaign office for twelve straight hours will boost Trump supporters’ morale and prevent them from being persecuted.
Despite what is certainly negative media exposure, Mr. Parks took the time to comment on the news that Donald Trump was “pulling out of Virginia” and promised that he wasn’t giving up on the state. “He might be pulling out, but we’re not pulling out, and I’m going to stand my ground and speak out for what I believe in.” Parks is planning a “similar” protest later this year in Richmond; likely to stop Trump supporters from being persecuted and intimidate other Democratic campaign volunteers.
One of the women volunteering for Jane Dittmar’s campaign in Palmyra, Su Wolff, said the protestor, and a late-arriving armed cohort, were there to intimidate the staff, not support Donald Trump. Ms. Wolff said,
“He turned sideways to be sure that we would see that he has an open carry gun, which is legal, it’s fine, but it’s intimidating. If he wants to support his candidate that’s fine, but don’t come here and stare into the office all day.”
Unfortunately. Trump’s supporters have been incited to intimidate their perceived enemies by the candidate who himself survives solely on intimidation; Donald Trump certainly is void of substance and if not for his celebrity television exposure, nearly all Americans would regard him as a racist loudmouthed bully. Daniel Parks is following Trump’s lead in trying to intimidate women volunteering for a woman running for Congress. Parks wasn’t protesting against anything; any more than he was “standing his ground and speaking out in what he believes in,” he was there to intimidate women. There was no ground to stand, and standing mute and staring for twelve hours is not “speaking out;” it just isn’t.
This incident does not bode well for the remainder of the campaign or after the election because as Trump continues to falter and more Americans realize he is just a clueless racist and sexual predator, more Trump devotees will take his incitement to act to heart and “protest” the existence of their perceived enemies. Unfortunately, they will be armed, ignorant, angry and dangerous and one ardently hopes federal and state law enforcement and intelligence agencies are aware of the threat and prepared to confront it when it manifests itself.