A pox on both houses.
Partisans from the right and the left are both right and wrong about Jan. 6. But they’d be doing America a huge favoring by just shutting up.
First, how the Right is wrong.
The breach of the Capitol was an insurrection– an attempt to stymie our elected government from acting. No matter how large or small the mob was, a number of them illegally entered the building–whether they forced their way in or simply walked in through an open door–to halt the Electoral College from doing its job.
Their action constituted an insurrection in its most basic meaning. They actually succeeded in this, however briefly. Electors had to halt their constitutionally defined jobs and go into hiding. I consider these anarchists to be as deplorable as the British who burned the Capital (and the White House and other government buildings) in the War of 1812. Well, actually worse. These were (presumably) American citizens who were out to interfere with my government.
Doesn’t matter that the attempted insurrection failed miserably. But, what could have happened if they had laid hands on Vice President Mike Pence who was presiding over the gathering? Would he have been kidnapped? Held for ransom? Seriously injured?
Did they really think they could occupy the podium or chamber long enough to reverse the election? Did they figure that their presence would intimidate Pence enough to get him to act illegally? Did they think that the country would rise up and support their coup d’tat? These were not just insurgents, but stupid insurgents.
A proximate cause of the insurrection was former President Donald Trump–his ill-timed rally and perplexing speech. Was he merely and innocently encouraging the crowd to march to the Capitol for further protests or was he really inciting a mob to break into the Capitol and halt the proceedings? Parse the meaning of each word and sentence of the speech, the fact that we’re still debating his intent signals that some people might have thought he was actually calling for an insurrection. In this, Trump was at least reckless.
Why did he decide to hold a rally on the same day at the same time as the Electoral College was meeting if he didn’t mean to incite the crowd? Did he not understand the danger?
Equally disturbing was the hours it took for Trump to try to call off the mob. I do believe that Trump advisors and, as has been stated, supporters at Fox News and elsewhere repeatedly tried to get him to publicly call on the insurgents to back off. In this, he was dangerous.
Finally, you can argue that very few of the protesters actually entered the Capitol, but that doesn’t excuse those who did. It’s just as goofy as liberals pointing out that the Black Lives Matter protests were mostly peaceful when they led to violence.
Second, how the Left is wrong.
Democrats themselves wear the jacket for the Capitol break-in. Clearly, the Capitol Police were far from being prepared. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was (and is) in charge of the security and safety of Congress. That the protection of the Capitol was so badly botched raises legitimate questions about Pelosi’s incompetence or intent.
In spite of all her rhetoric over the years about the dangers of Trump and his supporters, did she really think that the lightly protected Capitol could withstand a mob? Is she that stupid? Or–and this will raise charges of nutty conspiracy–did she intend for the worse to happen in order to embarrass Trump and blame Republicans? Sorry, but that damn sure is a legitimate question.
For certain the (laughably) bi-partisan House “Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol” should delve deeply into why the Capitol was so unprotected. Intelligence had warned of the dangers; why did Pelosi so obviously ignore them? Even the Democratic chairman of the committee, Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, said the cops were “woefully outnumbered.” Why, why, why?
And while the committee is at it, it cannot ignore elephant in the room: whether agent provocateurs fueled the insurgency, as at least one first-person account suggests. Undercover law enforcement infiltration of target groups is well known, going back at least as far of the days of Chicago’s Red Squad. Certainly, J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI spied on his share of communist groups.
Corporate media shamelessly ignores the question, writing it off, I suppose, because they believe it’s the product of mindless, whacky conspiracy wingnuts. But where are the detailed reports of the 700 who were arrested? Why are so many of those unnamed co-conspirators listed in the indictments escaping any charges? Were they FBI spies who initiated and encouraged the break-in? Any why, for goodness sake, when progressives so vehemently condemn cash bail are they so silent about the several dozen Capitol defendants who are being held in jail without bail? What crimes were they charged with to justify the detention?
Beneath the headlines, however, there has been a steady stream of penalties for lower-profile defendants: bricklayers, grandmothers, college students, artists, church leaders and long-haul truckers who, by and large, have admitted to little more than illegally entering the Capitol.
Many, if not most, have avoided incarceration, sentenced to probation or stints of home confinement. Others have received only modest sentences, ranging from a few weeks to a few months.
In court, those accused of minor crimes have almost always expressed remorse, saying their behavior was foolish, embarrassing or out of character. Some have broken into tears or, in one case, physically collapsed. Others have vowed never to attend a political rally again.
This is what is called the most intense criminal investigation ever has produced? Do these people sound like they meant to overthrow the government? They clearly weren’t the kind of social justice warriors who turned violent, burning down a police station, repeatedly attacking a federal building, setting fires to many businesses, turning streets and public places into armed camps and leaving dead bodies in their wake.
Unlike the one person who was shot and killed in the Capitol incursion. That would be Ashli Babbitt who was killed by a Capitol cop who later escaped any charge of excessive force. Attempts to initially blame the protesters for the deaths of five people, including Babbitt, have turned out to be wrong, if not outright lies. One of the five, Capitol police officer Officer Brian Sicknick, who was depicted as someone who died at the hands of rioters, was later found to have died of natural causes, according to a medical examiner. Rosanne Boyland, whose death originally was attributed to “trampling’ by the mob, actually died of a drug overdose. The others died of natural causes.
How troubling it is to see and hear that the Capitol incursion was a virtual to democracy Democrat Rep. Bennie Thompson said, “…what we have been able to ascertain is that we came perilously close to losing our democracy as we have come to learn it.”
The New York Times breathlessly warned in an editorial, “Every Day is Jan. 6 now,”
In short, the Republic faces an existential threat from a movement that is openly contemptuous of democracy and has shown that it is willing to use violence to achieve its ends. No self-governing society can survive such a threat by denying that it exists. Rather, survival depends on looking back and forward at the same time.
I disagree. A greater threat to democracy were the riots, arsons, killings and more that sprung from the Black Lives Matter demonstrations. It was savagery that was ignored, if not praised, because it was “justified” by white supremacy. The abject failure of civil authorities to halt this destruction was surely more of a threat to democratic rule than the handful of insurgents who have yet to be tried for their role in the Capitol incursion.
Some readers will complain that I placed more blame on one side. They will shout, “Unfair!” But that’s the way I see it: A pathetic, brief and failed attempt by a tiny band of insurrectionists to reverse an election compared to the blind eye closed to the long-running and violent instability that the Left Wing justified. Which is a greater threat to democracy is crystal clear.
As of now, Democrats have begun Jan.6 festivities marked by speeches and prayer services. We can only hope that the Left gets it out of their system, but there’s zero chance of that.
Instead, Democrats will keep hammering away for political advantage. And Republicans will continue to look back at the election, hoping that the next one will extract revenge.
Can’t we just move along? I have a feeling that so many Americans would be most grateful.Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.
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