What I saw at the “Insurrection”

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Attack of the Performance Artists

Before the topic of the day–guilt by association–it might be interesting to ponder a charge put forward against Trump supporters in Washington DC this week.  If we really had planned a “coup” against the Congress, would we have sent in a bare-chested performance  artist in a horned helmet?  Would we have expected the US Government to suddenly quail before “Viking Man?”  (“Get away, that’s a Norseman!  Somebody give him the nuclear codes!”)

My sense is that even the most feral of anti-Trumpers  couldn’t imagine a conversation between two of the President’s ardent fans..

“Let’s send in a guy who looks like a Viking!”
“Yeah, that ought to do it!”

Keep in mind: this here is coming from a guy who values performance art, a guy who plays Patrick Henry, but even I know that successful coup attempts are generally not staged by someone dressed up as Thor.

As I write this, (January 11, 2021) I can’t help thinking the world has plunged into a collective madness, made up of equal parts fratricidal rage and profound contempt for the other side’s reading material.

These days, for example, if you don’t guffaw mightily at the notion of voter fraud, it’s something like being the North Korean who fails to cry loudly enough at the passing of dear leader.  Do people really think that the 138 House Republicans who voted to de-certify Pennsylvania’s electors were the victims of some QAnon hoax?  Even mild-mannered Ben Sasse concluded that the media’s contemptuous dismissal of voting irregularities fueled this fear.  Ben, with a legal background, trusts the judges, but Ben fails to remind you: we give someone convicted of homicide more time to examine the evidence, and make a case, than we give politicians time to question an election.  We STILL have not seen Georgia’s physical ballots and yet we’re being told: TRUST THE EXPERTS.  What, really, do you tell someone who shows up at a polling place to vote, only to be told they already have?  Do you expect those folks to be comforted by Facebook’s knowing cluck-cluck, “we have lots of procedures in place?”

But even if you believe voter fraud is absolutely impossible, put yourself in the shoes of someone who believes their vote was actually taken from them.  Do you have such contempt for your fellow Americans that you treat this as little more than a “bad referee” call in a play-off game?  This is the FRANCHISE, people.  This is the central sacrament of democracy.  We fought a war over “taxation without representation.”  Remember?  Americans take this shit very seriously.

It was that sort of passion that brought people to Washington DC this week.  I talked to friend after friend, stranger after stranger, who made this sort of declaration:  “I felt called to be here.”  People literally drove the continent in three days.  They took time off work.  They left comfortable homes and worried relatives to stand for something.  

What is the purpose of a political demonstration?  It’s very simple.  It’s about projecting power.  It’s about putting “measured” fear in political leaders.  It’s about reminding the elected (fraudulently or not) that we care enough to stand out on the street, in the cold, to demonstrate our numbers and our passion.  The left did it in 2011, when they occupied Scott Walker’s Wisconsin capitol building and again in 2018 when they occupied Senate office buildings.

When we approached the western steps of the capitol we were close enough to get tear-gassed by police who were facing a spirited crowd.  We weren’t close enough to see what had inspired that altercation, and we had received an email about the capitol being “breached” before we got there, so we may have been late on the scene, but we witnessed the police line break and quite a few teenagers sitting on the scaffolding designed for seating the inauguration.  From where we were, we couldn’t see people entering the building, and I concluded, too soon, that nothing had been damaged and no one hurt.  The reports since then speak for themselves and all decent people should lament the loss of life and the destruction of property in our capitol building.

In my 61 years, I’ve never seen a crowd that large.  It was shoulder to should all day, easily a half million people or more, and the vast majority of those folks, like ourselves, had no desire to mix it up with police, enter a building declared off limits or damage property. Did we want congress to hear us?  Yes.  Did we want to burn  it down?  Get a life.  Most of us had nothing to do with what happened, and yet we are now being called traitors and insurrectionists.

GO TO HELL.  By that logic, every white person is a racist, every Muslim is a terrorist, and all of you on the left simply adored burning down buildings this summer because you sympathized with BLM.

Look at yourselves in the mirror — and then go outside and get some sunshine.  Covid cabin fever has fried your brains.


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This post was written by Jim Riley

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