In 1993, a bunch of cultists in Texas called the Branch Davidians decided that the best way to respond to a lawful search by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms was to gun down law enforcement agents carrying out the search. After the Feds decided that was not okay, as any good law enforcement agency would, a siege started. It lasted for nearly two months and the Davidians used their children as human shields. Eventually it culminated in the Davidians burning themselves alive in what was probably the best example of authentic Texas barbecue ever conceived.
What was interesting was the reaction. Not even a year before, the Rodney King trial happened. Conservatives beat the “Rodney King should have complied with law enforcement” drum into the ground and straight through to China. However, now that the shoe was on the foot of a group conservatives liked, they said law enforcement should have de-escalated. Democrats, in typical 90’s Democrat fashion, chickened out of taking conservatives to task for this hypocrisy. After all, the Davidians did literally everything conservatives said black people shouldn’t do in police encounters. That being said, it was found that though the raid could have been handled better (the ATF and FBI had contradictory strategies that undermined each other), there was no criminal wrongdoing. Conservatives and Christians (who see persecution under every rock, tree and trivial inconvenience when anyone but a Republican is in office) were outraged.
And one of those Christians, Timothy McVeigh, used the Waco siege as justification to blow up a Federal building.
So Why Does this Matter Today?
If you look at recent events, the plot by the Michigan Militia to kidnap two governors, the GOP in California setting up fake ballot dropboxes and publicly wiping their rear-ends with official orders to remove them, and the possibility of armed militia thugs going to polling places to “monitor” them, one thing is clear: Democrats are too traumatized by Waco and the Murrah bombing to actually take these people on. They’re too scared of “bad optics.”
And that’s a problem. Particularly when there are so many issues that could be flashpoints for an attack by right-wing extremists. Police have been infiltrated by white supremacist groups. And let’s face it, if Democrats do go after Trump’s self-dealing in the event of a Biden victory, they have to be prepared for some nutcase in the so-called “Army of Trump” to do something stupid.
I don’t think they are.
Democrats are Afraid of Governing
Let’s pretend the shoe was on the other foot. Let’s say, oh I don’t know, the Not Fucking Around Coalition (the left-wing black militia) hatched some crazy scheme to kidnap a dirty cop and put him on an extrajudicial “trial.” Everyone in that militia would be rounded up rather than just a dozen or so morons. And you better believe Bill Barr would make sure it was a bloodbath.
Let’s say ANTIFA was planning on showing up to polling places in GOP strongholds armed to the teeth to “monitor” things. You better believe that they’d be escorted out in cuffs or body bags.
Let’s say Democrats put up fake ballot dropboxes. A GOP governor wouldn’t be sending out “cease and desist” orders like a wuss. Doors would be getting kicked down and people would be brought into police stations or brought down where they stood. There wouldn’t be these lame concerns about “optics.”
Democrats Need to Step Up or Step Aside
In the face of far-right militias and GOP lawbreaking, our current elected Democrats cower. They tut-tut in opinion pieces in newspapers. They hold limp-wristed press conferences. They send cease and desist letters that aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. But they won’t do anything of value. They’re too scared of a rehashing of Waco.
People have a right to vote without fear of some armed idiots hanging around and holding up the line. Elected officials have the right to govern without fear of being assassinated by deluded psychopaths. And it is on Democrats to start enforcing those rights.
It’s time for Democrats to get over their Waco-phobia and stop letting armed thugs tell them what to do. It’s time to stop cowering in fear of right-wing terrorists. Or quietly retire and make room for a new generation of Democrats who will take the fight to the far-right.