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Guest Column

No Father Christmas

Many Americans still don’t understand — or have somehow forgotten — that Jan. 6 was nothing less than a violent, attempted coup

By Sneed Collard

This holiday season, Trump supporters continue to embrace our former president as if he were Father Christmas. A quick glance at his recent speeches and plans, however, reveals that this man in a red suit ain’t here to deliver gifts. He’s here to rob every one of us blind, beginning with our democracy.

Many Americans still don’t understand — or have somehow forgotten — that Jan. 6 was nothing less than a violent, attempted coup, the very kind we deplore in other countries. Trump knew full well that he lost the election. He just didn’t like the result. So, unlike every other presidential election loser in our nation’s history, he incited violence to try to regain power. Thank god he failed, but it has made him even more of a threat to our American way of life. 

While Trump may have had some vague ideas of governing the country in his first term, his current presidential bid is all about power. Power not to make things better, but to seek pay back on those who have in any way opposed him — which, unfortunately, includes the vast majority of us. 

Recent speeches offer his usual false claims about his accomplishments along with simple-minded promises to “Make America Great.” What really fires Trump’s juices, though, are the prospects of exacting revenge on his perceived enemies. “Today, especially, in honor of our great veterans on Veterans Day,” he recently told a New Hampshire audience, “we pledge to you that we will root out the Communists, Marxists, fascists, and the radical left thugs that live like vermin within the confines of our country.”

These remarks would be laughable if they weren’t so dishonest, dangerous, and insulting to the very veterans who have fought to protect our democratic values. To begin, Trump has praised and cozied up to communist dictators like no other president in American history. His assertion that there are Marxist and “radical left thugs” to worry about are ridiculous — although he does use these red-baiting labels to target anyone who opposes him. It is when he attacks fascists, however, that Trump is at his most deceitful. Why? Because the ideas of Trump and his key supporters mirror those of Hitler and other fascist regimes on a breathtaking, nightmarish scale.

One of the guiding documents for Trump’s power base is Project 2025, a product of the deeply anti-democratic Heritage Society and various elitist, dark money interests. Please look it up. It is a plan that would essentially turn Trump or another Republican contender into a dictator. It begins with replacing many of our nonpartisan civil servants with cronies subservient to the president. It dismantles the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, and hands control of the Justice Department, the Federal Communications Commission, and other key agencies directly to the president. Perhaps most frightening, Project 2025 suggests invoking the Insurrection Act to use the military for law enforcement — including “enforcing” all of us to march lock-step with our new presidential dictator. 

The upshot is that Trump and his key supporters aim to destroy everything that you and I were raised to cherish and believe in. And if you think that this in any way benefits you, I invite you to look at Russia, China, North Korea, Syria, or any other dictatorial regimes and ponder how happy you would be living under them. Because that is the exact road Trump and his backers will take us down. Trump is not Father Christmas delivering gifts. He is Scrooge, eager to stuff our freedoms into his sack and carry them off for good. 

Sneed Collard lives in Missoula.

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