I wasn’t going to comment on this subject until the weeklong media commemorative of the first anniversary of the U. S. Capitol riot droned on into a second week, highlighted by asinine comments by President Biden and Vice President Harris, and I couldn’t resist. Their characterizations that there is currently a “dagger at the throat of democracy” and that January 6, 2021 will join in history with December 7, 1941 and 9/11/2001 as dates that will live in infamy are so over the top as to actually insult the memory of the victims of the truly infamous dates in our history.
This is not to withhold condemnation of those who participated in the breaching of the Capitol, and I have already expressed my outrage at the disgraceful actions of the perpetrators of this riot and the failure of duty and character demonstrated by Donald Trump in his incitement of it and failure to stop it. And we certainly should expect that responsibility for it should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and this should include a thorough investigation of the actions, or absence thereof, by House of Representatives leadership and the Capitol Police in preparing for and responding to the event. What happened should never happen again.
But first let’s name it for what it was, which isn’t an insurrection by any legal or dictionary definition that I can find and, according to my sources, not one of the over 700 defendants under investigation has been charged with insurrection. And it wasn’t a coup. So far, there is no evidence beyond a few disorganized kooks that there was a conspiracy to overthrow the government. Later in the day, the House voted to certify the elector outcome. Our democracy and its institutions held up very well. Kathleen Parker notes that it turns out that the majority of those arrested and charged were what might be called regular folks, and she wonders what might have happened if the really bad guys had showed up. Good question, and as I have suggested before, when the insurrection really happens, we’ll know it, and it will make January 6 look like a walk in the park. One more question to ponder: Which is the more serious threat to our democracy and the rule of law, the January 6 Capitol riot or the summer 2020 riots and looting in major cities across the nation by Black Lives Matter and Antifa?
Finally, several commentators have noted that one significant impetus to the riot in the first place was the ambiguity and exploitation of the Electoral Count Act of 1887, which can be read to allow a majority of Congress to disqualify a state’s electors after the Electoral College has voted. Attempts of abuse of this law have been used before, but not to this extent. It seems obvious that one big step toward a bipartisan effort to fix this problem would be for Congress to repeal it.
Greg Stachura says
It is not clear to me what you wish congress to repeal. The electoral college must be addressed by a constitutional amendment. I favor the college myself. It is a protection of the minority from the tyranny of the majority.
Also, I am disappointed that you used the word outrage to describe your response. So much of our political language is related to violence today. Every one of my representatives has been ‘fighting’ for this or that. Is it any wonder that the tenor of our politics is more explosive today than in some times past?
Jim Windham says
The Electoral Count Act of 1887 was adopted supposedly to clear up the confusion of the election of 1876, but simply added to it. Congress can repeal this law, which is likely unconstitutional in the first place, and should.
Greg Stachura says
Thank you, my friend for that clarification.
I think you missed the point of Jim’s comment regarding the Electoral Count Act of 1887. In my judgment, Jim was not suggesting doing away with the Electoral College. Far from it!
As to the word “outrage,” I presume you have no objection to Jim expressing his personal feelings about the actions of some on Jan 6, 2021, and thereafter for that matter. You, of course, are entitled to feel differently without criticism.
Greg Stachura says
I have no objection at all. I simply point out that the use of the “fighting” rhetoric is widespread and, I believe, contributing to the polarization. I do not see it as the sole cause, but a contributor.
Brian K Delaney says
Totally agree with the theme of your post Jim but not surprised unfortunately. As Greg suggests political and public discourse is all about superlatives these days which fits the Democrat narrative perfectly. The tea leaves don’t look good for them right now and they will ride this story as long as possible. Don’t expect the panel to spend much time on BLM or Antifa…
Dr. Tom says
I submit the greatest danger to our Republic and the rule of law is the Democratic Party itself. The Antifa/BLM riots with looting, arson and assaults on police forces occurred in Democrat-run cities whose mayors stood by, did nothing and in some cases provided “moral” (sic) support to these mobs.
Portland, OR is the worst case in point.
On Capitol Hill there are not-subtle moves to turn the US into permanent one-party rule, Federal control of all state elections among them. Mail in your ballots!
The Biden administration clearly shows this totalitarian thrust with its unconstitutional mandates and the purchase of loyal citizen and non-citizen dependence on Moscow-On-The-Potomac with its mad-money distribution. Now House GOP members are asking (asking!) for an accounting of $5 trillion spent by the Biden forces. Making citizens dependent on the central government is a hallmark of socialism/communism.
