“Insurrection” eh? Strong word. The events of the Capitol Building attack—and it was indeed attacked—on January 6, 2021 are in the news and rightly so. Vice President Kamala Harris likened the attack to Pearl Harbor and September 11.
“Certain dates echo throughout history,” Harris said. “When our democracy came under assault. Dates that occupy not only a place on our calendar but a place in our collective memory. Dec. 7, 1941, Sept. 11, 2001, and Jan. 6, 2021.” https://www.reuters.com/world/us/exclusive-fbi-finds-scant-evidence-us-capitol-attack-was-coordinated-sources-2021-08-20/
President Biden was more cagey, but went farther, stating at the same event: “For the first time in our history, a president had not just lost an election, he tried to prevent the peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol.” https://www.npr.org/2022/01/06/1070931178/jan-6-anniversary-biden-speech-transcript
SO: an insurrection, and it was part of a plot to overthrow the government, which is sedition and also treason. The word is important. According to Webster’s dictionary, insurrection is:
- The act or an instance of open revolt against civil authority or a constituted government.
- A rising up; uprising.
- The act of rising against civil authority or governmental restraint; specifically, the armed resistance of a number of persons to the power of the state; incipient or limited rebellion. websters+dictionary+insurrection&ia=definition
The 6 vote Democratic majority in the US House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and over the protests of the Republican minority is currently holding hearings on what they call the insurrection. All the discussion is treating the Jan 6 ’21 event as the equivalent of Pearl Harbor, the Civil War, 9/11. In other words, an armed uprising, an act of war. Biden’s words specifically accuse Former President Trump of engaging in a conspiracy with the mob to seize the government, which is treason.
If this is indeed what occurred, then certain things should happen and would be justified. Donald Trump should be arrested and put on trial. Members of Congress who were implicated (“colluded?”) should be disciplined and possibly expelled. Citizens and organizations could be investigated and charged. An entire crackdown and repression of its opponents by the Democratic Administration might be justified.
But what if there was no real “insurrection” as intended, no organized revolt? What if it was basically a big demonstration that got out of hand? A big angry mob and a weak police presence. There are some other questions: why wasn’t the law enforcement corps stronger? Did the Capitol Police stand down during the riot? Police Told to Hold Back on Capitol Riot Response, Report Finds – The New York Times (nytimes.com) Who opened doors? Why wasn’t the National Guard deployed, as Trump requested?
None of this justifies the criminal acts of the mob, but these questions undercut the narrative of a seditious insurrection to overturn the Constitution. And in fact, note that not one–not one–of the many defendants, has been charged with insurrection or sedition. It’s all criminal trespass, disorderly conduct, property destruction, etc. The guilty pleas are sad fools who admit to getting carried away. They’re having the book thrown at them, which is good. But it’s no coup d’etat.
So, ask yourself: why blow up a nasty riot into the Civil War, WWII, and 9/11 rolled into one? Who benefits from inflating the acts of an angry protest that met weak incident management into Fort Sumpter? Why call the riot of January 6, 2021 something it wasn’t?
A last interesting side note: On December 11, 2012 the Michigan legislature was debating the passage of the Right to Work Law. A large, angry mob formed outside. It broke into the Capitol Building with the intent of stopping the vote. A group of protesters actually got in the Senate Chamber and halted proceedings. They tried, but failed to bust into the House.
The mob did some damage to the building. No one called it an “insurrection.” Not even a riot. Some folks were charged. But the vote went ahead, and nobody compared the ugly scene to World War II or even the Toledo War. No Rep or Senator broke into tears about how their faith in America was shattered, or getting anxiety triggers. Nobody had to go into therapy either, although one of the legislators there was me—and some people say I should. But at least I don’t confuse a riot with a revolution—that’s just plain nuts.
And “Civil War?” Robert E. Lee had 75,000 men in the Army of Northern Virginia and he couldn’t get into the Capitol. I’d pull his statue down too.