You can feel it in your bones, a new era of lawlessness sweeping across the land. It is American exceptionalism at its violent worst. You're not the boss of me, and I'll kill you if you try.
For most of the past hundred years, our instinct toward bare knuckled political warfare was held in check by the threat of mutually assured destruction. Neither side was willing to push beyond the point of reasonableness for fear of existential blowback that would take the whole system out. But now all bets are off. Republican leaders yesterday stormed the gates of the World War II monument in DC, protesting their own extreme choice to shutter the government. Ted Cruz openly violated the law he is sworn to uphold. "It's okay if you're a Republican" has never been more vividly on display. The genie is out of the bottle.
What changed? It is a complex story, but the outlines are clear. First has been a steady drumbeat of right wing rhetoric about how the government uses force to collect taxes. This led to an escalating cycle of counter force, first evident in the Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh. More recently, a host of secessionist and nullification actions from radical legislatures, including our own, have fundamentally altered assumptions about our social contract. As people feel free to pick and choose which laws they will comply with, the basis for civil order disintegrates.
This drift toward lawlessness comes at a time when our nation is more obsessed than ever with guns and property rights. Stand your ground is the new mantra of the violent right wing. This will not end well.