What happened on January 6, 2021, at the United States Capitol was an aberration, at worst. After years of Tea Parties and other conservative movements, some of them even armed, it was the first time anything ever got out of hand. I mean, the worst part about the Tea Partiers was that they wouldn’t leave after their protests…they had the nerve to stick around and pick up trash!
But, the Capitol did happen. I won’t get into how it happened and I won’t delve into why it happened here.
Because it happened, though, the media is acting like more violence is inevitable, especially today.
This weekend, every mayor of an American state capital was trying to answer the same question: How do I keep my city safe? Steven Reed in Montgomery, Alabama, and Frank Scott, in Little Rock, Arkansas, increased police patrols. In Richmond, Mayor Levar Stoney declared a state of emergency. Governors in Virginia, Michigan, and Wisconsin placed the National Guard on standby. The FBI had warned that armed protests would take place in all 50 state capitals in the lead-up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration tomorrow, and everyone I spoke with worried that if they weren’t prepared, their city could be home to the next riot.
As the long weekend wore on, leaders waited, with their police forces at the ready, but the massive, armed marches of extremists never materialized. Still, in Virginia, Lobby Day, the day of the year when thousands of armed gun-rights supporters go to the state capitol to press their cause, troubled state leaders. In 2020, the peaceful rally drew nearly 20,000 supporters. And after a year of protests that had led to the removal of several Confederate monuments—and an insurrection that saw a man carry the Confederate battle flag through the nation’s Capitol—leaders worried that the annual tradition might descend into violence. But Lobby Day was small and uneventful yesterday. Stoney’s vigilance, however, was not unwarranted.
The January 6 insurrectionists in Washington were able to break into the halls of Congress, in part, because of lax security. The Capitol Police had a standard unit on shift, or about enough officers “for a routine day,” the Associated Press reported. The heightened security outside the Capitol (fencing, barricades, Humvees) since the rampage, the arrests that followed, and the increased police presence in states across the country may have kept some would-be rioters away this weekend.
And there we get to the rub.
See, if there’s violence, they’re right. If there’s no violence, then it’s because of increased police presence. It has nothing to do with the history of the right being proponents of peaceful protest only nor do the myriad of media personalities, columnists, bloggers, YouTubers, and so on who have denounced what happened at the Capitol as wrong.
No, the only reason violence won’t happen is because of the police. We simply can’t win with these people.
This is the same police that many in the media have been screaming about defunding for months, I might add.
What this is really about is that the Capitol gave them the impetus to pretend that everyone on the right is precisely as violent toward the incoming Biden administration as they’ve been pretending they were all along. While Biden himself talks of unity, his greatest allies continue to throw out divisive rhetoric and pretend their ideological opponents are violent thugs.
All while ignoring a summer where it seemed like every major city burned at some point or another because of one community’s policing issues.
What these stories do is create a self-fulfilling prophecy. They’ll keep saying the right is violent until enough people on the right get sick of being degraded and decide, “Why the hell not.”