The Needling And The Damage Done

The chaos at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday didn’t stop Congress from certifying the vote of presidential electors, though it did delay the inevitable for a few hours. Both the House and Senate have now recognized Joe Biden as the next president, and Donald Trump released a statement belatedly promising an orderly transition on January 20th while still insisting that he was robbed of an election victory.

In between the time of the first protesters entering the Capitol and Trump’s online capitulation, more than 50 people were arrested, California Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed by law enforcement, and hundreds of millions of people around the globe watched as Trump supporters angry over the certification romped through the House and Senate chambers and congressional offices.

What kind of impact will Wednesday’s storming of the Capitol have on the fight for the Second Amendment? Tom Gresham, the legendary 2A activist and host of Gun Talk certainly doesn’t see any positives as a result.

If Wednesday’s actions were meant to kick off a revolution or a bloodless coup, it failed miserably. I’m not convinced that was the motivation for everyone involved, however. More than anything, I think it was meant as a show of strength; a demonstration of both the numbers and passions of Trump supporters who won’t simply fade away or accept Biden as president when he’s inaugurated on January 20th.

That message may have been received, but at a cost to both human life and political capital. During Tucker Carlson’s monologue on Wednesday night, the Fox host condemned the riot before opining that “as a practical matter, our only option is to fix what is causing this.

We don’t have a choice. You may have nothing in common with the people on the other side of the country; increasingly you probably don’t. But you’re stuck with them. The idea that groups of Americans will somehow break off into peaceful nations of likeminded citizens is a fantasy. That will not happen.”

Check out Tucker’s entire monologue below, which delivers a number of blunt truths to both sides of the political divide.

Carlson also echoed Gresham’s concern that the scenes at the Capitol will be used as a pretext for attacks on our civil liberties.

“What happened today will be used by the people taking power to justify stripping you of the rights you were born with as an American. Your right to speak without being censored. Your right to assemble. To not be spied upon. To make a living. To defend your family, most critically.

These are the most basic and ancient freedoms that we have. They’re why we live here in the first place. They’re why we’re proud to be Americans. They’re what makes us different, and they’re all now in peril.”

Political leaders don’t have to like what happened at the Capitol, Carlson added, but if they’re don’t try to learn anything from it, they “have no place running the country.” Speaking to his audience, the host concluded by saying “we got to this sad, chaotic day for a reason. It is not your fault, it’s their fault.”

I get what Tucker Carlson is saying, and I largely agree with it, but that last line sticks in my craw just a little. There’s a lot of blame to go around, and you can’t simply blame the Left without also talking about how Donald Trump has handled his post-election quest to remain president. Tucker was right when he spoke about the escalating cycle of political crackdowns and resistance, but both sides of the political debate have been a part of that. We’ve been in a Cold Civil War for years if not decades now. This is an American problem, not just a Democrat or Republican issue.

And sadly, I don’t know how much better it’s going to get in the short term. In order to “fix what’s causing this” the country’s going to have to look in the mirror instead of just pointing fingers, and that’s a hard habit to break given how long we’ve been content to leave it at that. If we’re going to figure out a way to get along, the answer’s going have to come from both sides working together, and that’s a tough ask when we each view the other as an existential threat to our existence.

While I’d love to believe we’re headed for a national “Kumbaya moment,” the odds are much better that Carlson’s prediction is going to come to pass; Democrats in power using every tool available to them to try to restrict our rights in the name of public safety, civic comity, and coming together. Americans across the political spectrum have condemned what took place at the Capitol on Wednesday, but we’re still on a war footing with one another. As long as that’s our reality, the problem won’t go away. The divides will grow deeper, and the damage our civic and cultural fabric are likely to only get worse.

Jul 31, 2021 8:30 AM ET