Portland is Just Waco Spelled Backwards
Twenty-seven years ago, agents of state and federal law enforcement, backed by elements of the US and British military, cornered and laid siege to David Koresh and his Branch Davidian followers in their Mount Carmel compound at Waco, Texas. In 7 weeks: 86 were killed, 16 wounded.
Twenty seven years later, American citizens have members of state and federal law enforcement cornered in a federal building in downtown Portland. Nightly, armed agents face off against swarms of demonstrators determined to drive them from a facility specifically designated for US government business.
In considering the parallels, it is worth noting that Waco was the second siege of its kind. American federal police had proven their gross ineptitude and need for oversight the year before when US Marshals, FBI and ATF cornered a fundamentalist Christian named Randy Weaver and his family at their compound in Boundary County near Ruby Creek, Idaho. The ensuing siege resulted in the death of of Randy's wife Vikki and their son in one of the worst miscarriages of justice in American history.
Despite the lessons of Ruby Ridge, many of the same mistakes were repeated at Waco. In history, what matters are numbers. And what stacked up in the early Nineties were the growing numbers of people willing to die facing off against the US government. Authorities were mistaken in gauging the level of resistance. We would do well not to be mistaken as we analyze the events in hindsight.
Waco, Ruby Ridge and Portland all reveal a legacy of distrust in American institutions that grew steadily during the late twentieth century. Evidence of this distrust manifested in both the counter-culture left and the extremist, Identitarian right. 'Fearing the government' was a sufficiently supple idea to go mainstream, transitioning from the Western student protest movement of the Sixties into the activist Neoliberalism of the 1990s and from there onto the disestablishment continuum we see informing the mainstream Western liberalism of today. Once, leftist academics invited us to question authority. Now we are exhorted to undermine it at every turn as a matter of principle. In less than thirty years we have gone from a government attempting to impose order on its citizens to citizens arbitrarily attempting to dictate orders to elected government. All of the old power hierarchies - government/citizen, elder/younger, parent/child - have been overturned. We live in an age of Petronian chaos.
The average lifespan of a republic is 200 - 300 years. At the end of that time, there is either a descent into authoritarianism (e.g., Rome, France, Athens) or artificial extension of the republic's life cycle via reinvention, conquest or expansion. America is now 244 years old - right in the historical sweet-spot for transition/redefinition/expansion. And the left, aware of this, now pushes its agenda aggressively, believing itself on the brink of victory. Its followers are mistaken.
... a 'Second Republic' ... a New American Reich.
In contrast to the "live-and-let-live" philosophies of Weaver and Koresh, radical elements of the left have unleashed ever more insurrectionist and violent waves of activism against government and citizens alike. From the exhortations of Maxine Waters to harass government officials in public to Millennial activists blocking traffic and trashing businesses, it has embraced tactics at odds with the comparatively conservative views of mainstream middle-class and working citizens. With its rhetoric, the left has moved against tradition. With its iconoclasm and destruction, it has moved against religion and civic order. Open talk of disbanding police and 'abolishing' the American system is increasingly common among the more reactionary, but far beyond anything reasonable citizens are prepared to accept.
This sentiment happens to coincide with one held by America's most important constituency - the wealthy. That the two classes, symbiotically joined by the economy, might have overlapping political interests is not without precedent. A coalition of upper- and working-class voters united to defy expectations and elect the post-Brexit Johnson government. A similarly unexpected "silent majority" surprised everyone by re-electing Richard Nixon in 1972. The law of averages would suggest the pendulum may be about to swing against the activist left in America - a swing we can expect to see mirror'd in the results of the coming election.
I predict a wholesale rejection of the left's program looming on the electoral horizon - a hard-right shift in American political life following a Trump landslide in 2020. This will set America on course to follow Rome's authoritarian lead. We can expect to see a surge of hyper-nationalism, a return to prayer and Pledge of Allegiance rituals, possibly even a 'Second Republic' or similar re-branding. There will very likely be purges of left/Antifa/socialist types from academia, journalism/publishing, entertainment, the tech sector (driven by the same technology that constituency now uses to excoriate the right). Whatever its outward manifestation, the philosophical pivot will be decisive and lasting.
Because of the ill-will and distrust sown by its violent excesses, the American left has effectively set the stage for the establishment of a new American Reich. If it survives at all, it will be as an exile in the political wilderness for the next century.
Jamie Mason is the author of ECHO, KEZZIE OF BABYLON and THE BOOK OF ASHES. He lives on Vancouver Island. Learn more at jamiescribbles.com