The Federal Bureau of Investigation this week warned the governors of all 50 states that “As of 10 January, armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitals from 16 January through at least 20 January, and at the U.S. Capitol from 17 January through 20 January.” Vermont Gov. Phil Scott’s response to the potential protestors: “Don’t get played.”

There has to be concern for the governor, and for all Vermonters. The assault on the nation’s capitol was something unthinkable. That’s the problem. We can no longer rely on the past. A precedent has been set. Once the normal bounds of behavior are broken, breaking them again becomes easier. We can say it couldn’t happen in Vermont; but it could. The insurrection, and the president’s role in its incitement, have emboldened enough of the extremists to make law enforcement fearful of what may lie ahead.

It was three years ago this February that 18-year-old Jack Sawyer was arrested for allegedly planning to inflict mass casualties at the Fair Haven Union High School. The governor was so “jolted” that he ended up changing political course and the following April signed into law three gun control bills. The fearful tremors of the “near” tragedy were felt from one end of the state to the other. It could happen here, was the take-away. We’ve been lucky.

Here we sit, three years later, with all of us asking the same question: Will the lawlessness that was unleashed on our nation’s capitol ripple through our states? That question would not have been raised in any other circumstance. It was not considered when Mr. Trump was inaugurated, or when any of his predecessors were inaugurated. Now, the warnings are dire; how else are we supposed to react to the promise of “armed protests?”

It’s understood that the person who could perhaps bring his mobsters back from the brink is President Trump. But that’s not going to happen. He has shown no contrition. Reports say he’s upset he’s said anything sympathetic about his followers trashing the Capitol. He’s worried that any sympathy might be interpreted as weakness.

That follows his campaign’s press secretary who, on the record, Monday described Mr. Trump as “the most masculine person, I think, to ever hold the White House.” Whoa. This is a man’s man? Someone who tells his mob that “…we are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue…and we’re going to the Capitol, and we are doing to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue…”

So his mobsters walk down Pennsylvania Avenue and Mr. Trump retreats to his office and flips on the television to watch the chaos he’s incited.

This is what he’s unleashed. And he may not be finished yet. But a man’s man? Super masculine? Someone who will lead you through thick and thin?

Really? As Mr. Scott says, don’t get played.

by Emerson Lynn

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