|Reaping the Whirlwind||
7 January 2021
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
In a shameful episode yesterday, hundreds of terrorists occupied the US Capitol while the Congress was in the process of certifying the electoral votes cast for president and vice-president. The term is used deliberately; a terrorist is a non-state actor who engages in violence or the threat of violence in pursuit of a political agenda. The violence led to a woman's death. That these criminals are US citizens is irrelevant to their labeling. That they are US citizens should make their punishment all the more severe. That certain elected officials, including the president, aided and abetted their riot should mean their removal from office at very least. Yet, many will still make excuses for this ridiculousness.
What happened was clearly a security failure, not an intelligence failure. The whole world has access to the president's Twitter feed, and he has been demanding his followers show up in Washington on January 6 for weeks. A large assembly of angry people who said they would march in DC was no secret.
Despite the knowledge that something bad was brewing, the Capitol Police lost control of the building quickly. As one wag put it, "$740 billion on defense and the Capitol falls to Duck Dynasty in 15 minutes." The Capitol Police are not as heavily armed as the LAPD or NYPD, but the June 1 rally of a Black Lives Matter crowd faced numerous members of the force in riot gear. What happened was either incompetence or collaboration by officers and their leaders. An after-action inquiry is in order sometime soon but not right now.
This was, of course, the result of years of the right running down the value of government. Many in the US Senate and House hold these views and have made careers out of serving in the corridors of power while denigrating the institutions. Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley are but two of the most obvious fake populists (true populists do not have JD's from Harvard or Yale Law). Dozens in the House answer to the same label. The country must hold them accountable.
Finally, the right-wing media must answer for this. They are as culpable as anyone. Julius Streicher was the publisher of Der Sturmer, a viciously anti-semitic newspaper in the Third Reich. The judges at Nuremberg sentenced him to death and he was hanged. Part of the judgment against him read, "Streicher's incitement to murder and extermination at the time when Jews in the East were being killed under the most horrible conditions clearly constitutes persecution on political and racial grounds in connection with war crimes, as defined by the Charter, and constitutes a crime against humanity." Publishers are responsible for what they write and broadcasters for what they transmit.
What must be done? In the immediate term, Vice-President Pence and the cabinet must remove Mr. Trump under Amendment XXV of the US Constitution. At the same time, the US Congress must impeach him again to get his enablers on the record as accepting the violence of yesterday. In the event the VP and cabinet do not act, they too must face impeachment.
Longer term, those who rioted must face criminal prosecution. Those who incited them should face a jury. No amnesty, pardon or commutation should come their way. After they have paid the debt to society, and not before, one can consider ways to re-integrate them into American civilization.
Finally, the law enforcement organizations must start treating right-wing hate groups as criminal enterprises. Free speech and the freedom of association do not allow those who would destroy democracy a free hand. As Karl Popper observed, to have a tolerant society, intolerance cannot be tolerated.
This will be a long 13 days before the Biden years begin, and even then, this nightmare will not be at an end.
© Copyright 2021 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.