In short, I am not sanguine about the future of America. Can any of us cite one example of positivity about preservation of our God-given rights by this administration? Obama’s “fundamental transformation of America” is being vigorously accomplished.
Vernon Edgar Wuensche says
Anyone who has watched a lot of Western movies and read about the nature of how mobs form can see what happened on January 6th as exhibit A. Many good people got caught up in a mob. And the 700 or so that have been incarcerated have been violated. Why have they been imprisoned for a year awaiting trial for mostly a trespass misdemeanor charge while those committing murder in Democrat-run cities are often immediately out on bail? A Constitutionally mandated speedy trial anyone? Or is that part of a liberal mandated media play plus punishment.
David E. Richards says
Totally agree. Where are the Republicans in addressing these egregious violations of the Constitution? Not a peep from leadership. Disgusting.
Dr. Tom says
Coincidental is today’s City Journal essay by Heather MacDonald, who seconds your thoughts.
James Windham says
Thanks, Tom. I had not seen her essay until now. I am a big fan of hers.
Danny Billingsley says
The political rhetoric regarding January 6, is no different than political rhetoric regarding virtually all issues. It is formulated for the consumption of the ill-informed, low voter IQ individuals and the true believers. I find it difficult to label it rhetoric rather than lies. It closely rivals former Soviet and current CCP propaganda. Little wonder our foreign adversaries hold slight stock in what our so-called leaders say.
Reg Brockwell says
What disturbs me is the fact that Republican leadership does nothing and many of them just want to retire and get a job on FOX News. I want to see these principled Republican leaders adopt a strategy instead of looking for a way out.
The Democrats are going to beat Jan 6th in news until (and If) they lose the house and/or senate. As soon as the new committee(s) are formed to investigate the abuse of state and local election laws using alleged governmental powers to change local election laws and rules leading up to elections, including the subpoena of Nancy’s and Chuck’s emails and correspondence, the news media and Dems will scream how unfair it is to claim the Dems were to blame for the broad belief the election as stolen and Jan 6 was an outgrowth of Republican outrage at the Dems and then shut up and follow the same path of resistance to cooperation in these new “unjustified” investigations as they claim Republicans have been.
Sad to say, the Dems see this time as their best shot to change and destroy the American Dream no matter the cost. If they lose, it may be years before they get another shot.
Bill close says
I don’t think you can describe Jan 6 as directed–coerced perhaps–certainly not organized. like many of the riots we have experienced–a bunch of followers and not many leaders.
The world history of all of this is plain too see. I doubt that we will ever change it–and–it will get worse. There are too many followers who have no idea of what is happening. It is like sending men into war–but whose war is it really.
We are just in the midst of history repeating itself and all we do is talk.
Jim Windham says
Well, the FBI and Justice Department could no longer stand the heat from leftist groups not to have found someone to indict for insurrection in the January 6 riot, so this past week they got their man. He is the well-known founder of Oath Keepers, a hard right regular participant in BLM and Antifa-sponsored riots and looting around the country, who has now been charged with seditious conspiracy. I am reminded of the great quote from the French police chief played by Claude Rains in the movie Casablanca, giving instructions to his cops: “Round up the usual suspects”.
Danny Billingsley says
The next effort at “draining the swamp” should be an enema of the FBI and DOJ. It’s far pass time to quit naming DOJ lawyers to head both those and go outside for a great top cop, or former top cop, from a large municipal or county agency as FBI Director. At the DOJ name a local prosecutor in the vein of former Harris County DAs Carol Vance or Johnny Holmes. Then we would see some real independence.
Tim Phillips says
The US was not designed, nor has operated as a democracy. We are a representative republic. The electoral college serves to facilitate and protect this fact.
The very real “knife at the throat” of our republic is the obliteration of our God-given rights protected in the constitution (including the bill of rights) by fear-driven mass hysteria created by the federalized health bureaucracy and mass media (print, social and traditional electronic) promotion of mandated unproven vaccines, masks, social distancing and worst of all lockdowns. The evidence of effect is the destruction of truly unique American middle class. Once gone it will not be recovered without massive social upheaval and then unlikely to succeed.
Dr. Tom says
Amen, Tim, amen.