What a ‘domestic enemy’ looks like

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In the summer of 2001, as a seventeen-year-old freshman at the U.S. Air Force Academy, I took an oath to defend the Constitution “against all enemies foreign and domestic.” That oath quickly came to use as our nation was attacked on 9/11, and though it would be years before I went into combat, I carried that promise to our nation as I went off to war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I swore to die to defend the rights all Americans share within our most sacred document. Those wars, no matter your opinion of them, and those with which we were fighting, represented the core of that “foreign” threat to our constitution.

However, I never thought that in my lifetime I would see a “domestic” threat to our constitution. It seemed unbelievable that any American would threaten the very core of our democracy, or would attempt to tear up the living document from which we derive our very rights.

However, that unbelievable possibility became real this past Wednesday. My countrymen and women stormed our nation’s capitol to attempt to disrupt the orderly transition of power prescribed within our constitution.

They vandalized the building much as British invaders did during the War of 1812, attacked law enforcement who’ve also sworn to defend our nation’s citizens, threatened the safety of our elected representatives, and forever stained our nation’s image both at home and abroad.

These terrorists wrapped themselves in the flag of the Confederacy, and the flag to their leader, Donald Trump.

Make no mistake, his insistence, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that he won the election, was the beginning of the inspiration for the attack on our democracy. From November 3rd until January 6th, Donald Trump broke every institutional norm that our country has come to expect from its presidents following elections.

Beginning with the peaceful transition of power from Washington to Adams, and then Adams to Jefferson, our nation’s presidents have peacefully handed power to their successor. Donald Trump burnt down nearly 250 years of history because of his pathetic attempt to hold on to power.

Worse yet is that he inspired my countrymen and women to rise up against the very government that he wishes to lead.

When the dust settled on Wednesday, our amazing law enforcement and National Guard regained control of the capitol, reinstituted law and order, and our elected representatives finished their sacred constitutional duty. Four people who followed the president’s lead died in Wednesday’s melee. Their blood is directly on his hands.

When I took that oath as a teenager, I never thought there would be a “domestic” enemy to our constitution, and I certainly never believed, it would be our very president.

Bryce Remkes

Brooks, Ga.

[Bryce Remkes is a former U.S. Air Force captain. He deployed twice in support of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He served on active duty from 2005-2014, during which he was awarded two Air Medals for combat missions.]

14 COMMENTS

  1. The United States Air Force Officer’s Guide lists seven Aspects of Leadership: “Mission, Integrity of Character, Responsibility, Influencing Men, Knowing Men, Unity, and Morale.” None of those aspects are in evidence within the text of this shameful letter.

    While many in this nation have been unduly influenced by this level of divisive rhetoric, I believe that most Americans still conduct themselves with goodwill and grace towards their fellow Americans. But demagogues like Bryce would rather divide us, driving wedges with scurrilous accusations of treason. I would remind Bryce that his Oath of Enlistment starts with “support and defend the Constitution of the United States”, within which the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects the rights of individuals to peaceably assemble and petition their government for redress of grievances. To say that the criminal actions of a mere 40 individuals currently sought by the FBI condemns a crowd of 35,000 to the status of a “domestic enemy” is the height of irresponsibility, irrationality, and moral recklessness.

    Regardless of his personal feelings about the sad events of the past week, Captain Remkes may not use the color of uniform to push his own political views. That act is a palpable disgrace to the very idea of military service by which he attempts to derive authority from it. I thank God that I have always had the privilege of serving under officers and NCOs who understood and exemplified concepts such as honor, respect, integrity, and loyalty.

    I pray that all Americans will have pause to consider that those things (or perhaps, more accurately, people) who seek to divide us are far, far less in magnitude of importance than those who seek to unite us. I pray for the wisdom and good health of our leaders today and tomorrow that they should help stitch back together that which so many have tried to tear apart.

