This post is bound to make someone somewhere unhappy. Fair warning, this is an opinion piece, and it is going to be political. I’m even going to bring some religion into it. There’s no way around it.
What it’s not going to be is a news source. I’m not going to deliver a blow-by-blow of what went down in the District of Columbia capitol of the United States last week. I’m assuming that if you’re reading this, you’ve got the gist of it. No, this post is to talk about my response to the event. I’m going to bring in some religion thoughts on the matter as well. So, what did I think about the capitol riots?
Probably one of the most shameful things, in a presidency of shameful things, to happen during the Trump administration.
I’m not very secretive of my dislike for President Trump and his policies. Or for his attitudes, behavior, and leanings. Personally, I find Trump to be the poster child for the most dangerous type of adult mentality warned about in books like The Pinch. He’s incapable of losing or admitting fault, and is willing to say anything, and I do mean anything, to get what he wants. It’s how he’s leaving office with the lowest amount of campaign promises even attempted to be fulfilled (by which I mean actually took any steps to follow them at all), with around half. Much of what he did accomplish was the equivalent of a child running water over a toothbrush and making noises to cover up that they don’t want to brush their teeth. To the parent watching TV and barely paying attention, it certainly appeared to be an actual effort, but anyone who took a closer look knew that there was tomfoolery going on.
Now, I want to point out that this does not mean I preferred Biden. Or Hillary from 2016. Rather I found the whole trio all sorts of unpalatable as far as my political stance went. But as President Trump did win the election, that puts him and his policies in a direct hot seat for analysis, upon which I can very thoroughly say I dislike much of what he’s accomplished during his time in office. For example, for all Trump’s talk about “small business,” data released by his own administration for the 2016-2019 period (so without the absolutely colossal mishandling of Covid-19) shows that his practices and policies have been horrible for small businesses, which are fewer in number, paying higher taxes, hiring less people, and in general dropping across the board. And that was before Covid-19. Turns out all that talk about small business was just that: talk.
So yeah, I’m not fond of a President who seems far more concerned with talking very loudly about how well they’re brushing their teeth and how impressed their dentist will be while loudly running water over the brush and grinning at themselves in the mirror. So when President Trump became Calvin from Bill Watterson’s famous Calvin & Hobbes even before the election was over, stating that he had obviously won, why wouldn’t he win, and clearly any other result was simply cheating, well … Let’s just say a President of the US parroting an argument put forth by a six year old in a newspaper comic strip, but unironically didn’t fill me with much hope.*
*It’s worth pointing out, if I’m recalling the creator’s commentary correctly, that Watterson noted that Calvin’s character was supposed to be representative of his generation’s behaviors as children, and a worry that many of them never grew out of it.
Now, I’m going to set aside the question of election fraud, as well as the oddly specific criteria President Trump has approached it with. That’s a question for the courts to decide. I’m going to talk instead about what happened Wednesday.
It was a shameless act of sedition and insurrection, and I hope the courts bury those who took part in it deep in their legal system.
So yeah, that’s the short of it. I think what happened on Wednesday was one of the most disgusting events in modern politics, driven by a president who refuses to believe that he can ever lose, at anything, ever, or life is unfair. And yes, I will say driven by our President. I’ve read his speech he delivered to the mob that then stormed the capitol building attempting to both overthrow the vote and, at least from a large number of its participants (who helpfully streamed themselves quite publicly stating their intentions) find and kill a number of political leaders. Trump later claimed that he argued for peace, but the word “peace” in any form only comes up once, at the very beginning of his speech, where he states that they will soon be “peacefully and patriotically” making their voices heard. As this comes before a twenty-minute rant about how he’s been cheated that ends with “And we fight. We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” his claims of “peace” seem to be a bit short.
So yes, I do think that President Trump bears the burden of responsibility for what happened on Wednesday. And what happened on Wednesday was one of the most shameful political moments of the last few decades, in which an armed mob stormed the capitol building, driving political leaders into hiding and vandalizing the halls, in an effort to force the country to go against the democratic process and simply allow its leaders to choose to stay in office against the legal established system.
Ironically enough, under the guise of “preserving” a constitution that firmly condemns this very behavior. I say guise because there’s nothing constitutional about an armed mob seizing control of the capitol building in order to forcefully decide who becomes the next President of the United States being an approved, lawful manner. If it were in there, well then that would be how each election was decided: By who could storm the capitol with the biggest mob, perhaps with bonus electorate votes given based on how many people your mob could get killed in the process.
Thankfully, that sort of despotic rule of force is not what our constitution, nor laws, approve of. In the United States, we have a democratic republic. Not a despotism, monarchy, or other form of government where the approved way to deal with loss is to simply kill/coerce by force the other side until you’re the majority.
You want to peacefully protest as allowed by law, exercising first amendment rights? Knock yourself out. That’s 100% allowed, provided you follow the restrictions and regulations in place for safely protesting as such.
But the behavior shown on Wednesday isn’t, and wasn’t, that. This was an act of violence that included bombs, a makeshift gallows, and the flying of a Trump flag and a confederate flag in the halls of our capitol. Oh, and the beating to death of a police officer with a fire extinguisher.
To say that I am disgusted by this behavior puts it lightly. I am appalled, saddened, and thoroughly repulsed by this act of violent sedition. I hope that those who participated in it are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Now, sadly, I have seen people try to compare this to other forms of protest around, or in one case, in the capitol. And I’ve seen a lot of people trying to justify what happened (the most common being “Well, those weren’t real Trump supporters, six years of public support and voting was all an act, they’re really just those awful dems!” which is … I mean if someone actually believe this, they’re skipping so hard off of reality that even the flat-earthers might be looking at them askance, and that says a lot) by pointing fingers or making excuses … And no. Just no.
