One thing is true about revolutions throughout history: their executions often directly oppose the romanticism associated with the term. Such is the reality of the problematic nature of Sarah Silverman’s latest tweet, wherein she seems to incite the military to overthrow Trump.
WAKE UP & JOIN THE RESISTANCE. ONCE THE MILITARY IS W US FASCISTS GET OVERTHROWN. MAD KING & HIS HANDLERS GO BYE BYE❤❤❤❤ https://t.co/Y2WZbL012A— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) February 2, 2017
Important disclaimer: Sarah Silverman is a comedian and her words can’t immediately be taken at face value. But now more than ever, liberals need to be in cautious and measured. Silverman’s tweet is already making the rounds on Fox News and Breitbart and is infesting the Donald Trump subreddit r/thedonald. Suggesting a military coup, even in jest or to stoke an emotional reaction, makes Silverman no better than Alex Jones. In terms of participating in a Trump resistance, the most important thing right now is finding an inviting way to win allies, not forge more enemies. The ideal “revolution” would be to make the resistance look calm and rational—qualities that will inevitably be more celebrated as Trump becomes more unhinged.
Instead, Silverman is entertaining the very anger that aided Trump’s rise to power and further translating frustration into a radical left ideology that has empowered Trump since day one. If electing Trump is a monkey wrench thrown at Washington, a military coup will be the whole damn tool box. It would also make martial law and the suspension of Habeas Corpus immediate realities rather than slim possibilities. Just ask South America about military coups; when you open that can of worms, it’s hard to stick a lid back on.
In all likelihood, Silverman is kidding. (At least hopefully she is.) But for those who salivate at the chance to make Trump look like the victim of extremism rather than a perpetrator of it, her intent is moot. Given that our system of democracy is in dire straits, joking about its demise is perhaps too terrifying to consider, satirize or, at worst, embolden.
One might defend Silverman on the grounds that Trump has gotten away with similar remarks that should have caught the attention of the Secret Service, but no one should play a game that low. Be the resistance member that would make Bernie Sanders proud. As the losers this round, Democrats have some soul searching to do as to how we got here. Playing the Infowars/Breitbart sensationalism game is certainly not an answer to fixing this loss or resisting our demagogue-in-chief.