As a country we are in a state of emergency; however, none of this should come as a surprise since it has been escalating steadily for the last four years. All of the distrust, lies, and purposeful public manipulation from Donald Trump has finally bubbled over. For those in Washington who sat, watched, and enabled him were playing with fire the whole time. They deserve to get burned. On January 6th, a day after Georgia’s run off election, the same day as the confirmation of President Elect Joe Biden, a rally was organized attempting to seed doubt in the validity of our most recent Presidential election with unfounded and disproved claims of voter irregularities. This rally morphed into a coordinated and planned riot that forced itself into the capitol building. Violence, death, looting, and destruction followed in its wake but what resonates most was the loss of any sense of self respect. Perhaps no action was more symbolic than a rioter pulling the American flag off of the flagpole adjacent to the Capitol Building, dropping it on the ground, and raising a Trump flag in its place: an action so brazen as to show a divided nation, and an anxiously watching world, that the right wing extremists now believe their fearless demigod of a leader is greater than our Country and its history.
The President’s personal attorney Rudy Guilianni has spearheaded the legal opposition to the results of the 2020 Presidential election, claiming rampant voter fraud yet having no concrete evidence other than signed affidavits that were, at the end of the day, all considered hearsay by multiple courts. The issue with these affidavits is most cases were found to be “incorrect and not credible” due to most of them not being filed in court, keeping them outside of perjury statutes that are rarely ever convicted due the witness’ ability to say that they unknowingly gave false information. This reduces most of these claims to gossip, hearsay, and conspiracy theory. Aside from the 59 court losses the Trump legal team has faced in 6 States, the President and his most loyal minions have continued to push false claims including “dead people voting,” Clinton voting machines erasing votes, ballot machines changing parts to erase parts, and fake ballots all holding zero validity.
In my eyes this has been Trump attempting to save what bit of his ego is left after the biggest loss to a sitting President campaigning for a second term. His dangerous rhetoric has been repeated by pundits in the twitterverse as well as Fox News. It has even echoed in the chambers of Congress and the Senate by his devoted lackeys. When his efforts in the courts have failed repeatedly, his followers on the internet organized the MAGA Millions march on Washington to protest joint sessions of Congress confirming the Electoral College results ensuring Joe Biden’s Presidential victory. The morning of the confirmation hearings, Trump, Don Jr., and Rudy Guiliani spoke to the crowd instructing them to “take the Country back” “march down Pennsylvania Ave,” “get out there and fight harder,” and “try trial by combat.” Even though these political talking heads don’t live in everyday reality like the rest of us, their followers took their words to heart by going to the Capitol Building to incite chaos.
In the Chambers
Once the thousands of protesters reached the Capitol building it was obvious that the police were drastically outnumbered and overwhelmed. While this was going on, Senators in the chambers were arguing the validity of the election results while the mob outside was protesting. Before confirmation, the results were debated and the floor was open for speakers of both parties pleading their case. The most glaring truth was the schism in the Rebulican party between Trump’s most loyal backers and establishment Republicans. Former Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell, who has been instrumental to Trump’s Republican party, said “Trump claims the election was stolen. The assertions range from specific local allegations to constitutional arguments to sweeping conspiracy theories.” He went on to say, ”The voters, the courts and the states have all spoken. They’ve all spoken. If we overrule them, it would damage our Republic forever.”
The opposition, led by Ted Cruz (Texas(R) and Josh Hawley (Missouri(R) both argued that there needed to be further investigation into the election without presenting any compelling reason for doing so other than polls showing that “American’s believe the election was rigged” and that an audit was needed to ensure their trust in the election process. Sadly, those people need to understand that no matter how much you try to speak something into existence, that doesn’t change the reality that the American electorate already made their collective voice heard this past Fall. To quote the Rolling Stones: “you can’t always get what you want.” Hawley claimed that this hearing was the place to vent such grievances, unsurprisingly paying no mind to the multiple lawsuits filed by the Trump team that were lost or thrown out as well as the audits and recounts in several states. About two minutes after Senator James Langford of Oklahoma(R) took the stand, the puzzled Senator saw his aid approaching him and said on a hot mic “the protestors are in the building.”
The rowdy crowd was becoming more disorderly outside of the building pushing capitol police closer and closer to the chamber doors. With the building surrounded, the protestors turned into terrorists once they breached the doors in an orchestrated attempt to intimidate our political system. In essence, there was a coordinated attempt to overturn the results of a free and fair election using violence and terror to coax government officials. This is what is commonly referred to as a coup, the first of its kind in modern American history.
Once in the building the brazen mob took photos of themselves stealing and destroying government property, most with contentious smiles of satisfaction on their faces. Images poured in on social media and news outlets that have now been burnt into our memories. Perhaps no photo was more telling than the one of the man parading the confederate flag, a symbol for a treasonous rebellion against the Union, in the halls of the Capitol Building. The Mob’s relentless violence left 5 people dead including a Q-Anon supporter shot for pushing through a defense barrier and a Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick who was struck in the head and succumbed to his injuries. Among the wreckage were pipe bombs, molotov cocktails, and firearms. Undoubtedly, the events of January 6th is a tragedy, but it’s hard to wonder if the violence or the morally corrupt propaganda is at fault?
I don’t believe that the Capitol’s insurrection is completely Trump’s fault but he does bear the brunt of the responsibility. Many of his most supportive backers the past four years have distanced themselves and some have even stepped down from their respective positions. It’s almost as if the game is over and these politicians who speak in hyperbole now see that their words have consequences. We watched the monster that they created spin out of control but this outcome has multiple contributing factors. The American Media perpetuates fear and doesn’t hold itself accountable across many platforms. Today media literacy has never been more important to give users critical thinking to evaluate sources, mitigating the possibility of being manipulated.
I don’t know how to feel about Trump being permanently removed from Twitter but Twitter is a private company with terms of service that can take away your right to use the service if you violate their rules. Like many forums on the internet, inciting violence is never tolerated. I believe Trump fanned the flames intentionally of those supporters to cause chaos, it’s been building to this point since election day. The gravity and consequences of this insurrection will be substantial, possibly shaping much of the next generation of politicians. A common conservative trope is that liberals are overreacting to the events of this week but this event is as serious as it gets. Some still haven’t learned their lesson. Florida Representative Matt Gaetz has doubled down, claiming that it was ANTIFA who stormed the capital disguised as Trump supporters hours after the attack took place. Baseless assertions such as these are part of the reasons why this insurrection took place to begin with. The lack of accountability shown by Rep. Gaetz is but a reflection of the Republican party itself under the leadership of Donald Trump.