Let's Let Civility Reign Again: Why we must remove Trump sooner rather than later

Let's Let Civility Reign Again: Why we must remove Trump sooner rather than later

In our rush to augment Colorado’s decision to remove Trump from their ballots by filing our own lawsuit in Wisconsin, I decided not to write my annual memorial to Elizabeth Smith, my late wife who lost her battle with cancer on December 17, 2018, at 10:38 a.m.
I was reminded of this decision when I received an unsigned email from an obscure address this morning after getting up to write this week’s newsletter.

The level of hatred in these words took my breath away, and that’s saying a lot for a guy whose company gets trolled relentlessly on social media.
This email coincidentally was sent very soon after I touched Elizabeth’s container of ashes while cleaning out my closet last night. As is my habit when seeing that container, I told her spirit that I loved her, felt that little rush of pain from a permanently-injured heart, and internally reprimanded myself for not thinking more about her and our wonderful memories together.
This anonymous email hurt a lot. Even if the content was absurd and coarse, like all of the other hateful messages I receive daily, I was still blindsided by someone’s willingness to debase my dead wife in order to cause me pain. How dare he?
What this person probably doesn’t have the emotional intelligence to understand is that his words, although some of the most awful I’ve ever read, give me the strength to keep doing everything I can to stop the cult of personality that has consumed an entire political party in our country.
The MAGA movement IS the person who wrote that email.
They are cowardly, often-faceless, debased, uneducated, easily-manipulated sycophants whose leader reflects the worst of themselves in a distorted veneer of patriotism.
Unfortunately, because of the sheer magnitude of this group, I can’t call these people “un-American.” They ARE American. They’ve always been our neighbors but they just didn’t get any cultural oxygen because those who wrote about America’s culture refused to give them any.
Well, they’re getting a lot of oxygen in the media these days since Elon Musk let them take over Twitter, since Joe Rogan let them regurgitate their nuttiness in what can only be called faux-intelligent discourse for those who aren’t used to thinking, and since an entire conservative media-ecosystem has discovered that supporting the everlasting CON from America’s most successful CONMAN is hugely profitable.
Since these deplorables ARE getting so much media oxygen, I believe many of our top Democratic leaders have become afraid that angering them too much is more dangerous for America than holding them accountable for the crimes they committed.
In a New York Times Op-Ed, Yale Law School Professor Samuel Moyn criticized the effort to disqualify Trump from running for President using Article 3 of the 14th amendment, saying that “rejecting Mr. Trump’s candidacy could well invite a repeat of the kind of violence that led to the prohibition on insurrectionists in public life in the first place.”
Lawrence Lessig, a law school professor from Harvard, buttressed that argument by claiming that if states were able to remove presidential candidates using the 14th amendment, it would open the door for “tit for tat” retribution from other states, citing Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s threat to remove Biden from the Texas ballot as retribution for Colorado’s decision.
Do you see a pattern here?
As esteemed as these two law school professors are, their arguments basically come down to fearing what people; who have already used violence, threats, and lies to undermine our Democracy, will do if they are held accountable for using violence, threats, and lies.
In response to this fear-based tautology steeped in Stockholm Syndrome, I couldn’t say it better than David French in this New York Times Op-Ed:
“Enough. It’s time to apply the plain language of the Constitution to Trump’s actions and remove him from the ballot—without fear of the consequences. Republics are not maintained by cowardice.”

I sense that these law school professors belong to what Nobel Prize-winning economist and frequent New York Times opinion columnist, Paul Krugman, calls “very serious people. He used that term to "capture the way respectable opinion keeps demanding utterly foolish policies.”
These “very serious people,” or VSP, are not only Ivy League professors, but they are also Washington DC insiders, opinion columnists, coastal elites, and New York City bankers who rely on "peace" to make sure that the supply of Eucerin body lotion, which is incomprehensibly bought in bulk, for example, at the Costco in Sun Prairie, isn’t disrupted.
Even these educated and wealthy cohorts fall prey to group think, and the VSP have been seemingly immobilized by their fear of an army of trash-talking rural keyboard warriors who they don’t understand in “fly-over” country, where they’ve never lived.
Why do I think this?
Because I grew up in rural Stevens Point, currently live in rural Minocqua, but went to college with those coastal elites at Harvard and rubbed shoulders with many of those same bankers while living in New York City, the bulk of whom wouldn’t “waste their time” visiting my crucial swing state and have no shared experience with the type of people they’re so afraid of.
I know the MAGA crowd because I grew up with and currently live among them. I believe that while taking Trump off the ballot might cause a few wing-nuts to dust off their guns, I’d be willing to bet that most Wisconsin Trump supporters, after their initial anger, would forget about him long before the Milwaukee Brewers’ season opener. The MAGA crowd we see at rallies and on social media, who the VSP is so afraid of, are largely cowards like the guy who sent me that email last night. I believe they will crawl back under their rocks once Trump is held accountable--especially after the conservative media that fills them with existential dread no longer sees a profit in broadcasting a Trump-less presidential horserace.
What I believe so many of the VSP are missing is that by ripping off the band-aid NOW and disqualifying Trump from running for President a year before the election, we can remove the possibility of MUCH MORE VIOLENCE LATER when a) Trump loses the election but calls for a more organized version of the January 6th insurrection, b) Trump loses 1 or all 4 of the criminal cases pending against him before the election and becomes more of a martyr to the violent zealots than he is now, or c) Trump wins, then pardons himself and his accomplices for all of his crimes, which causes a constitutional crisis and political violence—maybe even civil war--from the left.

Unfortunately, the VSP’s fears of political violence dovetail nicely with Biden’s probable campaign strategy and with our Democratic governor’s ambitions of winning a third term.
In the former’s case, it seems obvious to me that Biden would rather run against Trump than Nikki Haley, given all of Trump’s baggage. His campaign’s refusal to support these statewide 14th amendment lawsuits suggests that they’re content to play Russian Roulette with our Democracy by allowing a vulnerable but self-avowed would-be dictator as the Republican nominee.
In Governor Evers’ case, I believe that he is once-again attempting to cement his perceived hold on Wisconsin’s non-existent swing voter in the next election by criticizing our 14th amendment effort, which allows himself to appear like a “reasonable centrist” among the “Very Serious People.”
You know who else might have been considered a “reasonable centrist?” Neville Chamberlain.

I believe the time is NOW to rip the band-aid off and say “Its’ Over” to Donald Trump and his legion of miscreants, sycophants, and political co-conspirators.
That’s why we filed our lawsuit to take Trump of Wisconsin’s ballot last Friday, and that’s why we refuse to listen to the “Very Serious People,” including our own Governor, who tell us our efforts are in vain.
If you want to help me keep funding this effort, which has now gotten national attention, please consider donating here
The good news is that we’ve raised about $40K so far with the average donation ranging around $40 per person. The challenging news is that we've already spent tens of thousands of dollars into the effort of writing, rewriting, double-checking, and filing this 60-page Wisconsin lawsuit, and I don’t want to have to shut this effort off midstream.
Thanks for reading, and thanks for believing in the Minocqua Brewing Company.
Together, we simply MUST send guys like the one who sent me that email yesterday back under their rocks, so that we can once again live in a society where civility reigns. We owe it to our loved ones, those both with us and those we've said goodbye to--and we won’t be able to do that until we close the door, once and for all, on Donald Trump.
Kirk Bangstad
Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company
Founder, Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC

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