By Timothy Geigner
It’s Thursday, January 7th, one day after a group of thuggish, Trump-supporting hooligans stormed the nation’s Capitol building and attempted to take up residence in the vaunted halls of our self-governance. Already there is an effort to paint this attack on democracy as anything other than what it was: an attempt to either disrupt or overthrow a democratic form of government as dictated by the will of the people. Lin Wood, a lawyer who has been independently creating post-election craziness, suggested the rioters were actually Antifa without evidence, before heading to Parler to claim that a coup was underway. Sarah Palin suggested likewise on Fox News yesterday, while also taking to Twitter to cast doubt on the support these people had for Trump.
This follows weeks and weeks of Trump supporters, political leaders, and elected members of Congress engaging in different flavors of casting doubt on the 2020 election with reckless abandon. And reckless really is the word here. Lindsey Graham, who cynically took to the floor of Congress last night to give a tearful lecture on the importance of respecting our election process and institutions, was accused of calling Georgia election officials weeks earlier, attempting to get legitimate ballots thrown out. Josh Hawley happily waved to the rioters as he headed into the Congressional halls yesterday to voice his nonsense objections to counting electoral college votes, shortly before the rioting began. Ted Cruz likewise lodged objections to the democratic process, all for his own cynical political ambitions. Hours before the rioting began, Rudy Giuliani made reference to “trial by combat” at the rally from where the riots launched in a rambling diatribe claiming the election was stolen. Joe diGenova, Trump Campaign lawyer, was quoted as saying in early December that Trump’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency former head, Chris Krebs, should be “taken out and shot” simply for acknowledging that the election was secure after being fired by Trump.
Many, if not all, of these same people have been quick in the recent hours to distance themselves from any actual violence or rioting that occurred. It should be clear that any such distancing is theatrical bullshit. They, be it has-beens like Sarah Palin or President Trump, simply don’t get to trade in the rhetoric of violence, doubt-casting, and conspiracy theories only to wipe their hands clean of what they created.
And what they created was a movement based on insurrection and violence. Trump sent those people to the Capitol Building and was only able to do so because of his enablers in the government and media.
The insurrection at the heart of America’s democracy, egged on by Trump’s rhetoric, represented a stunning show of force for the fringe movements and their adherents. Four people were left dead during the mayhem, according to the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, including one woman shot by a U.S. Capitol Police officer and three other people who had medical emergencies.
One of the most recognizable figures in the videos and photos of the chaos on Capitol Hill was a man in his 30s with a painted face, fur hat and a helmet with horns.
That man is a known QAnon figure, Jake Angeli, who goes by the moniker QAnon Shaman. This is a crazy person, as should be obvious. But many, many GOP officials in very high places have played footsie with QAnon theories, whereas others, including newly elected members of Congress, have professed their faith in the theory directly. Other participants included members of hate groups like The Proud Boys, other white supremacist groups, and pro-gun militia groups. One of them managed to sit at Nancy Pelosi’s desk for a photo, leaving her a vulgar note. Others managed to sit at the dais of Congressional houses, looking for all the world like an occupying force. Four people died.
All the while, they referred to themselves as patriots and Donald Trump, though telling them to go home, professed his love for them all. Still others made the analogy to the Black Lives Matter protests that occurred over the summer, as though the situations were remotely similar.
They are not patriots. Black Lives Matter never forced its way into The People’s House as an occupying force. The wanton tear gassing of protesters that happened over the summer magically never materialized yesterday, save for extremely limited use. The federal response was delayed and lacking in the extreme.
Which is a hell of a way for a modern day America to treat terrorists invading the offices of government. Facebook and Twitter, too often the scapegoat for the actions taken by very real people, suspended Trump’s account for the remainder of his term, and yet the powers-that-be haven’t managed to ban Trump from office, even as the justification for doing so is right in everyone’s faces. Josh Hawley and his band of hapless misfits didn’t withdraw their objections to counting electoral ballots, even in the aftermath of the invasion into the Capitol building, still all too happy to play the fiddle that led these snakes to begin with. Other than some throaty words from the mouths of the very people who brought this danger to our door, little changed.
There is a cancer in America and it needs to be excised. Instead, one political party is quite busy figuring out how to make the best use of the tumor and then feigns outrage when the cancer metastasizes.
Don’t let them get away with it. Accountability must be a thing and political prices for the danger these people have created must be observed. This is no longer a political game, but a very real struggle to keep our Republic.