What to Do if there is an Attempted US Coup

We are people aligned with various local groups who are concerned that if President Donald Trump loses in the upcoming election he will refuse to concede power even if the results are clear. We are organizing locally, as are thousands of people around the country.

We see many warning signs. When asked repeatedly, Trump has refused to commit to respecting election results. In July, when Chris Wallace asked, he answered, “I have to see… No, I’m not going to just say yes. I’m not going to say no.” The other day he again started people chanting at a rally: “Twelve more years,” despite the eight-year Constitutional limit.

All of us should be invested in the integrity of the democratic process, respect for election results, and the peaceful transition (or continuation) of power. Those of us who are looking at this challenge ask each of you to consider what you might do if this threat becomes reality. Most coup attempts fail if the people take immediate action. To find out how to be prepared, see below.

We ask our local elected representatives to prepare for this contingency by 1) establishing standards to protect voters from intimidation, 2) counting every vote before certifying results, and 3) directing local law enforcement officials to respect people’s First Amendment rights and protect those rights from individuals and groups who may threaten them.

There are many possible scenarios for election interference. The Trump Administration has been hard at work at voter suppression, including restricting vote-by-mail during the pandemic. Mail continues to be delayed. The most likely scenario is this: Trump will show a lead on Election Night, since his supporters are expected to vote in person, with his lead diminishing as mail-in votes are counted, perhaps stretching into days or even weeks. Trump could claim early victory, resulting in contested results, state-by-state power struggles, demonstrations, social media chaos, and inflammatory tweets by Trump. This could be just the beginning of a chaotic election and aftermath.

A Trump Campaign adviser said, “There will be a count on election night, that count will shift over time, and the results when the final count is given will be challenged as being inaccurate, fraudulent — pick your word.” For months Trump has been setting the stage for this claim. At the Republican National Convention, he said, “The only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election.”

An article for the November 2020 Atlantic Magazine “What if Trump Refuses to Concede?” was published online early because of its urgency. It recommends:

“…If you are at relatively low risk for COVI9, volunteer to work at the polls. If you know people who are open to reason, spread word that it is normal for the results to keep changing after Election Night. If you manage news coverage, anticipate extra­constitutional measures, and position reporters and crews to respond to them. If you are an election administrator, plan for contingencies you never had to imagine before. If you are a mayor, consider how to deploy your police to ward off interlopers with bad intent. If you are a law-enforcement officer, protect the freedom to vote. If you are a legislator, choose not to participate in chicanery. If you are a judge on the bench in a battleground state, refresh your acquaintance with election case law. If you have a place in the military chain of command, remember your duty to turn aside unlawful orders. If you are a civil servant, know that your country needs you more than ever to do the right thing when you’re asked to do otherwise.”

Finally, join us in signing the following pledge at choosedemocracy.us. Tens of thousands have already signed:

  1. We will vote.
  2. We will refuse to accept election results until all the votes are counted.
  3. We will nonviolently take to the streets if a coup is attempted.
  4. If we need to, we will shut down this country to protect the integrity of the democratic process.

Those of us who are working together so far include: Sharon Delgado, Guarionex Delgado, Janie Kesselman, Mikos Fabersunne, Avila Lowrance, Brian Fry, Shirley Osgood, Jesse Golden, Joyce Banzhaf, Peter Galbraith. We invite you to join us. Find updated information on Earth Justice Ministries Facebook Page, which also appears on the website at https://earth-justice.org.

In closing, from The Atlantic: “Take agency. An election cannot be stolen unless the American people, at some level, acquiesce.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Safe Way to Protest

The Reverend David Nui, pastor Nevada City United Methodist Church

(Regarding whether we should hold a demonstration for racial justice after violent white supremacists attacked a previous one.)

This is a challenging time and we cannot allow the injustices and the violence to dominate our lives and our community. Fear is what the counter-peace protestors want to instill in anyone who wants to voice their grievances regarding the systemic racism that has taken over everything; from politics to the economy, to education and, yes, unfortunately, even Christianity.

For any action to have the impact that is called for, TIMING is everything. Action is needed when everyone perks up and takes notice. To wait until it is safe is a figment of one’s imagination. Was there ever a peaceful protest not met with violence? Was there ever a peaceful protest welcomed by those whose hearts are filled with hatred and racism? There is no safe way to protest. There is no right way to protest. There has not been one in the past and there will be none in the future. That is just the nature of protesting. If one wants to have safe actions, it would be best to have that action in one’s own backyard or living room. One must accept the risks of going against the grain. Many of the rights that we are taking for granted today were fought for with blood, sweat, and tears. That is the kind of risk that one has to take if a real change is demanded. Otherwise, the safest place is home where the change needed will never come by.

“True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” MLK Jr.

“Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9.

Pastor Dave Niu

Nevada City United Methodist Church

An open letter to our Christian clergy

Becky Gillespie: An open letter to our Christian clergy

The times we live in echo the words of God speaking to prophet Isaiah, “Whom shall I send?” People are crying out for racial justice in our country, and Christian clergy are standing on the sidelines.

Nevada County may not have the diversity present in other areas of our country or even state, but there is racial injustice here and now is a time to speak and respond.

I am not an outsider; I grew up locally. I am a Nevada Union High School graduate. I came home to raise a family and to get involved in our community, including with one of our local churches. I write this out of my love for Nevada County and my fellow Christians.

