Right-wing politicians have made no secret of their disdain for the rule of law as well as our current state of democracy. One of the more blatant acts of far-right hostility to our current government was the inverted American flag for the Capitol insurrection in the days after January 6, 2021. People are still discussing the fallout from the incident. Justice Samuel Alito responded by stating that his wife hung the flag in this position after a contentious dispute with a neighbor. Such a response garnered more than a few side-eyes and outright eye rolls.

Interestingly, it appears that flag raising seems to be an Alito pastime because he hung another “Appeal to Heaven” flag at his New Jersey beach home in addition to the one at his Washington, DC residence. The hanging of the second flag is even more ominous and disturbing because of its close association and identification with both far-right Christian nationalists and the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on January 6.

Initially a Revolutionary War banner, the flag features philosopher John Locke’s motto in his Second Treatise on Government, in which he used it to describe the right of revolution. However, far-right Christian nationalists have recently adopted the flag in their attempt to impose their imperious will on the United States and its citizens. Many argue that right-wing dark money has deeply influenced the current Supreme Court, an influence that conservative legal activist, Leonard Leo, spearheaded, He reportedly displayed the same Appeal to Heaven” flag outside his home in Maine. Alito’s flag-raising understandably and justifiably raises questions among his critics about his impartiality in his rulings. House speaker Mike Johnson recently flew the flag outside his office in Congress.

Historically, placing the American flag upside down is a symbol of alarm, distress, and duress. However, over the past few decades people have increasingly used it as a symbol of political protest and defiance. This controversial act is at odds with military tradition, which demands that people treat the United States’ major symbol with honor, decorum, and respect.

The truth is that both the political left and right have displayed upside-down flags as an expression of their displeasure and dissatisfaction over a plethora of issues, including the Vietnam War, the War in Afghanistan, gun violence, the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning the constitutional right to abortion and, in many cases, election outcomes. In 2012, Tea Party followers inverted flags at their homes to signal disgust at President Barack Obama’s reelection. Four years later, some liberals and progressives engaged in duplicative behavior after Donald Trump’s election as president.

Justice Alito and the political right in general have long ceased employing dog whistles to communicate fascist messages to supporters under both mainstream media and left-leaning liberals’ radar. On the contrary, they are aggressively promoting their searing and blatant rhetoric and fascist ideology while simultaneously taunting their critics without fear or shame. The rest of us can do nothing to stop them from advertising their fascist sympathies. Their impunity is part of the argument against democracy.

In its blind thirst for power, the current Republican Party has become rapacious, barbarous, and amoral, determined to attack and, if possible, overturn any election outcomes or social movements that undermine its agenda. We have already seen the GOP engage in this sort of undemocratic activity with voter suppression and the duplicitous election laws they have enacted.

Truth be told, Republicans made the decision decades ago never to alter their regressive values; instead, they have decided to repress all entities whose ideology does not square with theirs. The agenda for their extreme elements is to employ alarming, abrasive, hyperbolic, and ominous rhetoric, no matter how irresponsible or dangerous. The more outlandish they can appear to their followers, the better. Ethics, civility, decency, facts, principles, and morality can all be damned. It is a party largely bereft of any responsibility.

The undeniable hard-core truth is that the MAGA right have no regard for the constitution or other people’s rights. They have made it clear they will stop at nothing to secure their own right-wing dystopian society regardless of the havoc they create in doing so. The current state of political affairs is grim. The 2024 election may be our last hope to preserve democracy as we know it. This will require all of us who are interested in doing so to become proactive in fighting, quelling, and outright defeating reductive forces of dystopian fascism immediately!

BlackCommentator.com Guest

Commentator, Dr. Elwood Watson,

Historian, public speaker, and cultural

critic is a professor at East Tennessee

State University and author of the recent

book, Keepin' It Real: Essays on Race in

Contemporary America (University of

Chicago Press), which is available in

paperback and on Kindle via Amazon and

other major book retailers. Cotnact

Dr.Watson and BC.