Trump’s Legacy

The year is 2021, and the scars of January 6th are fresh and raw. The attack on the Capitol was not an isolated incident but the culmination of a disturbing trend of rising extremism that has been brewing for years. To understand the gravity of what happened and where it might lead, we need to rewind and explore the journey of hate and violence that has marked America in recent years.

The Prelude: Charlottesville, 2017

For many, the Trump presidency began in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017. The “Unite the Right” rally brought white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and various far-right groups out into the open, unafraid and violent. They chanted, “You will not replace us!” and clashed with counter-protesters. The violence culminated in a neo-Nazi driving his car into a crowd, killing Heather Heyer and injuring dozens. Trump’s infamous comment that there were “very fine people on both sides” emboldened these groups, setting the tone for his presidency and giving them a perceived ally in the White House.

The Rise of the Proud Boys and Other Militias

Alongside the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville were militias and members of the Proud Boys, a group that would gain significant attention in the coming years. Their involvement in violence didn’t stop there. They continued to show up at rallies, often armed and ready to fight. The Proud Boys, although distancing themselves from explicit white supremacism, still attracted extremists into their ranks.

The Boogaloo Boys and the Militant Fringe

As time passed, another group began to gain notoriety: the Boogaloo Boys. Unlike the Proud Boys, the Boogaloo Boys openly advocated for a violent insurrection against the government. They wore Hawaiian shirts and carried igloo patches, a quirky facade for a dangerous ideology. The case of Steven Carrillo, an Air Force sergeant who killed a federal officer in Oakland and a sheriff’s deputy in Santa Cruz, highlighted the deadly potential of this movement. Carrillo was part of a local militia group called the Grizzly Scouts, showing the troubling ties between military personnel and extremist groups.

The Kidnapping Plot Against Governor Whitmer

In Michigan, anger at Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 restrictions led to a chilling plot. The Wolverine Watchmen, a militia group with Boogaloo ties, planned to kidnap Whitmer and potentially execute her for treason. The FBI arrested 14 militia members, revealing the extent of their plans and the dangerous rhetoric that had been building up.

The Siege of the Capitol

The events of January 6th were the culmination of years of rising extremism. Trump supporters, including Proud Boys and Boogaloo Boys, stormed the Capitol, urged on by the president’s rhetoric about a stolen election. They breached the building, clashed with police, and sent lawmakers fleeing for their lives. The insurrection left five people dead and highlighted the severe threat posed by domestic extremists.

The Aftermath and the Ongoing Threat

In the months following the Capitol attack, over 700 people were arrested, many affiliated with extremist groups. Yet, the threat remains. The movements have splintered, gone underground, and continue to evolve. The Proud Boys and Boogaloo Boys may have faced significant setbacks, but the ideologies driving them are still very much alive.

Conclusion: The Future of Extremism in America

The journey from Charlottesville to January 6th shows a clear trajectory of rising far-right extremism in America. These groups have grown bolder, more organized, and more violent. The challenge now is addressing this threat, understanding its roots, and finding ways to prevent such violence in the future. As long as the seeds of hate and extremism are sown, the shadow of January 6th will loom large over America, a stark reminder of the fragility of democracy in the face of internal threats.

Trump’s Legacy

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