There’s no escaping the ‘Day of the Rope’

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Sharon Kennedy

People who prefer peace to violence are probably not familiar with a 1978 novel written by Bill Pierce, a right-wing extremist neo-Nazi. Pierce wrote “The Turner Diaries” under the pseudonym Andrew MacDonald. The book eventually became the blueprint for revolution among present-day white supremacists. It influenced Timothy McVeigh and what he hoped would be a call to action by militant groups opposed to our form of government. I was unaware of the book until I started hearing references to something called the “day of the rope.” As I poked around the Internet, it didn’t take long to find the information I was seeking. It is chilling. If anyone thinks the movement afoot to destroy democracy in the U.S. is new, think again.

The following is a quote taken from the Anti-Defamation League website. It explains the day of the rope much better than I can:

“In the novel, white supremacist insurgents take control of California and engage in mass lynchings of purported ‘race traitors’ such as journalists, politicians and women in relationships with non-white men. These murders will take place on the same day referred to in the novel as the ‘Day of the Rope.’
“By the 1990s, the concept had become well-known across the white supremacist movement even to the extent that a business named itself ‘Day of the Rope Productions.’ A 1994 song from the white power band, Bound for Glory, contained the lyrics, ‘Politicians to Pope, there’ll be no hope. There is no escaping the Day of the Rope.’ During the early 2000s, the term was borrowed for a series of white supremacist music compilations from Eastern Europe. Within a few years, ‘Day of the Rope’ became and continues to be a popular slogan on ultra right-wing social media websites.”

Donald Trump is not a brilliant intellectual, but he is a master at understanding, scratching the underbelly and fanning the rage of angry white people terrified at the prospect of losing power. The ideas expressed in Pierce’s book could have been dismissed as pure fiction, but instead they became a call to action. When you read this column, the day of the rope might well be here but for reasons different from the ones predicted in the “Diaries.” We have only to witness the outrage following the “raid” on Trump’s Florida estate to know that merchants will soon experience a run on rope. Right-wing hatred for the rule of law when it pertains to Trump has reached hysterical heights. The volume of lies surrounding the FBI’s legal seizure of government property found at Mar-a-Lago is astronomical.

Although the civil revolution began long before Trump stuck his nose into politics, he was just the impetus required to turn it mainstream. With the help of Steve Bannon, Roger Stone and the ghost of Roy Cohn yelling in Trump’s ears, the revolution spread to “sensible” conservatives as they declared their allegiance to a deranged man. The disintegration of the Republican Party is almost complete as it tumbles down a no-exit rabbit hole.

Why don’t I pick on Hillary? She’s not a former president. Why do I ignore Biden? He’s irrelevant, but Trump will never be forgotten. He’ll be credited as the president who fulfilled the prophecy of Pierce’s “day of the rope” but not exactly as the author intended. Remember the noose meant for Pence? I wonder if even Trump will escape it when his followers realize they’ve been duped.

— To contact Sharon Kennedy, send her an email at Kennedy’s latest book, “The SideRoad Kids: Tales from Chippewa County,” is available from her, Amazon, or Audible.

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