I want to offer our friends in the GOP and other radical right members a hypothetical surrounding January 6, 2021. And then ask them a simple question: What would you do if the perpetrators were from the left?
Let’s say, for instance, that we had elected a progressive Democrat in 2016 — one who was incredibly popular with his base but a very polarizing figure. He championed Medicare-for-all, in addition to many other ‘radical leftist’ programs.
And not only that, he was a megalomaniac narcissist that continually went after his rivals, upended the norms of democracy, and laid the groundwork for questioning the election results were he to lose a reelection bid. The only way he could lose, he’d say, was if the other side cheated.
As it turns out, that particular president lost his reelection bid and immediately began to question the results. He said that fraud was rampant, and his administration’s frantic attempts to undermine, overturn, and circumvent what was an otherwise free and fair election were launched in earnest.
The defeated one-term president would not concede the race and used social media to rally his troops. Democratic politicians, in fear of their safety from the base, went along with the disgraced president and failed to convince him to do what was best for the country.
Finally, it all came down to January 6, 2021, the day on which the Constitution required Congress to certify the election formally. The massive rally down the street from the United States Capitol began early that morning. Democratic politicians on the far left whipped the crowd into a frenzy, ending when the loser president implored his cult-like followers to head to the Capitol to “save democracy.”
Indeed, thousands of them heeded the president’s call, forcing their way inside, beating and maiming hundreds of police in the process. Several died in the immediate aftermath of their injuries. Antifa and BLM rioters defecated in the hallways, desecrated monuments, and searched for the Vice-President, who would not succumb to his boss’s demands not to certify the election.
While the National Guard eventually quelled the chaos, the loser president had sat quietly in the Oval Office, admiring the work of his devoted cult. He refused to issue a cease and desist order for hours, watching the riot unfold on video — proud of what he’d incited just hours earlier.
Congress did do its job later that evening certifying the election, setting the stage for the inauguration of the 46th President of the United States on January 20.
We, of course, know what happened on January 6, 2022. The only difference in the above hypothetical scenario was that a radical right president, Donald Trump, perpetrated and incited what happened on that day.
Our Republican friends would like us to forget what happened, though. While a few of them have managed to state the obvious that it was an insurrection, many of them still try to downplay it.
Do we have any doubt whatsoever, though, what the reaction from the GOP would be if it were a Democratic president who did what Trump has done? Four U.S. citizens were killed in Benghazi, and Republicans spent $7 million on that investigation, which included an 11-hour testimony from Hillary Clinton. If a Democratic president had incited a riot on January 6, do we honestly think Republicans would roll over and move on?
Would not the United States Treasury vault be opened, multiple investigations ensue, subpoenas be issued, and hours upon hours of public testimony televised?
And that’s not to mention the right-wing echo chamber — namely Fox “News,” and others, which would be demanding resignations and jail-time for all who participated, including the former president. Tucker Carlson, and the like, would have a field day with a Democratic insurrection. And, quite frankly, so would the mainstream media.
When the Republican National Committee decided to censure Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger the other day, as well as criticize the January 6th Committee for going after those who were only participating in “legitimate political discourse,’ we saw today’s version of the Republican Party on full display.
They can’t let go of the former president. Instead of allowing Cheney and Kinzinger to do their jobs trying to find out what happened on January 6, they’re chastised and humiliated for having the gall to go against Trump.
It was good to see some Republicans speak out against what the RNC had done, including Senator Mitch McConnell. But, as usual, it’s the bare minimum. We should expect nothing more from them, for it is what we’ve come to expect from a party that can’t seem to get on the right side of democracy.
Why is it so hard for Republican politicians to answer the question: Was January 6th a violent attempt to overturn a legal and certified election? So many of them twist themselves in a pretzel when answering, or like in House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s case, sprint away from a reporter in record speed.
It makes me wonder how many folks even think what happened on January 6th was a big deal. I’m pretty sure most Democrats and middle-of-the-road independents believe it was. But the rest of America either doesn’t give a damn, or they’re getting their information from erroneous sources.
Make no mistake, though; what happened on that day was a big deal. We came within an eyelash of losing it all. To the RNC and others who call themselves members of the Republican Party, January 6th was not an exercise in legitimate political discourse. It was a violent insurrection.
And every damn one of them running for election this year needs to answer for that day, just as you know Democrats would need to do if the shoe were on the other foot. The media pounded Hillary Clinton over her emails. They need to bash Republicans for something that was a million times worse.
You’re either a believer in democracy, or you’re not. You either think the January 6th Committee has the right to get to the bottom of what happened that day, or you’re not. You either believe Donald Trump was primarily responsible for that day, or you’re not.
And then they must be asked how it would be if Democrats had entered the Capitol that day, set up a gallows outside to hang the Vice-President and others, and demanded their cult leader be re-installed as commander in chief.
The answer to such a hypothetical requires that the individual answering be a person of good faith, honesty, and integrity. Unfortunately, those traits are lacking in today’s Republican Party. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know what they would do if it were Democrats who perpetrated January 6th.
It’s what the Democrats are doing as we speak — on steroids.