Did Joe Biden declare war on half of America?
It was April 19, 1775, and the troops were locked and loaded at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts when the first round of the Revolutionary War was fired.
Fast-forward to September 1, 1939. Hitler's troops crossed the Polish border and headed for Warsaw, effectively starting World War II. Two days later, Britain and France declared war on Germany. Two years and two months later, the United States Navy was attacked by the Imperial Japanese navy at Pearl Harbor.
History is replete with its "days of infamy" and military incursions into other sovereign nations by power-hungry dictators, but the precursors or warnings of those attacks have not been hard to read...for those who were paying attention. In the case of the battle of Lexington and Concord, people sensed that something was about to happen back in June of the previous year, when King George III of Britain ramped up the military presence there and shut down the city of Boston's harbor until colonists paid for tea dumped overboard in Boston Harbor. Soon after, the British Parliament declared that Massachusetts was in open rebellion. Everyone knew that the fuse had been lit.
On July 18, 1925, one and a half years after Hitler was released from prison, his autobiography, Mein Kampf, was published. In it he outlined his philosophy and intentions to right the wrongs of the Treaty of Versailles. Fifteen years later, in 1940, America imposed severe economic sanctions on Japan, such as banning the export of iron ore, scrap iron, and steel, in the hopes that such a deprivation might stop Japan's imperialistic advance into China and Indochina. In July of 1941, the U.S. ended all trade with Japan and froze all of Japan's assets in the U.S. It was only a matter of a few months before Imperial Japan would retaliate.
Now, with a single speech, Joe Biden telegraphed the start of a domestic war on his political opponents — the 74 million "MAGA Republicans" who voted against him in 2020.
History accurately points out that internal domestic conflicts or civil wars are most often preceded by words, not bullets. Dictators rattle sabers but leave them sheathed until the time is right to strike. In the case of the Biden administration and its Democrat party enablers and allies (like the media, academia, and many in corporate America), the sabers have been rattling for many months, and the sound has found its way into the marrow of some of the country's most powerful institutions like the Department of Justice, the IRS, the Judiciary, the January 6 insurrection hearings and Congress itself.
What happened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania last night was the equivalent of the "shot heard round the world" at Lexington and Concord nearly 250 years earlier. The election of 2020, the results of which are still disputed in some circles, was like the Boston Tea Party, a "sucker punch" — this time to half the country that was enjoying prosperity under the Trump years. The economy was humming along; illegal immigration had been reduced; energy was abundant; foreign relations were characterized by a new "realpolitik," and America was tackling the ravages of the coronavirus pandemic in warp speed. Like the actions of American revolutionaries dressed as Indians who chucked crates of English tea into Boston Harbor, the election shocked all who were breathing a sigh of relief that America was finally on the right track.
After mentioning those "evil MAGAns" eleven times in the first twelve minutes of his speech in the first capital of the Republic, Joe left no room for doubt. This was a declaration of war and a veiled suggestion to take up arms against the "insurgents," the undemocratic rabble, the extremist opposition.
His first mention of "MAGAns" was this: "Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic." A minute or two later, in six short sentences in two short paragraphs, he described the enemy and threw down the gauntlet:
MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people. They refuse to accept the results of a free election, and they're working right now as I speak in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself. MAGA forces are determined to take this country backwards, backwards to an America where there is no right to choose, no right to privacy, no right to contraception, no right to marry who you love. They promote authoritarian leaders, and they fanned the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country.
All the president left out was an entreaty to his followers to seek out the infidels, those faux freedom-lovers, and strike a blow for real democracy — the democracy of one voice (their voice) and rid America of phony patriots who refused to unify under his administration's ideology. Joe was right about one important thing, however, and that was his statement about America's place at a historical crossroads: "I believe America is at an inflection point, one of those moments that determine the shape of everything that's to come after."
The question is, what will come after? Will it be a long, protracted conflict or a short-lived but painful confrontation, where each side suffers the loss of its peacemakers? Every student of world history and of American politics should be made to read Mr. Biden's speech and watch it at least twice and then be required to read it out loud. If, after doing that, they still do not see the danger woven into his inflammatory words, then there is no hope for the survival of our Republic.
Stephan Helgesen is a retired career U.S. diplomat who lived and worked in 30 countries for 25 years during the Reagan, GHW Bush, Clinton, and G.W. Bush administrations. He is the author of twelve books, six of which are on American politics and has written over 1,200 articles on politics, economics, and social trends. He operates a political news story aggregator website, www.projectpushback.com. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.