The “January 6” hearings were a literal made-for-TV affair, including a prime-time session produced by famed former TV boss James Goldston. They have dominated US mainstream media coverage on weekdays without mass shootings for the past few weeks.
As usual during the current American political moment, many national and social media outlets are taking audiences to the edge of apocalyptic. Following revelations from former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson that the former president wanted to accompany his (at that time mostly peaceful) supporters to the Capitol, and that some people in the pro-Trump crowd may have owned personal firearms, anti-gun activist David Högg describe the events of January 6, 2021 as an “armed insurrection”. The Hoggster went on to say that there is “an overwhelming amount of evidence” that Trump was planning to “overthrow the government.”
Former GOP Congressman Joe Walsh went even further, to declare after a hearing that: “It was proven today that Donald Trump intended to lead an armed insurrection. He… wanted to take the capitol, and he wanted to go to the capitol with them to be reinstalled as king. Intense stuff, and Walsh and Hogg weren’t alone. Hashtags and slogans ranging from the simple #CassidyHutchinson to “We almost lost our country” have been circulating on Twitter and Facebook – sometimes trending – for days.
Did we Americans almost lose our country? Well no. At this point, it seems useful to recap what “January 6th” really was – an embarrassingly large and moderately bloody riot. Only four people died on Capitol Hill that day and all were Trump supporters: Unarmed rioter Ashli Babbitt was shot by a Capitol cop; two rally participants were felled by heart failure; and a rioter died from an accidental drug overdose. Any higher quoted death totals generally include heroic officer Brian Sicknick – lost to a stroke on January 7, 2021 after battling rioters the day before – and law enforcement officers who have responded to the Capitol that day and committed suicide in the days and months that followed. . A distinguished Capitol officer frequently described as a “January 6th” victim, Billy Evans, was actually killed by a devout Nation of Islam supporter several months later.
In total, the real “January 6” riot was broken up by law enforcement in two to three hours, after which the results of the 2020 elections were officially certified. Without getting into the “ours is bigger than yours” game, it’s worth comparing “January 6th” to the bloody Black Lives Matter/Antifa riots (Minneapolis, Kenosha, Seattle/CHAZ, Atlanta, Chicago, the 120 Days of Portland Rage…etc) that ravaged the United States for most of 2020. These killed perhaps 30 people and caused at least $2 billion in recorded damage.
So what about this latest flurry of post-hearing riot stances: Was it a “Donald Trump coup attempt”? Well, again, no. Coups are almost always military in nature: the term, by definition, generally refers to the use of national or personal military forces by a defeated leader who attempts to regain or retain power.
Even if we accept that a mob of aging civilian yahoos wearing buffalo headdresses and Uncle Sam suits could theoretically launch a coup, a very minimal requirement for it to qualify as a coup would be knowledge of the alleged conspiracy on the part of his leader. . And, to date, literally no evidence has been presented that Trump knew of a planned riot.
What about an “armed insurrection” that “almost took over the country? Again, not quite. In fact, one of the most remarkable things about the violence on Capitol Hill was how rudimentary it all was in a country as well-armed as modern America. The argument that the rioters were heavily “armed” appears to stem from Hutchinson’s assertion that some weapons, legal or illegal, had been spotted in the initial crowd of tens of thousands. However, almost literally, no firearms or other effective projectile weapons were seized during the fighting or found in the Capitol.
A long article on the right Washington Examiner breaks down all weapons that have been captured or taken from arrestees. Some typical examples include ‘tomahawk’, ‘shield’, ‘firecracker’, ‘chemical irritant’ and ‘metal sign’. A well-prepared arrestee boasted of all of the following: “snowboard helmet, cane, master lock, [a] string’. Even the left-leaning Politifact was apparently only able to track down three Trumpers who brought real firearms to the smash – and all appear to have been found “on Capitol grounds” rather than inside the famed building itself. An amateur data analyst argues convincingly that, given rates of concealed gun carry among American adults, there were fewer guns in the US Capitol on January 6 than there would be in almost any other American adult crowd of similar size.
Etc. Even leaving aside the questionable veracity of some of the other testimony from a partisan hearing process – the image of a 74-year-old Trump trying to wrest the wheel of the presidential limo from a Secret Service agent me comes to mind – nothing presented so far makes me seriously think that America was ever in great danger. The United States of 2022 is, after all, not governed the same way Saxony was in 1066. If conservative looters had in fact occupied the Capitol for an entire day and injured 10-12 members of Congress in the process, they would then not really govern the United States. Instead, the National Guard and DC City police would have broken heads evicting them, and the election would have been certified on January 7 or 8.
None of this, of course, means that Trump should escape scathing criticism and mockery for his behavior in 2020. In fact, nonsensical claims about near-successful “coups” distract from the real shame. at the end of the Trump presidency – the man’s assertion, over a period of weeks, that the election was “stolen” from him. Frankly, there’s never been much evidence that this was true, and it’s probably not the kind of thing former college players like Nixon or Gore would have said out loud to a crowd even if it was the case. Simply put, there wouldn’t have been a deadly “January 6th” riot if the President of the United States hadn’t made dozens of public speeches claiming his office was stolen from him.
But, as we delve deeper, it’s worth remembering that even this absurd behavior didn’t happen in a bubble. While it is clearly not true that voting machines have been manufactured and programmed to register two Democratic votes for every Republican, it is indeed true that the 2020 election has been “fortified” against Trump by all sorts of Covid-19 voting protocols, behind-the-scenes alliances, relaxation of some rules, and more. We know this, in large part, because Time magazine said so openly.
It’s also simply a fact that the media and social media deliberately deleted the story of Hunter Biden’s laptop, which was full of content depicting the current president’s adult son smoking crack, posing with high prostitutes. high-end and international business leaders, and very likely involving his father as well. For weeks, anyone sharing the story of Hunter Biden’s laptop, which was immediately and falsely labeled Russian propaganda, was banned from social media. Incredibly, even the newspaper that published the story, the New York Postwas banned from major social accounts for several weeks.
Ugly stuff, all around. And it’s hard not to see similar crude partisan motivations behind the prime-time “January 6” hearings right now. Uncle Joe Biden, by all appearances, is well on his way to being one of America’s worst presidents of all time.
Under his watch, homicides in the United States have returned to the astonishing rate of 20,000 per year of the mid-1990s. Illegal immigration has reached record highs. Inflation has reached such levels that the median price of gasoline, in the low-cost central state where I live, is around $5.49 a gallon. And the president and his handpicked vice president, Kamala Harris, often seem barely able to communicate: among many other examples, the banner of support at a recent major Democratic event in Louisiana misspelled the name of this fucking state.
Given all of this, it must be incredibly tempting for President Biden and his party to keep the only Republican Biden might be able to beat in 2024 as important as possible. We shouldn’t allow that, or at least we shouldn’t fall for it. The last thing we need in the upcoming presidential election is a 2020 redux of the same two clowns facing off against each other again.
Wilfred Reilly is a dope columnist and author of Taboo: 10 facts you can’t talk about, published by Regnery. Follow him on Twitter: @wil_da_beast630