I’ve tried several times over the last few days to write about last Wednesday’s insurrection at the US Capitol, but was having trouble finding the words. I generally don’t blog about politics, because politics are angry-making and I prefer to stay on the side of whimsy. This cannot go without comment though.
The events of last Wednesday enrage me. I was watching C-Span to see the counting of electoral votes. C-Span’s whole schtick is that it’s parliamentary government in action so it’s usually the height of boring. But then partway through the vote counting and objection speeches, insurrectionists breached the Capitol and the Congress had to be evacuated.
We already knew the so-called “stop the steal” rally was going to be noisy and awful, but then Rudy Giuliani suggested trial by combat, and Trump himself egged on his cultists, telling them to march to the Capitol.
Like so many of you, I watched the news in real time, horrified at what I was seeing. Watching the insurrectionists replace the US flag with a Trump flag was stomach-churning. By 6pm, a curfew had been declared for Washington, DC, and soon after for nearby Arlington, which is where I live.
I’m four miles from the Capitol building, as the crow flies. About six miles by bike. It’s an eighteen-minute ride to the nearest Metro stop for the Capitol. In other words, everything that happened was actually fairly close.
Being on the other side of the Potomac River made it feel distant, but it really wasn’t. That became more evident when I learned that many of the folks who traveled to DC for the insurrection were staying at AirBnB’s in nearby Rosslyn and in the suburbs closer to me.
As more information became available, it became more and more clear that this wasn’t just a bunch of misguided Trump cultists protesting, it was much, much more chilling. Pipe bombs and other improvised explosive devices were recovered from the Capitol building. Members of the alt-right had been sharing maps of the Capitol, including diagrams of the tunnels beneath the building. Some of the insurrectionists were carrying zip ties. A gallows was erected nearby. It became more and more clear that if the insurrectionist mob had managed to reach our elected officials, there would have been public executions. The Confederate flag was finally marched into the Capitol, more than 150 years after they lost the American Civil War. This was an attempted coup.
Trump has spent four years calling the media the enemy of the people, and so his cultists screamed at journalists, chased them, destroyed their cameras and equipment. I cannot imagine the courage it takes to objectively cover a snarling crowd who wants you dead. They are not paid enough.
We’ve all seen the aftermath. Five people are dead, including one policeman who was beaten to death by the so-called “Blue Lives Matter” crowd. Twitter finally decided that Trump was too dangerous to be allowed to remain on the platform. A variety of seditious insurrectionists and agitators were suspended and removed from various social media platforms. Helicopters overhead have been more numerous and frequent than before. Facebook banned Trump’s account. They’re putting an “unclimbable fence” around the Capitol, and the National Guard will be stationed in and around DC through the Inauguration.
Right-wingers left (or were forced off of) their social media accounts in droves, choosing to go with friendlier platforms like Gab and Parler, at least until Amazon Web Services terminated Parler’s account, making it very difficult for them to maintain enough capacity for all their hateful members.
The FBI and various state law enforcement agencies have been making arrests as they identify people – the last count of arrests I saw was 69 people out of the many thousands who were present. The House Homeland Security Committee is now asking the FBI and TSA to add participants of the insurrection to the no-fly list. Right-wing media like Faux News are still pushing the lie that there were Antifa members dressed as Trump supporters and they’re the ones who overran the Capitol. That lie is easily disproven since the insurrectionists are so proud of their insurrection that they keep posting their crimes to social media.
Thanks to those social media posts, many of those who posted their presence are finding that their neighbors and colleagues don’t much like traitors to the country, and so many of them are losing their jobs: CEOs, teachers, law enforcement officers, elected officials.
One QAnon-supporting Congresswoman live-tweeted Nancy Pelosi’s location to insurrectionists. This was an attempted coup, plain and simple. These people wanted to execute their political opponents and overthrow the democratically elected leadership. I am beyond pissed off.
This isn’t the end of it, of course. The crowd that did this last Wednesday considers it a successful trial run. They’ll be back. They already announced that they’re coming back around the 17th, through Inauguration Day.
I was really excited to live locally for a Presidential Inauguration, but the pandemic was already putting a kibosh on the traditional Inaugural Parade. Between that and the obviously dangerous events of last Wednesday, it’s looking more and more like there will be absolutely no public events to see. And even if there were, it seems like going across the Potomac to see them would be a terrible idea.
This is far from over. Trump incited this insurrection and needs to be removed from office sooner than his already-scheduled departure on the 20th, either by the 25th amendment or by impeachment and removal. His Sedition Caucus need to resign their seats in Congress: Ted Cruz (Tex.), Josh Hawley (Mo.), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), James Lankford (Okla.), Cynthia M. Lummis (Wyo.), Tommy Tuberville (Ala.), Steve Daines (Mont.) John Neely Kennedy (La.), Bill Hagerty (Tenn.), Mike Braun (Ind.) and Roger Marshall (Kan.).
The people who entered the Capitol need to be found, arrested, and prosecuted. There must be consequences,.
This isn’t over. Trump’s cult is still here, and they’re still dangerous. They want civil war. They want blood. They are not Americans, they are domestic terrorists.
I usually close my posts with a fun related question but I’m really not in the mood today. I’m still angry.