Let’s check the events unfolding in the eternal anti-democratic movement of our democratic republic.
Here is Michael Flynn, a central figure in this movement, speaking at a rally in Texas. This is the retired U.S. Army three-star lieutenant general who was President Trump’s national security adviser:
“If we want to have a nation under God, which we have to do, we have to have a religion. One nation under God and one religion under God, right? »
Do you forgive? Hello?
No, general. Bad. Please read the First Amendment to the US Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of any religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Full stop.
The founders were so concerned with safeguarding this particular freedom that they included it at the top of the amendments to the Constitution.
Flynn’s jaw-dropping nonsense about government-enforced religion is irredeemably illegal, as even schoolchildren know. But no matter how lame and fantastic the brain is, the grievance sells. And it turns out to be very profitable for Flynn and his friends.
Flynn’s ongoing Christian crusade, the ReAwaken America Tour, is yet another crummy episode in a long history of xenophobic American peddling. We are never short of selfish political charlatans, and they never lag behind when it comes to mustering willing adherents. To our eternal peril, both thrive in the richly receptive soil of our country.
“We’ve got to bring this country back one city at a time, one county at a time, one state at a time, if that’s what it takes,” Flynn promised an audience in Salt Lake City.
Serving to promote Christian nationalism, Flynn, a Catholic, has given at least 60 speeches in 24 states since 2021 to people willing to pay up to $500 to hear him, according to an Associated Press investigation and from PBS Frontline, which aired a report, “Michael Flynn’s Holy War” on PBS on October 18.
Flynn, who was said to be a “loose cannon” while in the military, had to resign as Trump’s top national security adviser after just 22 days. Eventually, he was pardoned by Trump for lying to the FBI about the nature of his contacts with uh…the Russian ambassador.
Flynn offers an assortment of absurd conspiracy theories, offering something for everyone. Apparently, what really pisses him off is that the people of the United States aren’t Christian enough.
Christian nationalism should not be confused with the practice of Christianity, warns University of Oklahoma sociologist Samuel Perry, an expert on the politics of conservative Christianity. Many Americans inclined towards Christian nationalism do not go to church, he found.
“It has nothing to do with Christian orthodoxy. It has nothing to do with loving Jesus or wanting to be a good disciple or loving your neighbor or sacrificing yourself or anything like that. It has everything to do with white Christian ethno-culture, according to Perry.
Who’s coming to listen to Flynn? Vaccinate and mask opponents. Election deniers. Insurgents like the Proud Boys. Republican state and local officials. He appears at right-wing confabs featuring a re-emerging John Birch Society and anti-government rancher Ammon Bundy.
“Flynn is one of the most dangerous individuals in America today,” says historian Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a specialist in fascism and authoritarianism.
Build a movement
It’s not just that Flynn shows a deep disregard for basic American rights such as which worship we choose – or the choice not to worship.
It’s because Flynn comes from the highest ranks of the military. Yet he reportedly urged Trump to use the military to overturn the election by seizing voting machines and shutting down the media. If so, that’s a code red alert, folks.
Sixty-three court rulings in various states confirmed that Trump lost the 2020 election; no court anywhere has decided otherwise. But Flynn says they are wrong.
“Our government is corrupt; the “globalists” created COVID-19, he claims. Elementary schools teach ‘filth’ and ‘pornography’, the FBI should be abolished. He is a victim of the “deep state”. Etc.
Busy building a political network and fundraising, Flynn backs like-minded candidates for public office, including for local school boards — because political change starts locally, he stresses.
Flynn endorsed nearly 100 candidates, 80% of whom cast doubt on Trump’s loss to Biden, according to the AP/Frontline survey.
Two dozen of them were at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021; 28 have publicly used Christian nationalist rhetoric. Some have participated in efforts to cancel the 2020 elections; others promise to change the conduct of the elections.
Flynn raised money for the “recount” of the nothing-burger presidential election in Arizona. One of its foundations is preparing to do the same thing next time: it is to train poll watchers.
“He will build this grassroots movement, local elected officials who are indebted to him, who are loyal to him,” predicts Ron Filipowski, a Republican activist from Florida.
Flynn describes “the left” as “our enemies”, adding that they are “godless” and “soulless”. In short, it dehumanizes them. We have plenty of unpleasant experiences showing where this tactic leads.
“He spearheads the attack on our democracy, which comes from many walks of life, and he is affiliated with many of these sectors, from the military to Christian nationalism, election denial and extremist groups. “, says Ben-Ghiat, who adds:
“All of this combines to present a very real threat. And he is in the center.
Take-out? Flynn has all the alarming characteristics of someone who needs to be watched very closely.
Solveig Torvik lives near Winthrop.