An insurrection , according to the (American) Merriam Webster dictionary, is a ‘usually violent attempt to take control of a government’.
The January 6th 2021 invasion of the U.S. Capitol definitely had elements of violence: property damaged, people assaulted, and as Wikipedia notes ‘Five people died either shortly before, during, or following the event: one was shot by Capitol Police, another died of a drug overdose, and three died of natural causes’.
The intent of the 2000 invaders of the Capitol was to disrupt the counting of the votes for the new President of the United States, because they believed that ‘their’ candidate, Donald Trump, had been wrongfully deprived of the Presidency through voter fraud. Few of the protesters had weapons and most of those were not guns.
In its attempt to portray the violence of the protesters, Wikipedia notes that ‘the large majority of people charged with crimes relating to the attack had no known affiliation with far-right or extremist groups’ and that Pipe bombs were found at each of the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee headquarters, and Molotov cocktails were discovered in a vehicle near the Capitol’. Those statements from Wikipedia clearly demonstrate that neither pipe bombs or molotov cocktails or other weapons were held by the protesters on the Capitol site, nor was there a coordinated plot of ‘insurrection’.
To ‘take control’ of a government of 329 million people would clearly require considerably more weaponry than a few molotov cocktails in parked cars. The protesters therefore had no capacity to take control of the United States government, but were able to express their displeasure at what they considered to be a ‘stolen election’.
It is curious therefore that the vast majority of mainstream media- not just in the United States, but also in other Western countries, continues to portray those 2000 protesters as violent insurrectionists and a threat to democracy in the United States.
Leaving aside the fact that United States ‘democracy’ is a two part farce between largely identical factions ; the Republican and Democratic parties; both entirely corrupted by corporate money, it is more curious that the U.S. Democratic party and its mainstream media supporters continue to play up the threat of the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. The only agency able to actually violently overthrow the U.S. government is the U.S military, or possibly a foreign power.
Indeed President Biden’s recent speech on the anniversary of the January 6th protests continues to exaggerate the threat of a Trump supported insurrection with extraordinary hyperbole calling it the “worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.” .
Given that almost 50% of the American voting population supported Trump at the last election, this seems a very foolish strategy for a President to take. A stateperson-like approach would surely acknowledge the differences between the parties and the need for peace and reconciliation. However the skills of reconciliation and diplomacy do not appear to be something that American politicians have much mastery of.
Attacking the political beliefs of 50% of your population as violent and unacceptable is not a sensible approach for any politician wishing to achieve great things – and be re-elected. (not too dissimilar to Hilary Clinton’s foolish disparagement of Trump supporters as ‘deplorables’, in the previous Presidential election). To deliberately undermine the opposing party’s supporters ( however foolish and misguided their views are) in such a caustic manner, is to fracture a nation .
While many Americans legitimately fear what a new Trump-like presidency would mean for them, the risk of some other organisation (and they would need to be highly organised) attempting to truly subvert the government, becomes ever more real as both political parties insist that democracy has already been subverted by the other.
And we now see The U.S. Department of Justice and FBI hyping up the internal threat to U.S. ‘democracy’ and adding considerably more resources into internal surveillance of the U.S. population. In addition, some Democrat politicians are attempting to claim the Capitol attack was an internal terrorist event; “When a mob of armed rioters use force in an attempt to overthrow the United States government, that is domestic terrorism,” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) said as she pressed the department’s National Security Division chief, Matthew Olsen, and senior FBI official Jill Sanborn about the approach to the prosecutions. “My understanding is prosecutors have not been pushing for the sentencing enhancements available for acts of domestic terrorism.”
The use of ‘terrorism’ terminology to describe those American citizens who oppose the U.S. government’ position on various issues, is again, a dangerous one. The United States has consistently used its foreign terrorism legislation and military mechanisms to murder, torture and ‘disappear’ people who thwart its ‘interests’ outside of its borders, at will, and without any regard for international norms or rights.
In addition, as the country with both the highest number and the highest rate per 100,000 of people incarcerated in prisons in the world , in often appalling conditions, United States’ authorities have no qualms about putting people in gaol, using them as slave labour and often killing them , on dubious grounds.
All of this hyperbole in an already violence fueled nation, is a recipe for disaster and disintegration. The United States desperately needs statesmen, not representatives of vested corporate interests in positions of power. Statesmen (and other genders) who understand that the United States is not , and never has been, that shining city on the hill that President Reagan once spoke about (“America is a shining city upon a hill whose beacon light guides freedom-loving people everywhere’), that the United States is not the ‘exceptional nation’ and can only marginally be called a democracy, and that its history is stained with more than 200 years of savagery, bloodshed, treachery and infamy.
Statesmen who understand there needs to be radical real change in the United States before it begins to respect and support its own citizens, let alone the citizens of other countries – statesmen and women who understand that mealy-mouthed slogans and threats are not enough!