I'm surprised that everyone is so surprised about what happened yesterday. Politicians have been drumming up the civil war rhetoric on what might happen if Democrats won those two seats. Trump has been undermining the election results. In Charlottesville Trump didn't denounce white supremacy. It's surprising this didn't happen sooner
I think that anyone who offers an easy answer as to where we go from here is mistaken and perhaps self-deluding. Last night Senator Ben Sasse suggested that the answer is to be more kind to each other; he suggested that, in typically milquetoast and nostalgic terms, that we return to a world where we shovel each others' driveways and so on and so forth. It harkens back to the good ole days, and it's a suggestion entirely not up to the moment.
As a non American from a shit hole country, there was no surprise. A couple of us called it in 2016 that America had bought an expensive ticket to a ***show. I was more angry with my American friends who kept saying that this is not who they are. This is America, black and brown people can confirm. The question is where do we go from here?
Yesterday was yet again another march of the racism that has infected this history since its founding -- only this time it was mixed with fascistic elements. There was little difference between what happened yesterday and how SA stormtroopers acted in the early 1930's. The world's oldest democracy saw much of its legitimacy and prestige on the world stage fade as a cabal of thugs smashed through the very temple of American democracy. "Trumpism" is nothing new; it is an ugly vestige of our long national history of racism and isolationism, and it will persist long after Trump is out of office. The question now is how the country proceeds forward. Sycophantic, self-serving opportunists such as Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz feed off of this chaos and disruption. They will provide us no way forward, and will rather lead us further down the path of shackles, chains, and ultimately societal collapse. Instead, the question is how the rest of American society will respond.
I think we are perfectly positioned to resume our exploration of identity. Yesterdays's riot presents the questions squarely: How should we respond when decision do not go our way? What imits should be put upon our own behvior in argument and in society? Our answers must be individual answers. The law tries to impose limits from the outside but it is powerless to enforce these limits if we choose to suffer the consequesnces of breaking them. In the final analysis, it is for each person to decide how to act based upon his/her own moral compass. And how we decide will determine whether we are at peace with our neighbors or at war. That is the theme and goal of this class: to examine our own beliefs and to fully inhabit our own best selves.
It feels like we are close to where we were before yesterday’s events. I am increasingly unable to be surprised by the actions of people in our country. And at this point, it feels like surprise is a privilege in and of itself. Many marginalized groups have known the truth about our country all along.
I have to express that I am really disappointed that the "there's bad people on all sides" rhetoric that was floating around yesterday. Armed mobs stormed the capitol yesterday. They risked killing our duly elected senators and representatives. That's not just a national security threat. That's a coup. So I think we as lawyers need to recognize the severity of the situation and be responsible for fixing that. Members of the Republican Party need to do what's necessary to spread information to their supporters and condemn this behavior. People act as though it came out of nowhere, but there have been months of Trump and his supporting politicians fear mongering, spreading conspiracies, and egging on violence. It shouldn't be political to condemn a literal threat on the state. It shouldn't be political to want to save our democracy. It shouldn't be political to call out racism and want to protect black lives. This is about taking responsibility and most of all labeling things what they are. When someone does something that is racist, sexist, xenophobic, spurs insurrection, or risks our national security we cannot label it politics as usual we need to label it what it is and fight against it, no matter what our political party.
The events of yesterday have deeply afflicted our country. Many, ranging from the Capitol police to unsuspecting citizens, were shocked by these events. They were unprecedented, and they truly show the danger of demagogues, such as Donald Trump, who seek to enrich themselves either politically or in other ways through feeding on the fears of many, as opposed to focusing on bread and butter issues, which could have made a tangible difference in the lives of many constituents. It will take courage from elected officials within the Republican party to excise this malignant rot, which has paved the way for yesterday's events to have taken place.
I think the response to yesterday's events is shameful. First of all, Republican lawmakers have sat back and allowed this rhetoric over the last four years. Stating opposition yesterday after it turned violent is too little, too late. Further, the double standard between white people and black people/people of color was yet again highlighted. Disappointing but unsurprising. The events of yesterday are not equivalent to BLM protests in my mind- the latter is a fight for human dignity and equality while the former is nothing more than a tantrum of not getting your way that has escalated beyond reason. I believe that the U.S. showed its true colors yesterday. Any conversation of what the U.S. is or represents cannot be complete without recognizing the systemic racism that the country is built on.
