By Royal Alexander
There has been great attention given to the events of Jan 6th, 2020, which merits a look back a year later. Let’s reflect on that day.
Over a million Americans showed up in the Nation’s Capital. And, although Pres. Trump has been accused of urging the massive showing that day, that is not really relevant. Americans always possess the right to peaceably assemble and be heard.
We should remember that there were comparatively few lawbreakers while over a million of the attendees that day marched, sang, and prayed for their country. I have friends locally who attended, as did others across Louisiana, and they didn’t plan or intend for one moment to do anything but exercise their freedoms of speech, expression and free exercise of religion while peacefully making their views known. Those guarantees are about as iron clad as any that exist in our Constitution.
Those attending the march include my friend, Karen Haymon, and my sister-in-law, Patricia Alexander, who shared with me that they felt they met the best of America that day. People came from across the country—farmers, pastors, lawyers, architects, secretaries, veterans, doctors, truck drivers, plumbers, teachers, welders, CPAs, mechanics, nuns, librarians; individuals hailing from every race, creed, and background in America, meeting together. The mood and demeanor of the crowd were friendly. Attendees were courteous to others and ensured the grounds remained neat and trash-free. The vast majority of marchers were respectful, contained and anticipated a typical Trump rally.
I’m told that despite the cold weather there were red, white, and blue beach balls being volleyed in the crowd, a gigantic American flag rolling out over the heads of the crowd; As far as the eye could see, there were families, pets…happy people…singing along with the music playing in between various speakers who addressed the crowd. Along the route there were pro-life groups, folks singing patriotic music, vendors, and no signs of violence. (In fact, many had no idea of the events of the day until they got back to their hotel rooms that evening and saw it on the news).
It was also not uncommon to be tapped on the shoulder and asked to join in an impromptu prayer circle. My friends also felt Pres. Trump’s speech was rather flat (rather than the inflammatory urge to violence he’s been accused of); perhaps it was the cold weather or enormous crowd that made it difficult to connect.
A fraction of those at the march have been charged with trespassing, assaulting law enforcement officers and criminal damage to property. Many have either pled their cases or they will be tried, and evidence will be presented, and an impartial jury of their peers will decide their guilt or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in the meantime, every one of the arrested individuals (as are everyone of us) is afforded a presumption of innocence. That’s how our legal system works and that’s how we render justice in this country.
Much of the confusion that day stems from the fact that the national media, which is often less interested in facts and more interested in its preferred narrative, long ago deemed Pres. Trump a racist and bigot (never mind the tens of millions of dollars he has donated to the NAACP and many other minority causes prior to becoming president, when he was simply a generous billionaire) and therefore his millions of supporters must be racist and bigoted too. How untrue and unfair.
Regarding the security that day, I would note I was a staffer for two Members of Congress from Louisiana and spent almost 8 years on Capitol Hill. The Capitol is one of the safest and most secure buildings in the world. I have passed in and out of it many hundreds of times. I had a staff ID badge and was known to police officers who guarded the entrances and exits and yet I was still scrutinized every single time. That’s why it’s difficult to comprehend the lax security on Jan. 6th. There is footage of police simply moving out of the way and letting the rioters enter the building even though there is no indication they were armed. Unbelievable.
So, a multitude of people in town and a joint session of Congress to debate and certify votes for the electoral college. But lax security. We learned later that there were FBI reports of possible violence prior to Jan. 6th; that the outgoing Capitol Police Chief requested days before the riot that the National Guard be placed on standby, but his request was rebuffed by House and Senate security officials and a top Pentagon commander. The New York Times reported, and subsequent reports make this clear, that on Jan. 4th the Department of Defense under Pres. Trump’s authority sent a written request to Mayor Bowser of D.C. and Capitol security to have 10-20 thousand National Guard troops on hand at the Capitol for Jan 6th. The request was refused in writing. Politico also reports that “the intelligence was there” and that “law enforcement warnings abounded” in the days prior to Jan. 6. Why the absence of adequate security? (Also, although heavily insinuated in national media the FBI never found evidence of a planned “insurrection” or effort to “coordinate” an attack on the Capitol).
Let’s be fair, though. What about Left-wing political violence? What about the summer of George Floyd? Those demonstrations quickly moved past protesting the death of George Floyd and calling for police reforms. That early effort was replaced by the rioting, arson and destruction we witnessed daily for months—a mob-driven force whose threatening demands included defunding police, eliminating law and order, and undermining the legal and political framework of our society—enabling chaos and anarchy.
Antifa and Black Lives Matter engaged in domestic terrorism, conduct embraced and enabled by a national Democrat Party that called them “peaceful protestors.” Antifa seeks chaos and anarchy, and BLM is headed by Marxists who seek to tear down our form of government and free-market economy and replace it with some form of socialism. One of its leaders has stated, “if America doesn’t give us what we want, we will burn down this system.” What about that destruction and breakdown of law and order, and those riots, violence, vandalism, and crime? Do we pretend that never happened? Is some violence acceptable and other instances not?
So, yes, Jan. 6, 2020 was an ugly day that unquestionably involved rioting and violence, as well as attacking and breaking into the U.S. Capitol. However, this week Pres. Biden and VP Kamala Harris incredibly described Jan 6th, 2020 in this way: Biden termed it “the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.” VP Harris deemed Jan. 6th comparable to Pearl Harbor and 9-11. These comparisons are obscenely disproportionate descriptions of Jan. 6th and an insult to the brave and courageous people who lived through or died as a result of the Civil War, Pearl Harbor and 9-11.
It’s unfair and erroneous to allow the dangerous and illegal actions of a comparatively few to wipe away the joyful sense of solidarity of the million plus gathered. The authentic spirit of 99.9% of the marchers shouldn’t be compared with a small group of lawbreakers who are being held accountable for their actions by our legal system. We should not allow a multitude of peaceful Americans to be demonized for the actions of a few.
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