January 6, 2021

Thoughts on the Recent Insurrection

 Where should I start? Today held much promise. It seemed likely that two Democrats had won senatorial elections in Georgia, thereby giving Democrats control of the Senate. And Congress was supposed to officially count the Electoral College votes that would definitively make Joe Biden the next president. Republican lawmakers were expected to object to some of the votes, but those objections could only delay the inevitable, not change the outcome in any way.

Earlier in the day, however, President Donald Trump, addressing the crowds he had encouraged to come to Washington for this momentous day, sent an angry mob off the Capitol to use force to, if not change the result of the election, at least dramatize their displeasure. To the surprise of many—and apparently to D.C. law enforcement—the Trump-enraged mob stormed the Capitol. As I watched the television coverage, I was distressed as the angry Trumpists mounted the steps of the Capitol. Surely, they won’t be allowed to enter the building, I thought. But soon enough, they were in the building, breaking windows, breaching the Senate chamber, and invading the offices of lawmakers.

I had always thought that this sort of thing never happened in the United States. We are not a banana republic subject to periodic coups. But it was happening. In a sense, I felt personally violated; the Capitol is the people’s house as much as is the White House. Those animals who had broken in claiming it was their house, thereby relinquished their right to claim it,

Throughout the day, the president ignored pleas to call off his insurrectionists. Only late in the day did he advise them to “go home with love & peace.” But he did so while still asserting that victory had been “so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away” from him and his partisans.

As I write this, the Congress apparently intends to reconvene in a few minutes to complete the task that was interrupted earlier this afternoon. Police and national guard troops have cleared the Capitol and are creating a widening perimeter around the Capitol complex. A six o’clock curfew is in effect. It isn’t clear if the insurrection is over. Apparently, only one person was killed.

I will need time to process the events of the day. For now, all I can do is ask questions:

  • Why was the mob allow to enter the Capitol? The large, angry gathering was not a surprise—the president had been encouraging it. Why was there not a larger law-enforcement presence?
  • Who was responsible for the light law enforcement presence?
  • Why were not thousands of people arrested?
  • I saw Capitol police with nightsticks being chased by the mob inside the Capitol. Why were the insurrectionists not met with assault rifles?
  • What mayhem will happen tonight or tomorrow?
  • Should not we impeach the president for encouraging insurrection or remove him from office via the Twenty-fifth Amendment? Trump still has two weeks in office the destroy the Republic.

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