To be completely honest, yesterday's events were not surprising to me. These past few months has been to the accumulation to this moment. There are other aspects that have shocked or surprised me. This so-called protest was not a protest. It was an attempted coup. Anyone with familiarity with politics of the rest of the world understood full well what this was. Yet I see so much justification for these rioters' actions when they were trying to stop a democratic certification process and broke into a capitol building. I also think the comparisons to the BLM are just truly appalling. These rioters broke into the capital building because they lost. There was nothing about this election that was fraud, as much as President Trump claims that there. The fact that a president of this country would outright call these rioters "very special" without ever criticizing or disbarring their actions is truly abhorrent. Again, this does not surprise me based on President Trump's actions in the previous years, but this has now become so tolerated. I do not expect any type of punishment to these rioters, and I am a person who does truly believe in law and order. The actions that happened yesterday show how truly despicable this country has become in my honest opinion. We tolerate white supremacy, racism, bigotry, etc.. We actually more than just tolerate, our so-called leaders actually endorse it, as did President Trump, as did all the leaders who choose to still vote to not certify the vote. What matters now is how are we going to move forward, and I think the truth is that we won't. I don't expect anything to change. This just proved to the rest of the world and the US that this is what our country has always been.
What happened yesterday is a culmination of generations of white resentment. We reap what we sow, and the notion that this country belongs to a certain class of person (read: white males) and that anything that goes against such caste hierarchy is a threat to our way of life. My parents are white, low socioeconomic class Trump supporters. They don't care about their material station in life so much as they care about not being the bottom rung of society. While I think they voted against their interests, their conception of interest is premised on subjugation. I don't think there is any way to go but to look this in the eye directly: some only prefer democracy when it works toward their conception of American society, and will abandon it as soon as it appears that it won't. I don't think we are headed toward a solution of this; in fact, I think white resentment will continue growing, particularly as whites become the minority. We need to root this out. and I'm tired of acting like we need to accommodate both sides.
I am struck by the hypocrisy and cowardice of the politicians involved. "Violence never solves anything" "this is against our democracy". As if the USA wasn't founded on violence committed against the state by a minority. Not just in the revolution, but also during Shay's Rebellion, which had an impact on the drafting of the constitution. What happened to people who were saying "protest is supposed to make you uncomfortable" during the summer protests? Seeing the politicians cower and hide during a lockdown and then spend the evening acting strong and tossing out platitudes just wrung hollow for me. Maybe it's an inevitable result of the inherent contradiction of having a revolutionary country - if your state derives it's legitimacy from rebellion, how can it legitimately condemn rebellion? Without an objective natural law to appeal to, I don't see how distinctions between the violence used in the US (by rightwing/BLM/police) can be made. All you can say is you like one and hate the other, not that one is objectively better or worse.
How did things get this bad? The world news is troubling enough with COVID. It’s impossible to understand how to deal with people like the Proud Boys and Trump supporters that participated in yesterday’s events. The politicians who voted to sustain the objection against the votes are beyond frustrating. Even after all of this they felt they were right? They still want the support from Trump’s base? Biden coming into office can’t change that these people exist and will continue to feel this way until the end of time. What a shame.
Trying to find a silver lining, yesterday's events seem to have spurred more conservative politicians to take a stance against Trump (and some even stopped contesting electoral collage results). I wonder if Republicans will be more wary of Trumpian rhetoric in the future now that they realize that the consequences and that the establishment they benefit from might be threatened, or if this event has opened up the floodgates to more violent post-electoral contestations.
One approach will be to demonize the proud boys and proudboyism; vilify them, persecute and criminally prosecute. Call it what it is and prosecute it to the full extent of the law. Persecute those who lean toward it. Treat them like 1950's Communists as a fundamental threat to society, not to be tolerated or dealt with as anything but vermin. Gonna be a lot of support for that.
