Ignorance is bliss? Only if you’re ignorant of all things. Particularly all things related to politics and how the world works. There’s another level of ignorance, in which you are only aware of that which proceeds from your preferred echo chamber. Such ignorance is both purposeful and dangerous. We see that exemplified in both the lead-up and aftermath of the January 6th US Capitol riot.
On one side, there are those so convinced of a fraudulent election — by their information sources — they either pre-planned and equipped themselves for violence, or were at the very least easily manipulated by the mob and provocateurs into participation. From the other side, half the nation is already convinced — by their own leading voices — that anyone who attended that event is a white supremacist, has blood on their hands, and should now be cancelled from any and all participation in normal society. They should lose their jobs, have their college degrees revoked, be put on no-fly lists, have their speech and opinions de-platformed from all media outlets. Some from that side are even calling for government-sponsored “deprogramming” initiatives for Trump supporters.
Just yesterday, former CIA director John Brennan said the Biden administration is “moving in laser-like fashion to try to uncover as much as they can about what looks very similar to insurgency movements that we’ve seen overseas,” and describing those who rioted at the Capitol as “an unholy alliance” involving “religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, nativists, even libertarians.” He didn’t use the words “conservatives” or “Republicans,” or even “Trump supporters,” so one must assume he took care of that with “religious extremists, authoritarians, fascists, bigots, racists, and nativists.” (One wonders if he even knows what a libertarian is, but that is another topic, for another time.)
Do I believe the election was “stolen?” I certainly know there was significant fraud. Why? Because I paid attention to the math, unprecedented statistical anomalies, legislative testimonies, and video evidence. Was it enough to make a difference in the declared outcome? The courts declined to hear evidence and state legislatures chose to allow their respective results to stand. I have an opinion, which may or may not coincide with yours, but does it ultimately justify the violence and deaths on January 6th?
Let’s be brave for a moment, and not answer that question. Let’s instead ask more questions:
Had either the contested states or the Supreme Court overturned Biden’s declared victory, is there anyone — of any political leaning — who doubts the aftermath of such a decision in every major US city? Rather than Trumpophiles marching to the “Stop the Steal” chant, leftist reactionaries would have set our cities ablaze. Further, their functionaries in the media and on Capitol Hill would be telling us that we have to “understand the anger in the streets” over a “GOP coup to steal the election.” We’d have to watch thousands of hours of cable news coverage about the “stolen election,” and the “right of the people to take out their frustrations in protest, looting, and violence.” Oh . . . and never mind the burned down mom and pop businesses. “Insurance will cover the damage.”
Sound familiar? We lived through several months of just that kind of analysis and righteous justification following George Floyd’s death, last year. We have the videotape. Thousands of hours worth. And while permanently on the record, those very same voices make no such attempt to understand the frustrations of those who were sucked into the melee on Capitol Hill.
Do I really need to go into the obvious compare-and-contrast differences? I shouldn’t have to. If there’s any honestly-firing synaptic activity in your brain, you already know the difference in media and politico reactions hinge upon one thing, and one thing only: Donald J. Trump. If you supported him, then the blood of Jan. 6th is on your hands — whether or not you were in DC, or at home watching events unfold from your LazyBoy. You’re guilty. Period. You need to be deplatformed until after you’re deprogrammed.
Let’s ask a couple more questions:
Were any of the policing tactics used during BLM riots or the Capitol building either effective or justified? On the one hand, we’ve been told the force used by police at BLM’s “mostly peaceful protests” was over-reactionary because of the predominantly minority make-up of the people’s participating. (Never mind the hundreds of hours of video we have of pasty-white 20-somethings, dressed in black, leading the charge into police lines.) By contrast, we’re being told the Capitol Police went easy on Jan. 6th’s “mostly not-peaceful protestors” because of their predominantly white skin color.
I’m going to sidestep most narratives relating to and contrasting BLM vs. Capitol riots with the following statement:
Both the breach of the Capitol by pro-Trump antagonists and every BLM/Antifa burnt-out building was a direct result of intentional, political, chain-of-command allowance of escalated mayhem, violence, looting, property destruction, and trespassing. Those who died in each conflict were collateral damage and calculated risks toward more purposeful ends. Minneapolis never had to burn. Nor did any other American city. Those cities and the Capitol were ALLOWED to be looted and ransacked. Every policing agency in America had the means to stop each of those riots before they ever started. The Capitol building of the most powerful nation in the world was breached — by UNARMED combatants — only because it was ALLOWED to happen. (I know. I was there. I saw it with my own eyes. Have my own video.) To think, reason, or argue otherwise requires unfathomable depths of wanton ignorance, or . . . you’re an active part of the problem, itself.
That some are calling January 6th an act of “domestic terrorism” is absurd on its face, and itself an act of deliberate disinformation. Let’s not quibble over the many pained attempts to redefine “terrorism” to fit modern political correctness. (No. Flying the American flag on your front porch is not an act of terrorism against historically oppressed peoples.) Oxford Dictionary still defines the word in its purest form: “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” What happened on January 6th at our nation’s Capitol, instigated by a bunch of unarmed antagonists, who drew a bunch of unarmed, flag-waving Trumpophiles into the fray was far more akin to an act of “domestic temper tantrum” than anything remotely resembling terrorism. Not to mention the fact that said tantrum was directed at the seat of government, itself, and not against “civilians.”
Knowing things requires one to carry special burdens. My latest burden, after what I witnessed on January 6th, is that I now trust almost no one. Certainly no one in government. Not the left or the right, neither the elected or the appointed. “Back the Blue” or “Defund the Police?” Neither concept is trustworthy when either can be worn as a political garment, or just as easily discarded, based on the prevailing winds of the day. “Defund the Police” was the 2020 battle cry of many on the left . . . before January 6, 2021. The Capitol Police budgets are now likely to soar in response to the Hill’s breach. Until then, legions of National Guard troops will instead stand post on that Thin Blue Line . . . and to guard that new “wall” around the Capitol.
(“Walls for we, but not for thee.” Hmmm?)
They allowed the disaffected plebs to have their fun on January 6th. Then, after acquiring new political weapons in their quivers, they beat their chests in horror, calling it “the darkest day in American history,” and labeling the unarmed participants as “insurrectionists” and “domestic terrorists” to justify an expanded police state. Likely, that “federal police force” that Obama hoped to create. (Remember? The one he said should be as large and well-equipped as the US military?)
Am I justifying the violence and death on January 6th? Absolutely not. But, I understand it. I also know it was planned, the authorities had the intel, and knew of its potential escalation. They feigned resistance against the unarmed hordes for a couple of hours, then threw the doors open. In the process they sacrificed one of their own, and took out one of the Trump loyalists. Then, and only then did police draw their weapons and clear the unarmed crowds. Something they could have done hours earlier, and none of this would have happened. (Just as they could have done in Minneapolis, Portland, and dozens of other American cities.) Instead, the police were ordered into a theatrical, orchestrated rope-a-dope until real blood was shed. Antagonists from right-wing militias and experienced left-wing insurgents were allowed to set the bait and draw the Trump faithful into their glorified hissy fit.
A new narrative was thereby created and statist elites now have more power than ever. Arrests are being made, both justified and of those for whom examples need to be made. Meanwhile, hundreds who were videoed burning and looting American businesses walk the streets with all charges dropped. Because, we have to understand their anger.
Sometimes I wish I didn’t know stuff. This time it’s not a hunch, or even the math. I saw what I saw with my own eyes, and have the video to back it up. As a result, I’ll carry a new burden for a long time.
Now . . . what to do with it?