Because the so-called “Justice for J6” protest isn’t about doubling down on the actions of Jan. 6th, it’s about re-writing the history of that day
Here’s the thing: the narrative being pushed among Trump supporters including by Trump himself, is that the January 6th folk were just run-of-the-mill protestors, and therefore those in court right now are being unfairly prosecuted. After all, they didn’t actually kill or otherwise stop Mike Pence, or any other member of Congress, they just aired the grievances their commander-in-chief had outlined for them right before, adding he’d have their backs, and even march with them. (He didn’t). Right?
So if the purpose is to make the perpetrators look like the victims, then neaten them up and make sure they’re on their best behavior. They’ll still know that deep down they were in the right, and they should rightly be the rulers of this country, just because… In fact, while I don’t put a lot of stock in polls, I came across one by CNN this week that I found interesting and a little alarming. Not because it found 75% of Republicans believe “Democracy is under attack” in this country (and that “it is likely that elected officials in the US will successfully overturn the results of a future election because their party did not win”). But that only 46% of Democrats do. Might be some “woke” people need to do some waking up. Or maybe the poll is screwy. Still….
Meantime, I’ve seen many far-right posts in the past couple days seething with self-piteous outcry; running along the lines of “how are we supposed to lawfully protest, if the FBI are out looking to arrest us?”
Except that on January 6th, what we saw was anything but boisterous protest. It was an attack: on the Capitol (in relation to other protests but not that one, Trump himself said attacks on federal structures should carry an “automatic” 10-year prison sentence). And an attack on police. And an attempted attack on Members of Congress. And there’s irrevocable visual proof of all of that.
So for those who are now wondering aloud how they could possibly have been overstepping, and asserting those who were merely being patriotic are being unfairly charged and convicted of federal crimes, that’s how.
And that’s just the point: if you’re trying to rewrite Jan. 6th as a “peaceful, lawful protest”, since it clearly wasn’t, the best way to do it is to have a “do over”, where everyone’s on relatively good behavior. Because then you can assert that’s all that was happening the first time around too. And all the violence was kind of an illusion created by those who cracked down on it. And who wanted Trump’s supporters to look bad. Worse than bad.
So while I understand the security concerns given what happened last time around, I also think they are being vastly overblown, because that’s just the point. The mainstream media’s endless focus this week on “security concerns” underscores that. Not that that’s not a legitimate concern. But more—much more—of the focus should be on the completely ridiculous premise of the event itself. Because focusing only on the potential for violence only plays into the organizers’ hands, especially if it does not occur, which assumes they do manage to keep whomever shows up relatively orderly.
Even the sub-groups of people who come to these kinds of things because they just want to fight, are likely to stay away from this one. So too those who are more ideologically based and violent. Because they know this isn’t the time and place for them to show off, it’s exactly the time and place they shouldn’t be showing off. They’ll have more opportunities later.
Hey, I could be wrong about this, but either way, doesn’t change anything, doesn’t defuse anything, doesn’t make anything safer, long term…
So should I be right about this, though, the biggest mistake would be to it allow it to be successfully incorporated into a revision of the timeline. Because that’s exactly what the Trump allies organizing the thing are counting on. And looks like that’s exactly what mainstream media are priming themselves to deliver.
Yet so many times as nations have moved toward authoritarianism, there’s a phase where the would-be authoritarians step back and say “see, you have nothing to fear from us”, and those images you saw the first time around really aren’t who we are, or if they are, we were just misunderstood and unfairly persecuted as a result of that misunderstanding, and the proof of it is how well we behaved ourselves this time around”.
Except there’s no room for misunderstanding unless you’re willing to forget.
So even if this protest winds up being relatively “normal” it can’t be accepted as normalizing what happened when an insane president ordered his minions to storm the Capitol, just because he was a sore loser and wanted to be president anyway. And they did.