The January 6 protest in Washington, D.C. was a unique moment in the history of the United States, in several ways. A massive march on Capitol Hill may not have prevented the inevitable certification of Joe Biden’s alleged victory in the presidential election, but it did alter the political landscape. Was it MAGA Country’s last hurrah, though, or the beginning of a new consciousness in America?
For the first time, tens of thousands of ordinary Americans from across the land converged on the capital, not to protest some despicable government policy or demand government action on an issue, but in direct support of a single man who happens to be the president.
When Government Fears the People…
Also, this is one of the few times since the country’s very founding that the ruling class is afraid. The wails of anguish heard across the District of Columbia and throughout the offices of establishment media organizations is real enough. Even most Republicans have joined the chorus of outrage directed at President Trump, though it could be argued that he personally did nothing to spark his supporters’ siege of the Capitol, which was going to happen with or without his speech earlier that day.
It would be easy to imagine that the anger over the unrest in Washington is fake. After all, there was relatively little violence, considering the sheer number of people that flowed down Constitution and Pennsylvania avenues to make themselves heard outside the marbled halls of Congress. Also, in comparison to the chaos, death, and destruction inflicted upon several U.S. cities by left-wing extremists over the course of many weeks, the D.C. protesters were remarkably restrained.
But that anger rippling through the corridors of power and radiating out to all those who think they have some kind of divine right to rule is real enough – and it comes from fear.
No Failed Insurrection
The truth is, had Trump’s supporters decided that violence and vandalism were their preferred expressions of anger – had they been intent on bringing down the lawmakers and putting a stop to the transfer of executive power – they would have come armed to Washington and could not have been stopped. The mass of humanity that flowed up to the very walls of the Capitol Building was easily sufficient to overrun the place entirely.
Had the MAGA crowd considered using the tactics of the far left, the bodies of police officers would have littered the grounds, and thousands would have rampaged through the Senate and House chambers, destroying and burning as they went. That wasn’t the plan, however. That is not how most Trump supporters believe things should be done.
Members of Congress cowered as just a few protesters – who many suspect were not real Trump supporters – cavorted around the building and made the most of their photo ops. Sadly, one police officer was killed but so was one female Trump supporter, shot by a federal agent or a plain-clothes Capitol Police officer. Three others also died of as yet unspecified causes. The deaths are a tragedy. Indeed, it is tragic that even a specter of political violence hangs over the last free country on Earth.
This was no insurrection. If it was, the protesters would still be occupying the Capitol Building today and there would be no inauguration of Joe Biden on January 20. This was an expression of collective anger and pent-up frustration, made worse by the presence of agitators who may or may not have been Antifa or perhaps even government operatives. The nation will likely never know the truth about who really was behind the violence.
A New Awareness?
The big takeaway from the event, however, was that MAGA Country, now all but abandoned by the Republican invertebrates in Congress, learned that it can rattle the cages of our supposedly elected leaders. More importantly, those officials know it now, too, which is why some of them are already attempting to brand the demonstrators as terrorists.
Perhaps – hopefully – that knowledge will be enough to curb some of the worst authoritarian tendencies of the new and soon-to-be all-powerful Democratic Party and its Republican house pets. After all, even though Donald Trump has only a couple of weeks left in the White House, MAGA Country can return to the Capitol any time it chooses.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.