The U.S. Capitol Hill Riots
What will be the Fallout?
For 11 years we have been warning about the brittle nature of America and the potential for a civil war that leads to a breakup of the United States. The demonstration that led to the storming of the US Capitol on Wednesday proved that. It also tells us that we must see the event as one of many that have occurred in the recent past.
The events started with peaceful rallies near the White House, one of which was attended by President Trump. When they were over, the crowd migrated towards the Capitol, where events went out of control. Police started tear gassing some of the unruly demonstrators, which led to a break in police lines that allowed demonstrators to climb the Capitol steps and eventually open a door that allowed protestors to storm the Capitol.
Congress, which was in the process of validating the Electoral College vote for president evacuated the building and federal agents sealed the Senate and House chambers and took cover, with their submachine guns at the ready. Soon after, a federal agent shot and killed a Trump supporter – an Air Force Veteran of 14 years.
The shooting seemed to cause a return to sanity. Protestors started to drift out of the Capitol and law enforcement managed to clear the building without any further major violence.
The short-term impact was obvious. Republicans who had planned to challenge the votes in several states lost their desire for debate and Biden was officially named the president elect. Many Republicans who had denounced the violence of BLM and Antifa protests were forced to also condemn the “Trump inspired” riots.
President Trump seemed to have lost his political drive. He told the protestors to go home, quietly recognized Biden as president elect, and promised a smooth transition. He then left the White House for the presidential retreat at Camp David in the Maryland mountains.
Democrats saw this as a last chance to corner Trump. Some called for his impeachment, even though the impeachment process takes months, when Trump has less than two weeks left in office. Others, including the Speaker of the House, called on Vice President Pence to use the 25thAmendment to remove Trump – a process that also takes longer than Trump’s remaining time in office.
But all of this was political theater that will do nothing to address the problems that have led to major outbreaks of violence in 2020 by BLM and Antifa, the protest in Ferguson in 2014, and an increase in murders in the US. Nor will it address the concerns that led to the Washington invasion of the Capitol Hill of Wednesday or previous events like the Bundy Ranch standoff.
As President John Kennedy once said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, make violent revolution inevitable.”
Violent revolution is looking more inevitable in the US.
The mid-term and long-term impact will be much greater.
Those who think that the storming of the US Capitol was an unusual event that won’t be repeated are wrong.
The same thing occurs at the state level. In May 2011, thousands of left-wing protestors rushed the Wisconsin State Capitol and forced their way in. They were protesting a bill that limited collective bargaining rights for public workers.
There were also dozens of demonstrations held at state capitols on Wednesday, although they seemed generally more peaceful.
Clearly, the fractures in American society – both on the left and right – have not been healed and appear to be growing worse.
This raises questions about what the government and others will do to repair the damage. President Elect Biden’s speech to the nation on Thursday called the protestors “insurrectionists” and “domestic terrorists.”
Biden is not the only one. Many are calling for prosecuting Trump supporters. David Atkins, the regional director for California’s Democratic National Committee (DNC) said Trump supporters should be interned in “re-education camps.” He referred to them as, “conspiracy theory fueled belligerent death cult against reality and basic decency.”
An airline workers union wanted to prevent them from flying home.
Some Democrats like Congresswoman Cori Bush are demanding the expulsion of Republican members of Congress for sedition and domestic terrorism.
ABC News political director Rick Klein called for “Cleansing the movement he commands.”
Historically, demonizing a large part of the population has never been a successful tactic to prevent or stop a civil war.
While many of Republicans in America still think President Trump is responsible for the storming of the Capitol, there is a fight within the GOP that is ready to break out. Anti-Trump forces in the party are allying with moderate Republican politicians who will seek the 2024 presidential nomination. They will seek to retake control of the party in the next few months.
So, where does this leave Trump? Despite his popularity with a large segment of the voters, his chances of returning to the presidential race are small. Having served one term already, if he runs and wins, he will automatically become a “lame duck” president. Parties prefer a candidate that can run for reelection, help candidates down-ticket and complete long-term programs instead of a “4 years and out” president.
The future of Congress is still in doubt. The Senate must vote on whether to retain the filibuster rule. The rule prevents quick legislative action and could hamper Democratic action on health care the environment, gun control, and increasing the size of the Supreme Court to negate the conservative majority on the current court. However, with the GOP holding 50 seats in the Senate, they only need one Democrat to side with them, and it appears that Democratic Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia has indicated that he prefers to retain the filibuster.
The 50-50 Senate tie, with the tie breaking vote going to the future Vice President Harris makes it easier for the Biden to nominate Cabinet members and judges without as much interference from the Senate Republicans.
The long-term damage could be considerable. Although BLM and Antifa were shown some leniency during the summer protests, the same people who argued for leniency are now calling for tough treatment for the pro-Trump protestors. The news site Vox praised the riots last summer as “scary but can lead to serious social reforms.”
Thursday Vox said every Capitol protester “should be arrested”
Digital free speech is also threatened. In the 24 hours after the Capitol siege, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube has all acted against conservative sites, including President Trump.
The biggest threat is the move towards totalitarianism. Some Democrats have argued for calling the Covid pandemic a national emergency and then bypassing Congress and legislative action to institute controversial laws.
Then there are Trump supporters and conservatives that Biden has called “insurrectionists” and “domestic terrorists.” Calling for a national emergency because of the threat of insurrection could allow Biden and others to move quickly on gun control, naming conservative groups as terrorist organizations, detention without Habeas Corpus, etc.
These are tactics that have never stopped a revolution in the past. But they have been responsible for many “Dirty Wars.”
Meantime, the issues that caused the protest on Wednesday remain – Double standards, growing government interference in American lives, Washington’s powerful but invisible bureaucracy, illegal immigration, and election reform remain unsolved.
Which brings up Kennedy’s quote again “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.”
The momentum created by the Washington protest of January 6th, 2021 does not slow down, even of Trump disappears from the scene. As protests across the country showed, this is a national issue. The movement has a martyr, Ashli Babbitt, a 14-year Air Force veteran who was killed. It also appears that many militia units are being activated across the nation.
Ironically, the one clear justification for civil unrest and insurrection can be found in America’s founding document, the Declaration of Independence. It stated, “Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it.”
These words were written by Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States nearly 250 years ago. And the vast majority of those protesting on Wednesday were aware of those words and what they meant. They were not insurrectionists in their own mind, but, in the words of Jefferson, were merely fulfilling their duty.