I think yesterday best illustrates the mass delusion that much of this country is under (how can you storm the Capitol and waive a confederate falg inside and still think you are a patriot?). Also, to prevent false equivalences, although many republicans vaguely condemned "violence," almost 60% of Republican senators continued the charade that there was election fraud and continued to sprout false facts that do lead people to insurrection. Furthermore, congressman Gaetz claimed the insurrectionists were antifa, which although completely ludicrous was met to applause in the House. I think the Republican party is rotten, not broken, in the sense that you can't fix rot, you have to cut it out or throw it away. However, due to the way the government is formed, we could easily see the republican party holding power, or at least preventing progress, through the Electoral College and through the senate (where soon, a supermajority of the population will be represented by a superminority of the senate). I'm not sure how to fix these problems before it is too late, but I do think social media and cable media (mostly due to a rapid shift left on the right) is an accelerant to this and we need some sort of reform there at least.
It's difficult to know exactly what to say. It seems clearer to me than ever that the Republican Party as currently constituted is untenable. Trumpism is not some force to be contained--it is a malignant force in our body politic. All good hearted people, people faithful to the ideal of America, must turn their backs on him and his movement. I understand all the objections to those who claim "this isn't America." But still, I insist that no, this isn't America. It is representative of the worst of America; we are more than our worst elements. I love this country. I am pained to see what some are trying to do this country. But I maintain my faith that the best of America will win out.
I'm overwhelmed with emotions related to the state of the far right's activity in this country, mainly anger, fear and sadness. There is too much to say. I think that many in the media and social media have contrasted the police response to make a huge point about BLM and of course they are totally right with respect to white privilege and police brutality/restraint, but i want to take some time to write about other points because those have been so well discussed. I am not all that suprised that something like this happened yesterday, I feel like its a new venue (the US Congress) that for some reason I still held sacred despite our nations problems. But after charlottesville, I guess it that there were confederate flags and swastikas and the man wearing the "Camp Auschwitz" shirt and "6million was not enough" signs flown in our capitol after the president called them good people. Yesterday, he say he "loved" them. Another thing ive wrestled with is the question of "is this who we are." Many of my fellow left leaning colleagues say that this is who we are, plain and simple, but im not so sure. After all, these are the nut jobs on the side of people who LOST an election by 7 million plus votes. And we feel more divided than ever. Im not sure we have an easily summarized collective conscious, which comes with a heterogenous society (happy to agree that these folks are white folks which gives them more power inherently, a huge problem related to the BLM angle referenced earlier). I dont think that this is all of who we are but perhaps a part of who we are. How can we make this not who we are in the future without taking away free speech (after all these folks were radicallized by the sharing of ideas and fake outrage news)? not sure. but im sad and scared and it was very revealing
I don't think it's that big of a deal. It's basically fake. The police removed the barricades to let the protesters into the capitol building (this is documented). The protesters, once they got in, did nothing but break a few windows. They didn’t declare a new government. It was hardly a storming of the Bastile. They even stayed between the velvet ropes in the statuary hall, filing in with an ordinary fashion. Despite the fact that the protesters may believe that they’re instigating a coup and the pundits all clearly agree, this is nothing. We are experiencing a collective delusion. The only real event yesterday was a woman being shot and killed by the police. But this doesn’t fit with the collective dream vision, so it will be left out, forgotten.
I've been thinking a lot about yesterday in the context of this course. We spent Tuesday talking about discourse and how to achieve ideal discourse. How can you achieve anything approximating productive discourse, let alone ideal discourse, with people like these domestic terrorists who live in a post-truth world? They cannot be reasoned with in any meaningful way, because they have decided that facts simply do not matter. 350,000 people dead from COVID and they say it's a hoax. Not a single shred of evidence to support Trump's voter fraud claims, and they say they election was stolen. After 2016, all of these moderate commentators came out and said we needed to work to speak to poor, white America, but how can you achieve any sort of meaningful communication with people who refuse to acknowledge basic facts about the world? I also think it needs to be stated explicitly that the undercurrent of all of this is white supremacy. Many of the people at the Capitol yesterday were at Charlottesville in 2017 chanting "we will not be replaced." To say this is about election fraud or economic policy is to be willfully ignorant to the fact that the support for Trump's presidency stemmed directly from his sanctioning and use of "politically incorrect" (i.e. racist) rhetoric. At this point, I'm comfortable saying anyone who voted for him is a racist or is ok with racism.
@Lantea - I think this is a really interesting point. I was thinking the same thing: "Why are these guys risking their life, freedom, career in a protest?" I think it's because they don't have much to look forward in their life or career. I think it is a result of not having strong families/family prospects or career prospects. The broader decay of meaning and purpose in consumerist society makes the opportunity cost for intense protest much lower.