So That Was An Insurrection
I saw the pictures. I saw the videos. I saw the smashing of windows. I saw the cracked safety windows. I saw just how determined those people were to get into the capitol building. I saw evidence that if certain lawmakers were found alone, without defense, they would almost certainly have died. And I thought of Trump.
I see in Trump, a man desperate to hold onto the White House. This is a man who is a “billionaire”, who could have had anything that he wanted until he found something he could not have: another term as president. I saw that he was advocating for the disruption of the counting of the electoral votes from the election just passed. I saw that he wanted yet another day in court. And I saw many of his allies flee in the days after the insurrection.
Yes, that was an insurrection. They called it. When some people come to the legislature to disrupt or to stop the business of The People, that’s insurrection. It has been a difficult week for the president, even if only by his own hand. For now, the House AND the Senate are talking impeachment. We saw the resignations at the cabinet-level fly so as to avoid a vote on Amendment 25. People are fleeing President Trump because he instigated violence.
Twitter and Facebook have both permanently banned Trump. They have a right to do this under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. They have a right to moderate their content. Though I am not a Trump supporter in any sense of the word and never was, I will miss his tweets. I will miss them not in the sense that I enjoyed his tweets, I will miss knowing what was going on with him, unfiltered by his handlers. When I saw a tweet from Trump, I knew it was from Trump. But all that is history now. Trump has lost his 88 million followers on Twitter, and god knows how many others on Facebook.
As I surveyed the pictures and read the stories of the conflict at the capitol, I saw a group of people intent on doing harm. They may have seen themselves as righting a wrong, but when a mob descends on the business of Congress, discipline goes out the window. Those people damaged state property, and repairs will cost the state money. People died during the insurrection. Two were by violent conflict, the rest were medical emergencies experienced during the insurrection.
I get it that those people wanted to stop the counting of the Electoral Votes. But once they got there, they were taking down flags and replacing them with Trump campaign flags, breaking glass, and sitting in chairs where they did not belong. I can imagine the sense of personal violation that one might feel to see a selfie on Twitter of someone sitting in your chair at your office while you were away. I saw a picture of one man with a wrinkled envelope from Nancy Pelosi’s office. He did not have a mask on.
With every picture, I could see people that could not see the consequences of their actions. They thought everything would be cool. They’d raise a little hell and then they’d all go home. More than 50 people were arrested. Many will spend time in jail. Hefty fines will be imposed. Employment may be even harder for them to find after their faces circulate a few times on social media.
The media has noticed the tepid response of law enforcement, too. They have compared the law enforcement response during the insurrection to the BLM protests. The media have taken note that the confrontation was far more violent and that law enforcement was far more aggressive with BLM than they were with the people who invade the capitol building. They say that the difference had something to do with the color of the skin and the political bias of the protesters.
I have to admit that I was surprised to see a picture of a wood frame with a noose and the capitol in the middle. Did these people actually think they were going to hang somebody there? That, I think is the most harrowing aspect of the insurrection. There were people in attendance who had built a hanging platform and who is to say that their display was just for aesthetics? I think that if they built it, they were planning to use it. To me, that was the scariest part of the insurrection. These people are unhinged. No trial, no judge, no jury. Just hanging.
My impression of the people who showed up for the “rally” is that they lacked any sense of agency. They showed up for Trump. Trump wasn’t there. They descended upon the capitol to stop the counting of the Electoral Votes as if the votes of 81 million people didn’t even matter. They were determined to recast the election in their favor, convinced of Trump’s words, that the election had been stolen from them. They seemed to be compelled by the agency of Trump.
There were more than 60 lawsuits over the last presidential election. Nearly all of them were summarily dismissed for lack of standing or jurisdiction. That most likely means that they were poorly framed lawsuits, wrong venue, wrong cause of action. They were decided by judges who don’t like to be overruled. Many of those judges were appointed by Republican presidents, including Trump. Every lawsuit was vigorously contested and scrutinized. Few of them had enough of anything to get past a motion to dismiss. And that one lawsuit that was favorable to Trump wasn't enough to change the outcome.
This last election was one of the most heavily scrutinized, observed, analyzed elections in history. If there was evidence of widespread fraud, we would know about it. There was none. Not even Bill Barr, the US Attorney General appointed by Trump himself, could find any evidence of widespread fraud. Yet Trump continued to carry on, lambasting or firing anyone who contradicted him.
After the riotous insurrection, even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is talking impeachment. But that must be only for show because he won’t let impeachment start until after Trump has been evicted. I suppose even he needs to save face after supporting and protecting Trump for 4 years. The House may submit letters of impeachment, but I think the odds are slim to remote that Trump will be removed from office before Inauguration Day.
So that was an insurrection that was brought about by Donald Trump. I’m surprised that anyone took him seriously enough to invade the capitol building and try to stop the counting of electoral votes. I am somewhat relieved that it didn’t go worse than it did and that the authorities were able to restore order. And now that Trump has committed to an orderly transfer of power, even without an explicit concession, we can move on.