I joined with many demonstrators for weeks this summer to bring attention to injustice. I attended the peaceful vigil for Black Lives in Nevada City. Most recently, I marched with BLM protesters in the streets of Nevada City. We encountered the rage of counter-protesters (I witnessed them shove a woman against a vehicle, rip signs from protesters’ hands, and yell at families with young children). Yet we marched on, even as the mob followed us on foot and in vehicles.

Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering that outright rejection.

With the exception of the evening vigil, where I encountered a clergyman from one church, our local clergy have been absent from standing up against racial injustice. The more I have prayed and reflected these past months, the more I understand why I feel like I am a homeless Christian in Nevada County. The Christian leaders of our community have been far too silent amidst the calls for justice. Dr. King wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” specifically to his fellow clergy. He wrote it 57 years ago. The message is timeless; we need to hear it today.

Today, as in 1963, it seems that the greatest stumbling block toward freedom and justice is the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”… Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering that outright rejection.

When faced with the counter-protesters that Sunday in Nevada City, their ill will was obvious. I am completely stunned however, by the lukewarm acceptance from our own Christian clergy.

King continues: “I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality.”

The present tension we face is a necessary phase of transition to establish justice for all God’s children, including our sisters and brothers of color. I ask our Christian clergy; Will you hear us? Again, human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be coworkers with God … Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

I ask our Christian clergy; Will you act in Faith?

It is never too late to embrace positive peace. Go forth from our worship halls and into the world, actively living God’s words of love and justice for all. Courageously show us all how to set God’s words into action.

I ask our Christian clergy; Will you lead us?

Becky Gillespie is a resident of Nevada City.

Becky Gillespie: An open letter to our Christian clergy

 

Love Wins

by Sharon Delgado

Last night I wept. This morning I’m sick at heart. The community I love is divided like never before. Oh, but here come the quail, out from the blackberry bushes, dozens of them. When I sit out on the deck writing in the morning, they tolerate me if I move slowly. Even today, they remind me of the beauty of Nevada County, which has been my home since 1971. We raised our kids here, worked elsewhere for a while, then retired here in 2005 as we always knew we would.

As a biracial family, we have known that racism is a reality here. It’s not by accident that our community is so white. But now racial animosity seems to have come to a head, here and throughout the country.

At the march for racial justice in Nevada City on August 9, I carried a small cardboard “Black Lives Matter” sign. Why? Because I despair of Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) ever being treated as if they do matter, as fully human beings. I planned to stay socially distanced at the back, but an organized group (without masks) blocked our path. They wore white nationalist and Trump insignia, used flags as weapons, yelled racist and homophobic slurs, and pursued us as we tried to walk around them. They ganged up on people (including young teens), injured several people, and destroyed property. They shoved us and yelled in our faces, “Get the f___ out of our town.”

Evidently this is a homegrown hate group. The Facebook Page Patriots Pushing Back Nevada County has over 10,000 people and is growing. After the demonstration, their posts celebrated and bragged that Law Enforcement was on their side (which is indeed how it appeared). They raised funds through Go Fund Me to support Jimmy Smith, the member of the group who was arrested for two felonies. Now it’s a private Facebook group, but make no mistake: organized hate is here, embedded in our community.

Then yesterday, Back the Blue Nevada County held a huge “Freedom Ride Parade,” ostensibly to support the police. I’m sure there were good-hearted people who participated solely to support Law Enforcement. Curious though, that the send-off speaker stated in one breath that the purpose of the parade was: “standing with Trump, standing up for our flag” and promoted “Trump gear” for sale. The “parade” included vehicles with Trump’s name and multiple flags: Trump flags, “Thin Blue Line” flags (with multiple meanings), and the US flag, like the trucks that brought disrupters to the march in Nevada City. The mixed symbols confused the event’s purpose. Was it to support the police no matter what? Glorify Trump? Claim the flag as a white nationalist symbol? Intimidate peaceful protesters? Evidently it was not to celebrate the diversity this nation represents.

Also, our local Republican Party is sponsoring a “Political Protest” fundraiser featuring “far right commentator” Katie Hopkins. According to Twitter, Hopkins was banned in June for “violations of our hateful conduct policy,” which prohibits “promoting violence against or directly attacking or threatening people based on race, ethnicity, national origin, caste, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religion, age, disability or serious disease.”[1] Yet the Nevada County Republican Party publicized their event by stating, “To underscore how GOOD she is as a strong conservative voice, Twitter last week permanently banned her from communicating with her one million followers.” In other words, hate speech is not only acceptable—it has become popular.

Racial justice demonstrations have been on hold here as people deal with trauma, injury, and threat. But this struggle is not over. I encourage everyone in despair to take heart, and those who may be possessed by the current climate of hate and authoritarianism to reconsider what it means to take a moral stand for the common good.

The quail have now moved to another spot. I probably got too excited and moved too fast while writing this article. I am thinking of going down to the Broad Street Bridge with my little BLM sign and sitting there by myself. Or it may be best to work with others who are attending online workshops on nonviolence, white supremacy, keeping each other safe, and de-escalation, to prepare to take a unified nonviolent stand for compassion, justice, peace, and environmental healing. For the sake of my community and world, for the sake of our children, I will not let go of my belief that love wins, or my commitment to helping make it so.

[1] Graeme Demianyk, Katie Hopkins Permanently Banned From Twitter, Social Media Firm Confirms: Account suspended for “violations of our hateful conduct policy”, HuffPost, June 19, 2020.