So much for welcoming in the New Year with an innocuous post of fun facts or trivia. The events of Wednesday, January 6, 2021 effectively scuppered those plans while leaving a permanent scar on American history.
That morning, President Donald Trump urged his supporters to head to Washington, “fight” and “take back our country.” He unilaterally declared that “we will never concede (because) you don’t concede when there is theft involved.” His disgraced lawyer Rudy Giuliani instructed the crowd to follow a path of “trial by combat.” Not to be outdone, Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks chimed in and told the audience of Trump supporters that it was time to begin “taking down names and kicking ass.” They dutifully obliged.
Later that day, a mob of Trump loyalists overwhelmed a woefully underprepared U.S. Capitol Police force, breached The Capitol, disrupted president-elect Joe Biden’s confirmation, and ransacked the building. One rioter, a retired air force veteran, was shot to death by police. Three other Trump supporters died from trauma stemming from altercations with officers. One Capitol Police officer was killed; others were hospitalized.
Stunning photos soon emerged of insurgents – make no mistake, these were not protestors – marching through the House Chamber, including one man carrying a confederate flag, another sitting at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk with his feet up, looking like he was getting ready to crack open a beer and watch a football game.
This sad day in American history marked the first time The Capitol had been breached since The War of 1812 by British soldiers.
Too Little Too Late
The next day, at the urging of his rapidly thinning circle of dutiful advisors, Donald Trump condemned this reprehensible act calling it a “heinous attack,” and said those who broke the law would pay. He assured he would leave office without incident on January 20, per law. Congressman Brooks also released a statement condemning the violence.
To all but the most unreasonable Trump loyalists, this was simply too little too late. In the past, TQC’s position was that Trump is a depraved human, but we credited him – and agreed with - many of his policies. Now, forget the latter. They do not deserve to be mentioned in this post. The leader of the free world incited a riot. Impeachment proceedings should begin immediately.
GOP leaders, including some of Mr. Trump’s closest former allies strongly rebuked the president. Members of Trump’s Cabinet, including Secretary Elaine Chao and Betsy DeVos, resigned along with the head of the Capitol Police and the Sergeants at Arms for the House and Senate. Below is an array of quotes from prominent Republicans:
“It’s past time for the president to accept the results of the election, quit misleading the American people, and repudiate mob violence.” – Senator Tom Cotton (R:AK)
“The President bears responsibility for today’s events by promoting the unfounded conspiracy theories that have led to this point.” – Senator Richard Burr (R:ND)
“There’s no question the president formed the mob, the president incited the mob, the president addressed the mob -- he lit the flame. Trump’s response so far has been completely intolerable and insufficient.” – Liz Cheney (R:WY)
“The president of the United States has been lying to his supporters with false information and false expectations. He lit the flame of incitement and owns responsibility for this.” – Former FBI Agent & Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (R:PA)
Said conservative pundit John Podhoretz, “Donald Trump unleashed a mob on Capitol Hill. What he has done is without precedent in American history. Even if he had seven minutes left in his presidency, he should not be permitted to spend another second as the president.” Again, and we stress, we agree.
Hypocrisy: US Capitol Police & Politicians
During the mayhem, U.S. Capitol Police were rapidly overwhelmed. Some officers tried to hold a line, but others gave up and let the mob roam free. Immediately thereafter, certain media types, left-wing politicians and public figures argued that if most “protestors” were black, the police presence would have been more robust and the response more forceful. Many Democratic (and some GOP) lawmakers including Nancy Pelosi, were outraged, and demanded an immediate investigation into the Capitol Police and their gross abdication of responsibility to keep the Capitol – and themselves - safe. Additionally, they are calling for all the subjects involved to be apprehended.
Let us be clear, the human beings – and we are being overly generous with that term in this context – involved in breaching the Capitol Building should be arrested, prosecuted, and jailed to the maximum extent permitted by law. We also believe that U.S. Capitol Police officers were justified in shooting and killing the criminal we referenced above. Furthermore, if more officers chose to use harsher tactics, including lethal force, on the mob of Trump insurgents who penetrated the Capitol, they would have also been justified in doing so.
In our September 20 post, We Hope They Die, we wrote, “we have reached a dangerous inflection point where many law-enforcement officers have indeed pulled back and become ‘afraid’ to do their jobs (properly)” (and that) “there is dearth of support for honest officers among too many left-wing politicians and public figures. The same public figures that if faced with somebody committing a crime against them or their families, would call the police without a second thought.”
At TQC, we agree that U.S. Capitol Police failed in their duty to keep the Capitol secure. That said, we find it extremely ironic, hypocritical, and unfair that their anemic response is being called into question by some of the very same individuals who want to defund the police and shoot first ask questions later – excuse the pun - anytime an officer uses force against a subject. However, as we argued on September 20 (and in the paragraph above), when lawmakers’ own lives were in jeopardy, suddenly, their issues morph from “the police use excessive force” to “the police failed to protect us.”
We would also be remiss not to mention that during “peaceful protests” over the summer, businesses were burned and looted and portions of entire cities (let us not forget Seattle and the “summer of love”) were taken over by anarchists. In Seattle’s CHAZ or “autonomous zone,” people were beaten, raped, robbed, and even killed. Lawful business owners were forced to shutter their doors. There was scant, if any, demand by left-wing politicians to identify or detain the responsible parties.
