*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
There was a time prior to January 21, 2009 that the only instance of someone calling for insurrection against the United States government came from anti-government extremists and nut-cases. As a reminder, that January date was when an African American man was sworn in office as the President or what no few conservative extremists claimed was the day a tyrant destroyed America.
One of the favorite calls of racists and conservative extremists beginning in 2009 was Thomas Jefferson’s statement about “watering the tree of liberty” with blood; a statement teabaggers, racists, and theocrats have no rudimentary concept of or the context it was uttered. A nice explanation of what Jefferson was referring to is here; suffice it to say he wasn’t calling for regular rebellions against the newly-formed United States government. He was talking about the necessity for the young government to crush insurrections like the ones Republicans have been calling for. As an aside, prior to 2009 the only reference to Jefferson’s quote came from Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, so dismissing these calls to insurrection are foolish indeed.
The latest Republican, and it is always a Republican, to suggest armed insurrection against the United States government is Kentucky governor and devout Southern Baptist Matt Bevin; the importance of Bevin’s religion is considered later. This time though, the Republican Bevin’s “insurrection talk” has elicited the second call for his impeachment as governor in six months; the first came within a month of him being sworn in office as Kentucky governor.
The newest call for Bevin’s impeachment is courtesy of a Congressional District candidate, Reverend Nancy Jo Kemper, who held a press conference late Tuesday to assail Bevin. In her press release, Ms. Kemper said that the Governor’s “comments are unconstitutional and an impeachable violation of his sworn oath to uphold the laws of the Commonwealth.” Whether that is the case or not, is unclear because in America these days even talk of insurrection against the government is protected free speech; particularly for Republicans. A spokesman for the Kentucky GOP, Tres Watson, dismissed Reverend Kemper’s statements and said, “This is nothing more than a desperate act by a desperate candidate who trails badly in the polls.”
It may be difficult to impeach, or even investigate Bevin though, because the original call for his removal, replete with a petition, came primarily due to his handiwork abolishing any state agency or legislative committee’s power to investigate the executive branch for ethics violations. This all occurred within Bevin’s first month in office. It was, by any measure, a very inauspicious beginning for any politician’s first month in office.
The call for Bevin’s impeachment is the result of his statements in a speech to religious fanatics that vote (Values Voter Summit) when he warned that if Hillary Clinton wins the White House in November, it is likely blood will have to be shed. It is becoming a standard campaign tool for Republicans since the American people first elected an African American man as their leader, and those calls began the day after the 2008 general election.
Bevin told the faithful at the Values Voter Summit that:
“I want us to be able to fight ideologically, mentally, spiritually, economically, so that we don’t have to do it physically. But that may, in fact, be the case….
Somebody asked me yesterday, ‘Do you think it’s possible, if Hillary Clinton were to win the election, do you think it’s possible that we’ll be able to survive, that we’d ever be able to recover as a nation?’ And while there are people who have stood on this stage and said we would not, I would beg to differ. I do think it would be possible, but at what price? At what price? The roots of the tree of liberty are watered by what? The blood of who? The tyrants, to be sure, but who else? The patriots.
Whose blood will be shed? It may be that of those in this room. It might be that of our children and grandchildren. I have nine children. It breaks my heart to think that it might be their blood is needed to redeem something, to reclaim something that we, through our apathy and our indifference, have given away. Don’t let it happen.”
Now, it’s unclear what the uber-religious Bevin thought the reaction would be to suggesting armed insurrection against the United States government if an election didn’t provide the results he wanted, but the pushback against his remarks elicited a truly Trump-worthy lie. Bevin claimed that he wasn’t even talking about a Hillary Clinton election victory, or that the faithful in attendance or their mini-theocrats’ dying in a rebellion to “water the tree of liberty;” he lied and said he was really talking about the military.
If Bevin spent even a minuscule fraction of time refreshing his memory about his bible’s 9th commandment prohibiting lying on pain of death as he’s attempted to reign as a tyrant, he might have come up with some kind of plausible explanation for his remarks. Instead he lied and said what he really meant was:
“Today we have thousands of men and women in uniform fighting for us overseas and they need our full backing. We cannot be complacent about the determination of radical Islamic extremists to destroy our freedoms.”
Only in 2016 and only an alleged devout Southern Baptist Republican would think anyone in their right mind would believe suggesting an armed insurrection if Hillary Clinton won an election victory was the same as men and women in uniform overseas needing backing; even the Value Voters understood what he really meant and what he really said. Bevin has been listening to Donald Trump too long and needs to understand that even many of the GOP faithful and Trump’s supporters recognize a blatant lie when they hear one.
If Bevin was half-the-teabagger he pretends to be, he would have either stuck to his guns, or acted like a real Christian and apologized to the faithful at the Values Voter Summit for even suggesting they might have to violate Romans 13:1-7 if their chosen candidate fails to win an election. For the scripturally challenged, the passage in Romans is the Christian god’s immutable word to his followers to always be in subjection to the government authorities; not consider rising up to shed blood.
It is difficult to come to grips with one of the two major political parties spending even a nanosecond of time warning or fear-mongering about rising up in insurrection against the government over the results of an election. Bevin is not the first Republican to suggest shedding blood and unfortunately he is unlikely to be the last.
Many Americans claim the nation is doing just fine and that the racism, bigotry, religious fanaticism, and lust for violence aren’t really America. That statement is only half true; racism, violence, bigotry and religious fanaticism is conservative America, and if the entire nation was really doing fine abominations like Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin would never have been elected, much less incite a second call for impeachment for a second reason within six months.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.