    • We shouldn’t condemn the crowd for the actions of a few trouble makers? Just like the right didn’t condemn the entire BLM movement just because a fraction of a percent of the protests got violent? Why should we try to unify the country, when it is becoming increasingly obvious that the right doesn’t want unity? They don’t worry about compromising with democrats or alienating voters they just pass laws. The democrats need to get it through their heads that the republicans will do anything they can to get more power and stop pretending like they are going to play by the rules. The democrats just need to pass as much stuff as they can while they have control of the house, senate, and presidency, and who cares what republicans think.

      • The “right” – however you want to perceive that group – was not justified in condemning the BLM Movement for the violence that was incited at protests. And it can be sufficiently demonstrated that extremists used the BLM protests as cover for action to enact violence for their own ends. I support the BLM movement (though not the business entity of the same name which has coopted the movement), and I would happily join hands with anyone who wants to push for more reform in law enforcement and government policies that demonstrably disadvantage black communities.

        It’s clear that you see this as an opportunity to push for ideological and political supremacy. That is dangerous. I hope you realize that.

        • I know it’s a bit dangerous, but what other options do I have when trying to push for things like M4A and a green new deal?

          Also if the US doesn’t implode in to civil war in the next few years, climate refugees are going to strain the US to the breaking point a decade from now.

          • For starters, stop calling it “Medicare For All” and “Green New Deal”. Branding plays a big part in why we can’t have frank and honest conversations. You can’t take a complicated set of policies and reduce them to a label and expect people to hold a rational discussion. You’d be surprised how much the right would accept a public healthcare option if it were more like the Nordic model. And many of the ideas packaged in Green New Deal are actually ideas that the right in Georgia has already pushed through into law.

            I don’t think you’ll find a single person on the left or right who doesn’t want Memaw to get help paying for her insulin, or who doesn’t like the idea of investing in sustainable energy. Human civilization’s exponential increase in energy demand rules out fossil fuels as a viable energy source in the next 100 years, and if we don’t diversify in the next 20 we will bottleneck the record pace of advancement in standards of living by the mid 21st century.

          • You can write a well researched study and publish it, perhaps including part of it in letters to various editors/publishers. You can work to obtain resolutions from local, state, national governments. You can convince your legislative representatives to introduce legislation supporting your study’s results. You can make social media presentations. You can knock on neighbors’ doors. You can stand on a “soapbox” at Drake Field. I imagine you have time available to do such things. Put your resources to work with your mouth.

          • The issue is that both the democrats and republicans are highly influenced by lobbying and put the people’s concerns second to those of corporations. Biden isn’t going to fix this, even with complete control the democrats will manage to get nothing done. So long as our nation is controlled by corporations whose sole focus is maximizing profits, people will continue to suffer. We need socialism in the US, we need to tax the rich and fund the bus.

          • To respond to Doug,

            There’s an idea in leftists circles called Praxis. It’s basically putting theory into practice. It’s all well and good to sit around reading books and discussing theory, but that won’t change the world.

            That’s part of why I’m arguing with people on the internet in the comments on the citizen instead of arguing with other leftists on twitter. Here I might change one or two peoples minds, versus on twitter where the debates almost always end with nothing productive gained from them.

    • Thankfully, Captain Remkes has the common sense to see an insurrection against the U.S. government for exactly what it is. Apparently, Mr. Krause is so influenced by his ideology that it blinds him to the inconvenient truth that his president promoted sedition against our country. Mr. Krause has the temerity to mention unity while minimizing illegal insurrection in the same post. Perhaps Mr. Krause might consider turning off Fox News long enough to entertain a modicum of insight and judgement.

      Truth is stranger than fiction.

      • You have no knowledge of my ideology. Given your penchant for low resolution categorical thinking, you probably never will. And I don’t watch Fox News. All for-profit corporate media is to be disregarded as “news”, as it is agenda-driven manufactured content. To paraphrase Mark Twain, if you don’t watch the news, you’re uninformed. If you do watch the news, you’re misinformed.

        Except, of course, the Citizen.

  2. Thank you Bryce for shedding a light on the thoughts / deeds of a domestic enemy that you swore an oath to protect against. Perhaps you should consider a run for office (US House-GA-3) in the near future since our present elected official seems more interested in mollifying the President than protecting democracy.