Today’s Pontificate – If you are any bit an American, today’s Capitol Hill assault has likely revealed an immense anger from within. It did me. But let’s not go all crazy here.
There’s no question this entire mob action was incited by Trump and carried forward during the earlier electoral vote count by the GOP challengers… but if you look at some of this we can filter some of the emotionalism out of the imagery of a mob assault on a branch of our government. Let’s explore…
You can see that the vast majority were white folks. Some have expressed a racial comparison that if this were a Black Lives Matter demonstration there would be more cops. Nothing racial here unless you want to make it that. We are way past “racial” regarding anything here. Actually… if you think about this, it was far less about “an armed insurrectionist mob” and way more about the Capitol Police, Homeland, the D.C. police.. being woefully unprepared to address the numbers of demonstrators. The demonstrators at large were not even thinking about a physical assault to enter the building. But the demonstrators, in typical mob mindset, saw an opening in that there was little police presence to stop them from trying to enter the building. A few people charged ahead and the rest followed.
I also did not see a lot of “armed mob”. No question firearms would be inside that crowd but by and large the intent of the demonstrators was not to go wildly shooting.. even when they got inside the building. Were weapons brandished and some fired? I was certainly not there but common sense suggests that any demonstration like this would like have a few who had weapons. A welcome aspect to the cops not being there is that their weapons didn’t come into play in trying to make arrests and/or restraining violent individuals. Police used flash-bangs, and a woman got shot, but so far no information on who shot her. That seems, so far, to have been a singular event.
What about the assault to get inside and what happened inside? I’ve not heard anyone trying to set fire to the place, although there was the expected tearing the place up a bit, and the temporary occupying of certain offices for personal selfie photo ops. I saw no one toppling statuary and I saw no spray paint graffiti on the walls, no wall defacing. The nut job who made it into Pelozi’s office left a handwritten message on her desk… but her office didn’t appear to have been disrupted, although there was some vandalism in other areas.
People started to dissipate after an hour or two… as the sun started to set and the local temps got cooler. Usually demonstrations of this numeric magnitude hang around into the evening or 24 hours, as demonstrators will camp on the streets or adjoining areas. The mayor of D.C. has declared a 6pm to 6am curfew, but it’s speculation if anything like that would be enforced. Judging from the people I saw from my very limited observation post in front of a TV, there was a fair representation of age groups.. and I highly suspect this was the kind of crowd where many would prefer to head back to the motel for dinner, drinks.. and maybe a party, before the curfew, and colder temps, kicks in. Although it seems some demonstrators are staying into the evening with authorities expecting worse after dark.
Was this an insurrection? I’m not aware of many, if any, past insurrections in Third World countries where weapons and violence.. and killings… weren’t part of the effort. This event had none of that. It sure didn’t appear that the mob was trying to topple the government or destroy democracy. To the best of my knowledge no members of Congress were harmed or assaulted, or their staff. Does that mean we aren’t in for something more serious in the next 14 days of Trump? I have no idea… but as I have been predicting for months, Trump is on a “scorched earth” personal vendetta and anything can happen. I personally think this was “simply” a disorganized mob that felt it had some enabled entitlement with no police response to oppose them. How the individuals end up being charged once all the camera footage and face recognition reveals the violators, is up to the law. I just see this less as a attempt at anarchy and far more about an angry mob letting off steam when authority wasn’t around. That does not mean to imply their reason for demonstrating was not political. Now.. this is not to suggest Trump isn’t encouraging an insurrection with his conspiratorial lies. He’s certainly encouraging his followers to domestic terrorism. One also has to take into consideration inside this mob mindset that some of this could be from the pandemic.. latent frustration to closings, bad economy, unemployment, family tragedies.
Lessons so far? There are some and more will unfold in the next few days. On the surface, those members of Congress in the middle of objecting to the electoral vote count should likely reconsider listening to Trump. There’s also the inept response by police who could have stopped all this from getting to the assault level. Preparation was poor and the person in charge of security should be fired post haste. As of writing this the woman shot earlier has died. Tragic for her family.. but we should consider ourselves fortunate that has been the only casualty… so far.
Trump remains a clear and present danger to the country and given his amazing video to try and convey to the demonstrators to go home while at the same time praising them for their efforts and again making the lie that he was an election victim to fraud, he continues to amaze. We shall see what the members of Congress do after all this, especially those GOP election conspiracy buffs. In the meantime.. Pence and the Cabinet should consider invoking the 25th. My greatest fear is that someone from the inside my cause harm to Trump… thus setting off his base to avenge somehow. That should never happen. Regardless, things are likely to get worse before they get better. Keep your seatbelts fastened.
I understand this is the first time the Capitol has been breached since the War of 1812 by the Brits. If I can leave the reader with something encouraging…. this is embarrassing to our nation.. but.. it’s a lesson that democracy should never be taken with complacency. It takes work to achieve it.. and work to retain it… from all enemies, foreign and domestic. We can consider this a wakeup call that many threats can be home-grown and not just from old international players. Democracy is vulnerable, but still resilient and defensible. This should be an object lesson not just for Americans but for the world. But other than the embarrassment, we still have the Constitution and it works. The Capitol itself is an icon representing our freedom and representative government, for sure… but in the end it is “just” a building and what may or may not happen to it will never remove our faith and belief in democracy and freedom because that is in the core of what it means to be an American.