January 6th – Riot? Or Just a Few Nutcases?
For the past two and a half years, America has been engaged in a divisive national debate over what happened on January 6, 2021. As a writer following politics, I closely observed the events following the 2020 presidential election – and I followed the narratives of both sides – narratives tainted by excessive partisanship.
While the issue has been on the front burner of the Fourth Estate, it got more heated in recent days with the release of the raw video tapes of Tucker Carlson of FOX News. I thought the making of the video information was a good move – and served the public’s right to know. I question, however, why Speaker McCarthy would provide the surveillance videos only to Tucker Carlson. The videos should have been released to the media in general – and error in judgment, McCarthy said his will soon correct.
Even if I wanted to give FOX exclusive access, I would not have made Carlson the recipient. In giving it to Carlson alone, McCarthy ensured that it would be sensationalized and brutalized– and that it would have become more controversial than it had to be. Carlson would present the material in his bombastic style – and he did.
The fact that McCarthy did give it to Carlson is another example of why the Speaker is not the brightest star in the political constellation. He is not a good strategist – but I have opined on that subject previously.
Those on the left have fearmongered the tapes on the security issue. Releasing the video undermines the protection of the Capitol, they claim. They offer all kinds of speculative scenarios to support their contention – none of which are real. According to FOX, any footage to be shown on air has been vetted and cleared by the Capitol Hill Police. Despite that fact, those on the left still proffer their phony security narrative.
Just because I am not a fan of Carlson – which is well established in a number of past commentaries – does not mean that his reporting does not make some good points – and has value for a more fully informed public.
I hear a lot of folks on the telly proudly declare that they would never watch Carlson – and then they opine on the issue of the tapes. If they are not drawing from what they actually saw and heard from Carlson, they are simply espousing from a script – a narrative – produced by and for other the partisans.
I do not watch Carlson faithfully, except when he becomes central to the narratives – and this is a case-in-point.
While the left uses much of the media as a powerful propaganda machine to pound and pound on one side of the issue, there are two sides to be told. And I hate to admit it, but Carlson – aside from his hyperbole, bellicosity and annoying style – does bring up some good and fair points that have been suffocated by left-wing interpretations and narratives of what happened on January 6th – and disturbingly ignored by the January 6th Committee.
As an armchair witness, I drew a number of conclusions – and formed a number of questions – as to what occurred on that day – as well as leading up to that day.
What I did not see – and still do not see – was a planned insurrection for the purpose of overthrowing the government to install President Trump as a permanent autocrat. In fact, I think that conspiracy theory belongs in the realm of the tinfoil hat crowd. Unfortunately, Democrats and the media allies took that nonsense up and started peddling it as a core component of their propaganda efforts. The donned tinfoil hats.
If you look at the facts, the purpose of the demonstration on Capitol Hill was to implore Congress who withhold certification of the presidential election while there were still questions – in their minds of some – of the legitimacy of the vote count. There was NO effort to overthrow the government or effect a coup.
Seeking a fair count was the motivation of the tens of thousands of folks who arrived on Capitol Hill to peacefully demonstrate – which the vast majority did. Reasonable folks can believe that they were foolish to think that the election was stolen, but even foolishness does not change their motivation.
What I saw was an iconic American riot in which masses of people came to protest peacefully, and a small number of bad actors – troublemakers – pushed the emotions over the edge. And the rioting started.
Outside of a handful of nutcases, who apparently had romantic visions of a revolution, most of those who entered the Capitol Building illegally did not participate in the violence and vandalism. They mostly milled around. Yes, they should be arrested for illegally trespassing and punished accordingly. Others who engaged in violence, vandalism, and theft should also be arrested and punished according to their misdeeds. Everyone on all sides agrees on that point.
However, I do wonder why so many who have been accused of relatively minor offenses are still incarcerated after two and a half years – in many cases a longer time than the sentences traditionally earn if found guilty. And why are the cases still pending after so long? I would not call them patriots, but they’re being held for so long without the right to a speedy trial does smack of political imprisonment – you know, where the merits of the case are subordinated to political issues.
Those on the left – who constantly complain about incarceration – are peculiarly silent on this unique example of dubious jailing. The media should be raising questions as to why these Americans are being “held” for so long. On that, Carlson makes a good point – as have others.
There have been a handful of individuals associated with extremist groups who have been tried and convicted for “seditious conspiracy” – insurrection, if you will. I can believe that they are guilty of that based on their own statements and actions. They are small group of bad dudes that may have provoked some of the riotings. They are nutcases – not representative of the thousands who protested peacefully – and not even representative of those who rioted—Riot v. coup attempt. There is a huge difference.
But the existence of a small group engaged in a criminal conspiracy does not make the entire event a seditious conspiracy. It is still a riot – not an insurrection. That was my opinion at the time – and it remains my opinion. All the talk about a massive, planned insurrection … coup attempts … and the nonsense that there are still millions of Americans planning to overthrow the government .. end the constitutional Republic … and make Trump el presidente for life … is about as real as the space aliens at Roswell.
Carlson also focused on the lack of warning and preparedness in terms of the Capitol Hill Police – who were ordered to do a job that was physically impossible based on numbers alone. Why were the warnings of potential violence not translated into better protection for the Capitol Building — and those put on the frontline to protect it? The January 6th Committee refused to investigate that very important issue. In fact, Chairman Bennie Thompson announced at the start of the Committee hearings that Speaker Pelosi would not be called. Neither was the Mayor of Washington, who rejected National Guard support. Both had rejected military support when offered by the Department of Defense.
There are a lot of questions that need answering — points to be made — if we are to get to the bottom of what happened on Capitol Hill. The January 6th Committee did not get to the bottom – they only found what they wanted to find to make their predetermined case.
It is unfortunate that McCarthy decided to give the job of bringing out other issues to Carlson. That only ensured that the real issues would be buried in Carlson’s provocative personality. Democrats and the left-wing media were able to focus on Carlson and distract from those other issues.
There is still a lot of the story to be told. It is likely that I will deal with some of them in future commentaries. Until then, it would be best to concentrate on the stories and not on the storyteller.
So, there ‘Tis.