A Dismal Day For Democracy
Congressman Emanual Cleaver (D:MO) said “this is the most dismal day for democracy probably since the Civil War. We are experiencing, unless something happens to turn it around, the decline of the American empire.” At TQC, we agree with Congressman Cleaver. What happened on Wednesday Jan 6 was an assault on democracy. We were outraged and saddened by what we witnessed; it was blood curdling.
However, was it not also a dismal day for democracy when ANTIFA rioters vandalized federal buildings including the historically significant U.S. Customs House, the Robert Nix Federal Building, and the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve? Was it not a dismal day, (or months) for democracy when government buildings were breached, destroyed, and defaced for over 100 straight days in Portland, Oregon? Is it not a dismal day for democracy when fires are set, courthouses and police stations burned and destroyed during “peaceful protests”? Is it not a dismal day for democracy when angry mobs rip down monuments and statues and toss them into rivers (Nancy Pelosi quipped “people do things” when asked about this) instead of museums; for U.S. History to be studied, to prevent the horrific aspects of it, from being repeated? And if the examples above do represent dismal days for democracy, why do so few, if any, left-wing politicians call it for what it is?
Hypocrisy: The Media
After what transpired Wednesday, Anderson Cooper of CNN said on air, “look at them, they’re high-fiving each other for this deplorable display of completely unpatriotic, completely against law and order, completely unconstitutional behavior, it’s stunning. And they’re going to go back to the Olive Garden and to the Holiday Inn they’re staying at, or the Garden Marriott, and they’re going to have some drinks and talk about the great day they had in Washington …They stood up for nothing other than mayhem.”
We agree with Mr. Cooper on a few points. The people involved in this are indeed deplorable, unpatriotic, and against law and order. We take issue with him saying “they’re going to go back to the Olive Garden and to the Holiday Inn they’re staying at, or the Garden Marriott.” That statement wreaks of elitism and is loaded with racial and cultural (think trailer trash) undertones. In the thin-skinned cancel culture in which we live in – it could be grounds for termination.
To be fair, Mr. Cooper apologized and attempted to explain what he meant. However, this then begs the question: What would the reaction be if somebody in right-wing media chastised a violent ANTIFA or BLM protester and told those listening that he or she will go back to a fast-food chain that is stereotypically linked to black people, like Popeyes or Kentucky Fried Chicken, and celebrate the great day they had? The reaction would be outrage, and the newscaster would be (and should be) terminated.
Chris Cuomo, also of CNN, was enraged by what took place outside (and inside) our nation’s capital. He said, "these were mobs that trashed the capitol and got light treatment for it. This is where we are. And it is ugly." We agree with Chris Cuomo, are appalled, and condemn(ed) these crimes and assaults on our democracy.
Mr. Cuomo felt differently over the summer when reporting on a Black Lives Matter protest that turned violent, left multiple businesses burned and looted, police officers and even ordinary citizens, assaulted. At that time, he calmly asked his viewers "Please, show me where it says that protesters are supposed to be polite and peaceful?" We agree with Cuomo. A protester does not have to be polite. Vulgarity is protected under the constitution. To quote Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), “The whole point of protesting is to make people feel uncomfortable. To folks who complain protest demands make others uncomfortable, that’s the point.” We typically disagree with AOC, but she is correct on this point. That said, a protestor can say what they want but must remain peaceful. Unlike speech, criminality is not protected under the constitution.
The vast majority of Trump Supporters, BLM Supporters, and protestors in general are indeed peaceful. Most protests have remained non-violent. However, regardless if somebody is committing grand larceny from Nancy Pelosi’s desk or from an Apple store – or doing something much worse – the perpetrator should be held accountable by the media and law enforcement.
The right wing media has been equally guilty of whipping up this climate of discontent. Whether by diverting attention from the abhorrent behavior perpetrated by Trump supporters with nonsensical theories and half truths or downplaying important events like coronavirus. For the record, we have called out Fox News and other outlets with a conservative bent before in some of our previous posts critiquing the press. The reason liberal outlets are more often the target of our ire is simply because that most of the mainstream media is biased to the left.
Hypocrisy: Donald Trump
Donald Trump is perhaps the biggest hypocrite of all. He misinformed and lied to his supporters for years, inciting them to storm the Nation’s Capitol – that he took an oath to defend - in an act of lawlessness typically seen in kleptocracies, then tweeted “We are the Party of Law & Order…respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”
Calling The Bottom
In our view, Wednesday, January 6, 2021 will have marked the trough in America’s ugly political divide. Extremists on both sides get a disproportionate amount of media coverage; however, we believe there are a sizable cohort of reasonable, centrist American’s that are truly fed up with the divisiveness that has come to dominate many aspects of their daily lives. As such, they will be increasingly willing to reach across the aisle and search for bi-partisan solutions. The shift towards compromise will not be quick, easy, nor linear. But we do think it can – and will – begin to happen. We strive to continue to do our part to help facilitate this vital transformation.