Take the “comparison” protest I’ve seen people posting about. A group that snuck onto capitol grounds, peacefully protested, and then allowed all their members to be arrested as consequence for yes, violating the law. Note “peaceful” protest. They didn’t bring bombs. They weren’t there to execute members of various political parties. They were there to make their voices heard, and as it was in defiance of the laws, they allowed themselves to be arrested. Oh, and no one was beaten to death.
Compared to what happened on Wednesday, where people started running like rabbits the moment they realized things hadn’t gone their way, hiding and attempting to scrub data. It took the FBI days to catch some of them, as they were indeed on the run, and some still haven’t been caught.
These two events couldn’t be more dissimilar. One was peaceful, and willingly accepted the consequences of their actions. The other, last Wednesdays, was violent, extremist, and since then many of those who acted have been attempting to hide and avoid penalties for their actions.
No. Just … no. What happened on Wednesday was wrong. It was the result of months of rhetoric delivered by a President with the inability to accept loss, fueled by ego as well as, gauging by many of the social media accounts of the people who took part, blatant racism and hatred against anyone and anything they feel they can demonize.
Now look, I’m not saying that our politicians are automatically good. Far from it. I’d personally love to see a good number of them lose their jobs.
But not their lives. They may be ineffective lumps that half the time don’t have two pennies to rub together when it comes to anything resembling common sense … but that’s 99.9% the fault of the voters being lazy and not doing our jobs. Voting blindly inside party lines is part of the problem. Ignoring everything until they’re upset about something, rather than being politically proactive.
And look, if you’re one of those people that’s of the camp of “everyone but Trump and his current loyalists are wrong,” that’s still not an excuse to try and overthrow the rule of law. There’s a story in one of the religious texts of my faith wherein a man of God who had been elected to a leadership position found themselves removed from that position by a vote of the people because, as the record states:
For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction, for the laws had become corrupted.
And what does he do? He goes peaceably, as corrupt laws are still laws, and begins preaching to the people. He doesn’t attempt to use force to subjugate everyone else, but instead attempts to change their minds within the law and bring them back around to his way of thinking through discourse (not discord).
In fact, the same text has an occurrence earlier in the history it records where someone does the exact opposite, attempting to incite a rebellion after losing an election to be their ruler. And what happens?
But behold, Paanchi, and that part of the people that were desirous that he should be their governor, was exceedingly wroth; therefore, he was about to flatter away those people to rise up in rebellion against their brethren.
And it came to pass as he was about to do this, behold, he was taken, and was tried according to the voice of the people, and condemned unto death; for he had raised up in rebellion and sought to destroy the liberty of the people.
Now personally, I think this text has some pretty good ideas on running government. This isn’t a call for Trump to be put to death, at least not from me. Honestly, I think there’s a pretty good case that he‘s not capable enough to be held accountable for his idiocy, but others may take that as an act. Your mileage may vary.
But I bring this up as an example of why to me the rule of law should be obeyed even when it isn’t in your favor. If you’re curious about what this text has to say about government and rule of law, I’d say grab a copy (it’s from the Book of Mormon) or find it online and take a look at it (particularly Mosiah 29, Alma 46-62, and some of the early chapters of Helaman that the above quotes are from). I realize this won’t be to everyone’s taste or preference, because yes, it’s a religious faith, and for those who don’t share that same faith there’s an obvious disconnect. But as someone who is religious and holds that text as a sacred text, I think there’s been a lot of areas with the last few months of political behavior from the current President that bear thinking about.
So there you have it. That’s my thoughts on what happened last Wednesday. Would have posted them sooner, but there was that whole computer failure issue (which I seem to have mostly under control now, still running a few tests). But simply put, I think what happened was shameful to the extreme, and a blight on our nation’s history.
But I’ve got one other thing I want to say about it, and this is looking forward. I’m seeing evidence, at least from some, that this was their wake-up call. I’ve seen a lot of posts from people who were devoted followers of Trump and what they thought was the Republican party that have, based on the President’s behavior over the last few months, realized that what they’re following was not the Republican party. Personally, I agree with that sentiment: Trump never has been a Republican. He is of the party of himself, a Trumper, and will say whatever he thinks is most advantageous to himself. Politically, this is why in just two decades he changed parties four times, and was a member of three different political parties.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with that at its core. We’re supposed to go with our own leanings. The issue is that Trump has built himself up as the “core truth” of the Republican party, and dragged a lot of Republicans with him even as he’s continued to jump just as many fences. We’ve seen this with the “party loyalists” like Barr and Barret that Trump has suddenly turned on the moment they wouldn’t do what he wanted. It’s not that they’re Republicans with different ideas about things, no. They are “traitors” (as he actually said in his speech on that infamous Wednesday) to him and therefore to the “Republican Party.”
Basically, Trump pitches himself as “The Republican party” regardless of how far afield his actual behavior may be from the core tenants of the party, and constantly reminds the party that if they disagree with him then they’re not “real Republicans.”
But thankfully I’ve seen a lot of people after last Wednesday step back and say “What am I doing? What have I been supporting?” and realizing how far removed from real Republicanism, the kind of thing that President Lincoln championed, Trump’s party is (again, they waved a confederate flag in the capitol).
So yeah, there it is. My thoughts on the capitol riots. I think it was wrong, and never should have happened. But they did, to the shame of our country. Now, the best we can do is, I hope, learn from it. Maybe take a step back and self-examine, rather than pointing fingers immediately at anyone else to avoid checking the mirror. Maybe resolve to be more active in the future with checking what our politicians say versus what they do, so that this sort of thing doesn’t happen again.
One can only hope.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on things. If you’d like (and can be civil) you can comment with thoughts of your own.