Nobody knew it at the time, but January 20, 2009 was the last peaceful transfer of power in American history. Barack Obama had defeated John McCain in the race to succeed George W. Bush as President of the United States, and most everyone accepted those results. In a tradition that stretched back to 1800, when Thomas Jefferson defeated his erstwhile friend and rival John Adams, the party in power peacefully handed the reins to its opponents.

The legitimacy of democracy rests upon the consent of the losers. Those who come up short at the ballot box need to believe that the election was conducted fairly, that the results truly represent the will of the people. Once one side decides that the system is no longer legitimate, then all bets are off. If you truly believed that the existence of you, your nation, and your way of life depended on the outcome of the next election, would you not do everything in your power to swing it your way? If you honestly believed your opponent was the reincarnation of Adolf Hitler, would you cheat to stop him?

Democrats have not accepted a Republican presidential victory since 1988, when George H.W. Bush defeated Michael Dukakis. They claimed that the younger Bush stole the 2000 election due to the Florida recount, and that he stole the 2004 election by rigging the vote in Ohio. They claimed 2016 was illegitimate due to supposed Russian interference, and launched numerous numerous bogus investigations that were meant to hamstring the Trump Administration. Republicans took longer to arrive at this point, but they did in 2020, believing that the election was rigged due to mass mail-in ballots and corrupted voting machines.

There is no question the losing side in 2024 will cry foul once again, but the stakes are rising every day. There is no longer any possibility of the left and the right sharing this country, and pretending that’s not the case is just willful blindness at this point. Yesterday, a corrupt New York judge used a far left jury to deliver a guilty verdict against Donald Trump without even specifying what crime was actually committed. Even some on the left have realized the irreparable damage that this Soviet-style show trial has caused to the fabric of the American Republic, while some ostensibly on the right are whistling past the graveyard:

While some on the right are simply naive, and still trust in our civic institutions, others are cynically hoping to eliminate a troublesome political figure. Like Winston Churchill’s appeasers, they are feeding the crocodiles hoping to avoid being eaten themselves.

To his credit, Gov. Brad Little expressed support for Trump after the verdict yesterday:

Saving what’s left of our nation will take more than words, however. The left has thrown out the rule book and is doing everything they can to institute a totalitarian regime, while some on the right are still hoping that things will just magically return to the era when we could have civil disagreements yet still come together as Americans. Newsflash: It’s not going to happen. There is no going back to a calmer era. The only way forward is through, and the only way to get through this is to take this existential threat to our nation seriously.

The Lotus Eaters across the pond did a good job of summing up what is at stake:

Auron MacIntyre also posted a good stream as I was composing this essay:

The left is not going after Donald Trump out of a good faith effort to uphold the law, as some deluded souls on the right try to tell themselves. They have weaponized our civic institutions to destroy a man who they see as an existential threat to the managerial state that has grown over the past century, the so-called deep state that controls America, and by extension, the world. They are using that same system to criminalize dissent, whether by persecuting so-called “election deniers” or throwing the book at anyone who happened to be at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. They deliberately use the term “insurrection” to describe a protest that was more peaceful than the quietest BLM/antifa riot to justify the crackdown on dissidents to a degree that would make Vladimir Putin blush.

The way in which this is playing out somewhat resembles the story of Julius Caesar. He amassed tremendous power in Rome by appealing to the common man rather than the patrician class. He was sent to Gaul after his consulship, as was tradition to prevent one man from consolidating too much power, but his popularity only increased in his absence. The Senate was prepared to prosecute him upon his return to ensure he would never have legal power again, so rather than submit to a rigged system, Caesar crossed the Rubicon with his army and changed history forever.

I don’t think Donald Trump is Julius Caesar. As far back as 2017 I was calling him our version of Lucius Sulla instead. Sulla was a conservative who fought to stop the progressive changes brought about by Gaius Marius. In order to save the Roman Republic, Sulla marched his army into Rome, declared himself dictator, and drew up execution lists. He died thinking he had saved the Republic, but a teenage Caesar escaped execution and came away with the idea that the Republic was beyond saving and desperate measures were needed.

If that comparison is true, then whatever comes next for America is completely unimaginable today. That’s where we stand today, like it or not. The America we knew is gone, and no amount of pining will bring it back. The question before us is how then shall we live?

The truth is that the America of our Founders is long gone, having evolved drastically over the past 250 years:

In 1775, American colonists took up arms against their government after many years of growing strife between King George III and his subjects across the sea. The result was an independent American Republic, which first organized itself under the Articles of Confederation and then the Constitution.

In 1861, seven southern states seceded from the Union over the issue of slavery. Four more joined them after President Abraham Lincoln called up a volunteer army in response to the shelling of Fort Sumter by Confederate troops. The America that came out of the Civil War was very different from the one that entered. The war established by force that the Union was indivisible while the 14th amendment incorporated the Bill of Rights to the states. The new America was much more centralized than before.

In 1933, incoming President Franklin Roosevelt demanded extraordinary executive powers to fight the Great Depression. Over the course of his unprecedented four terms, FDR consolidated power within the Executive Branch, creating countless federal agencies with regulatory power over individuals and private enterprise. The America that came out of the Depression and World War II was very different from the one before, with a massively powerful federal government, run by an unelected administrative managerial state, which now also ruled a global empire with military bases and client states that spanned the globe.

In the mid-1960s, President Lyndon Johnson implemented his Great Society, which built on FDR’s expansion of government. Under LBJ, the federal government assumed a mandate to enforce equality at every level of society, as well as loosened immigration laws in such a way as to guarantee rapid demographic change. Actions such as the Biden Administration’s lawsuit against the Sheetz convenience store chain for conducting employee background checks that disproportionately reject black applicants is a feature of the Great Society regime, not a bug.

Every one of these social revolutions has resulted in a larger, stronger, and more centralized government. Even though we technically have the same Constitution that our Founders wrote in 1787, it has been amended and reinterpreted through every one of these revolutions. Our Founders would be shocked by what has become of their country today, and most Americans today would be shocked with how society actually worked two centuries ago.

Our country is undergoing another transformation. This is inevitable, and there is no going back. Anyone who says we can return to the America we knew in 1954, 1994, or 2014 is selling something. The only way out is through, and the only question is whose vision of the future will prevail. Can we create a society based on traditional values, where men are men, women are women, and children are innocent? Can we create a society where hard work is rewarded and communities take care of their own? Can we create a society in which we know who we are as Americans, one in which we agree on the nature of reality itself?

The left’s vision of the future is downright dystopian. The alternative to our vision is one in which our country is reduced to third world despotism, a banana republic where the law is a tool of the powerful against their opponents. It is a society where children are taught to hate their bodies, their skin, and their heritage, where communities are dissolved and we are all atomized individuals, each subject to an all powerful central government, where surveillance and social credit scores keep the population in line.

This is why I have chosen to focus on local politics. Very few of us have levers big enough to move our whole country, but we can influence our state and our communities. Whatever happens to America, we must work to ensure the survival of our civilization in Idaho. That means protecting our children from the woke mind virus. It means fiscal responsibility to stave off economic collapse. It means building strong communities that don’t rely on government.

It’s up to us to shape the future for our children and our grandchildren. I don’t have all the answers, but I can say that anyone who claims to be on our side who is not even talking about these questions is not on our side at all. It’s long past time to have tough and sober conversations about what we can do to save our state and our country. As the Lotus Eaters said, the Rubicon has been crossed. That means there is no going back, so now what?

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