One week ago, in my listing of significant themes of 2020, I mentioned that Trump was planning a rally. Then I recounted the violent and authoritarian tendencies of his supporters. On Jan 6, as both houses of Congress met to confirm the election, Trump called for his supporters to show strength, to convince Congress to reject the election. Rudy Giuliani called for a â€œtrial by combatâ€. Then his followers all marched to the Capitol building. <b>Then the pushed their way into the Capitol building, overwhelming police, killing one officer and injuring more than fifty.</b> These are people who see themselves as partiots. Here are some of their patriotic deeds: They vandalized:
- Smashed windows, broke doors, pinned an offer between doors while they battered their way inside.
- Broke glass, vandalized paintings.
- They reportedly shit inside the building and spread it around.
- They broke mirrors, destroyed furtniture, generally smashed things up.
- They looted numerous items, including the House speakerâ€™s lectern.
They brought death:
- They fatally struck one officer with a fire extinguisher.
- One rioter, at the front of the pack, got herself shot trying to break down the doors.
- Two of them died from the sheer excitement, a heart attack and a stroke.
- One of them was crushed. They literally tread on her.
- They used bear spray against law enforcement and other opposition.
- They brough pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails (which thankfully went unused for the most part).
- They erected a gallows. A number of them were recorded calling for the murder of Pence, Pelosi and others.
- They actively searched for named lawmakers, even asked for directions from subdued Capitol police officers.
- They entered the offices of Pelosi, Schumer and others, where they broke things, rifled around, left taunting notes, and stole computers with potentially sensitive government information.
- One man was photographed carrying zip ties used to detain prisoners. It seems he intended to take hostages, but was unable to find his targets.
- They displayed the Conferate battle flag in the house of Union government, something that never happened before.
- They did these things while calling themselves â€œpatriotsâ€ and everyone else â€œtraitorsâ€.
And when the carnage was over, many of them cried in social media postings about how they were mistreated by law enforcement. One woman was recorded apparently rubbing an onion on her eyes to look more sympathetic. She claimed to have been pepper sprayed. It seems to me they didnâ€™t use enough.
This level of violence was shocking, but some level of violence was totally anticipated. Snopes analyzed whether Trump â€œincitedâ€ the violence, and their conclusion (thus far) is â€œmixedâ€. I think theyâ€™ve really stretched to appear fair on this one. Trump has advocated non-specific violence from the very beginning of his campaign. He invited a mob to the Capitol, told them to â€œshow strength,â€ gave them their targets, told everyone the desired political outcome, and unleashed the mob. Any reasonably informed person would expect some degree of violence designed to intimidate and force a political outcome, instigated by our governmentâ€™s chief executive, who acted with a motive to retain power. This is what it looks like to â€œrig an electionâ€. Reason Magazine author Jacob Sullum put it succinctly:
Trump said the "Save America March" would be peaceful, but his apocalyptic rhetoric had predictable consequences.
...After Trump told the protesters that their country was about to be destroyed by an illegal usurper, the idea of cheering the "brave" lawmakers who side with Trump and booing the ones who side with reality must have seemed like pretty weak tea. Some of them evidently thought that "show[ing] strength" required more than that, especially after it became clear that Pence was not riding to the rescue of the republic.
In addition to the violence at the US Capitol, violent Trump mobs appeared at government buildings around the country. In Salt Lake City and Los Angeles (and undoubtedly more places), they attacked random bystanders, the press, and threatened law enforcement. These â€œralliesâ€ represent a coorinated nationwide attempt at political coercion. More than any other comparison, it brings to mind the Beer Hall Putsch or Mussoliniâ€™s coup. Some analysts (including Snopes) point out hair-splitting differences like, â€œTrumpâ€™s riot wasnâ€™t intended to sieze power, since heâ€™s already the President, therefore itâ€™s not a coup.â€ This argument is like saying somebody stole money, but it wasnâ€™t actually stealing because they already had money. If Trump had his rally on Jan 7, would it be a coup? What about Jan 20 or Jan 21? Clearly his intent to sieze power in the near future by changing the election.
Trump represents a threat to our Republic and Constitution. Heâ€™s brainwashed his supporters into believing they must save the country from invisible threats. After their revolt at the Capitol, they have entered a new phase and are more dangerous than theyâ€™ve ever been. Deluded or not, they have declared war against their own country, and that makes them traitors.
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