The rioting at the U.S. Capitol a year ago is an ink blot. Most people look at it and see what they expect to see — and what they see seems to line up with their political views. Shocking, huh?
The mainstream progressive left seems to think there was a serious attempt at a coup launched by conservatives. Many of them seem to believe that we came just a whisker from having the federal government overthrown by this motley collection of misfits.
Those in the populist Trump camp believe the rioters were simply “patriots” who were protesting against what they were told was a stolen election. Many of them might agree today that the protest got a little out of control, but they’re convinced it was nothing. (And some genuine conservatives take this view, too, not because they love Trump, but simply because they hate the left.)
The truth is simpler but less dramatic. A pathetic bunch of misguided losers believed a pack of political lies from a narcissist who lost an election. They went to a protest that was a bit like a Trumpified version of Woodstock without the music. A mob of about 10,000 then entered the Capitol grounds and around 2,000 of them broke into the building.
The rioters apparently saw themselves as Mel Gibson in “Braveheart,” but they were really more like the losers from “Revenge of the Nerds” — but without the fantasy Hollywood ending.
Sadly, there were a few deaths and injuries. One rioter was shot and killed. Another died of a drug overdose. And a few died of natural causes.
They trashed parts of the Capitol. They put a serious scare into politicians and their staffers who were in the building. But there was no real plan, so nothing happened and the riot broke up and everybody went home.
I have zero respect or sympathy for the people who engaged in the attack. In fact, everything I’ve seen from those who were arrested for their part in the attacks has confirmed the low opinions I had of them from the start.
The rioters were deluded losers who were acting on irrational beliefs and idiotic devotion to a narcissistic lunatic.
But to hear the interpretation of the progressive left this week, you would have thought this was a well-oiled “far right” machine that almost destroyed “our democracy.” Nothing of the sort happened. Or even almost happened.
Donald Trump has no ideology. His only belief is in his own dysfunctional ego. He has no coherent principles or policies. He is not a conservative and never has been. He is a populist with no loyalty to any particular ideas.
The masses of people who followed Trump are mostly folks who are simply reacting in anger to gains made by the political left over the decades. Most of these people have no coherent ideology, either, which is why someone with no principles can appeal to them. (If you want to understand how this group came about, see what I said about them several years back.)
The people who support Trump (and many other people who don’t support him) are eager to stand up to the continued gains made by the far left. They have the misguided notion that winning a few elections can overturn what the progressive left has taken more than a century to accomplish.
These are the angry and naive people who believed Trump’s lies and ended up rioting at the Capitol. They’re not the best and brightest who oppose the far left. They’re more like the Clown Brigade than SS stormtroopers.
What happened a year ago was pathetic on multiple levels. It’s pathetic that so many people continue to believe the lies of a narcissist who cares only for himself. But what happened a year ago this week wasn’t a serious coup attempt. It wasn’t an indication that Nazi stormtroopers are waiting their chance to take over.
The truth is the same as it was when I wrote about the Trump phenomenon several years ago. (See link above.) There are a lot of angry people who hate the leftward movement of politics in this country and they don’t know what else to do. And they’re going to increasingly listen to the new narcissistic idiots who come along (after Trump) to take advantage of their frustration.
What happened last year wasn’t a wonderful and patriotic protest to “save America,” but it also wasn’t a far-right political coup which almost overthrew the government.
It was a tempest in a teapot which you’re going to interpret in radically different ways if you have political motives for seeing it in those distorted ways.
The truth is simpler and more interesting, but seeing that truth — which is that America is breaking apart at the seams — doesn’t advance the agendas of the angry groups screaming at each other in the media.