National Guard troops began mobilizing in Washington more than a week in advance of the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris while House Democrats prepared to send articles of impeachment against President Trump to the Senate. Meanwhile, security is being ramped up at state capitols in response to a federal warning of violent protests.
The dramatic reaction to last week’s riot at the U.S. Capitol is in stark contrast to the general attitude about last summer’s riots, which caused an estimated $2 billion in damages in hundreds of cities and left dozens of people dead.
At that time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “People will do what they do.”
“What a difference a week makes. On Wednesday, we discovered that House Democrats actually support police. They are against mob violence. They believe in law and order. They believe in harsh punishment for rule breakers. They believe in accountability,” she said. “They care deeply about civility. They believe words matter. They abhor intemperate rhetoric. They are against coarse language. Fancy that.”
And Democrats “believe in a peaceful transition of power, at least this time, as opposed to 2016.”
“They believe in the Electoral College. They believe in the legitimacy of the people’s vote. They believe in walls, at least when it comes to protecting their own place of work. They even believe in bringing in the National Guard to quell civil unrest, at least when it comes to preserving their own peace. They believe in guns, at least when their own safety is at risk.”
She said they suffer, “almost to a man and a woman … from an acute case of hypocrite-itis.”
“Perhaps if Democrats had not normalized and encouraged violence when organized BLM-Antifa mobs began rampaging through our cities, the tragic events of Jan. 6 at the Capitol would not have occurred,” she suggested.
Devine cited the remarks of Rep. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, during the two hours of debate before the impeachment vote Wednesday.
“Last summer the Antifa and BLM riots swept across our country. Businesses were destroyed, cities burned. It was not like the horrible hours we had on January 6,” he said. “But rather, they went on for weeks and in some cases months. … So if there’s any silver lining in this dark cloud, it’s that our friends across the aisle have come to realize that riots are bad. We conservatives have known this all along.”
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., reminded his colleagues on Wednesday that the “politically motivated gunman” who shot him on a baseball field in 2017 was “heavily influenced by the demonization of congressional Republicans by some Democratic politicians, whose statements were amplified by the mainstream media.”
“In the aftermath of my shooting, I made a conscious decision not to hold anybody but the gunman responsible for that day’s events,” he said.
Scalise pointed out that the events at the Capitol were the result of a “powder keg that had been smoldering for some time.”
Devine suggested that if Joe Biden “had not spent two years muscling up to Trump, with threats like ‘I’d smack him in the mouth’ and ‘I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him,’ Biden’s pitch for civility might be more palatable.”
“Perhaps if Democrats had not spent the last four years calling Trump a dictator, authoritarian, Nazi, Hitler, white supremacist, anti-Semite, bigot, racist, hater, dangerous, demented and insane, then the hyperbole they used against him Wednesday might have been more effective,” she wrote.
In fact, the rules of the U.S. House typically forbid personal attacks. But for this week’s impeachment vote, the majority Democrats suspended that rule so that Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., could call Trump the “white supremacist-in-chief.”
And Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., called him the “racist-in-chief.”
Boulder Weekly columnist Caitlin Rockett charged that the “spectre of white nationalism hovered over the Capitol on Jan. 6.”
She said any divisions among evangelical Christians, “QAnon conspiracy theorists, elected officials (like newly minted West Virginia state delegate Derrick Evans), college professors (like CU-Boulder visiting scholar John Eastman, who spoke at Trump’s rally before the crowd moved to the Capitol) and overt white supremacists” appeared to be “removed.”
“While physical proximity to white supremacy does not make one a white supremacist, the power of racial identity is impossible to remove from the events that unfolded at the Capitol,” she said.
She quoted University of Colorado professor Benjamin Teitelbaum, who “studies far-right movements,” and claimed that former Trump adviser Steve Bannon likely saw “something good” in the riot, “the parliamentary process being disturbed, the rule of government coming on down.”
He charged that Trump followers “are motivated by upheaval and disruption of the governmental status quo from a nationalist perspective.”
Rockett also cited Jennifer Ho, who teaches “critical race studies” at the University of Colorado. Ho said Capitol protesters were either white supremacists or “driven by its deep influence on American behavior.”
“They genuinely believe that Donald Trump was the true winner of the election and that they were there to save democracy. And I don’t know what to say about that. That seems delusional, but I also think that’s part of white supremacy,” Ho charged. “White supremacy is such an ingrained ideology that it doesn’t allow you to think that whiteness isn’t going to prevail, that there’s going to be consequences for your actions, that other people may stereotype you or not give you the benefit of the doubt. All of that is related to an ideology of white supremacy that lets people act as if they can do whatever they want consequence free, because sadly that has been the history of the United States.”
She said minorities in support of Trump “are not exempt from acting on white supremacy.”
But Teitelbaum said there are dangers in the left’s assumption that “we’re just going to bring down the hammer of order and they will comply.”
“Extreme demonization of Trump carries a risk in that you’re not demonizing/impeaching/convicting/ostracizing a figure. What you’re doing is you’re essentially [demonizing] a large chunk of our population who identify with him as an icon for themselves.”
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