Roger Kimball supports an unimpeded and totally bipartisan inquiry into the 6 January melee at the Capitol. In Spectator.US, Mr. Kimball argues, however, that there is no valid analogy between the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States by Muslim fanatics and the low level riot at the Capitol. Nancy Pelosi’s call for a ‘9/11-style inquiry’ is Democrats’ attempt to seize upon the riot, elevate it into an ‘armed insurrection’, and bewail the assault on ‘our democracy’.
On 9/11 some 3,000 innocent people were murdered, billions of dollars of property was obliterated and important symbols of American economic and military might were attacked, utterly destroyed in the case of the World Trade Towers, seriously damaged in the case of the Pentagon. On January 6, a pro-Trump rally got out of hand despite the president’s instructions to proceed to the Capitol ‘peacefully and patriotically’.
Indeed, so quick was the construction of this narrative that the cynics among us speculated that the riot, if not exactly premeditated by anti-Trump forces, was at least foreseen as an exploitable possibility. Something similar can be said about the deployment of the phrase ‘our democracy’. In this case, the first-person-plural possessive is very clearly intended to be exclusive, not inclusive. No one wearing a MAGA hat or waving a Trump banner is included in that ‘our’. The thousands of loyalty-tested National Guard troops and the tall, razor-wire-tipped fence hastily erected to surround the Capitol communicated the same message.
It’s Us vs Them, comrade: talk about ‘unity’ and ‘our democracy’ but practice division and exclusion. Nancy Pelosi called the Capitol ‘the people’s house’, the ‘citadel of democracy’, but the armed troops and the fence bespoke a different reality.
Not looking to minimize the 6 January outrage, Mr. Kimball acknowledges that it is never good when a crowd morphs into a mob.
(The mob) did far, far less damage than did the scores of mobs rampaging through America’s cities — including Washington DC — this summer. To observe that the BLM/antifa anti-Trump rioters were given a free pass by the media and nearly all Democrat politicians is not to condone the behavior of the pro-Trump crowd on January 6. But it is to highlight a discrepancy, what someone who thinks low might even describe as a double standard.
Which is the main reason RK supports Speaker Pelosi’s call for an inquiry. Like Ms. Pelosi, Mr. Kimball thinks it is important to get to the truth of how this happened, but he is unsure Pelosi is going to like what an unbiased inquiry would reveal.
Were (Pelosi) serious, she would be supporting the suit brought by Judicial Watch against the Capitol police to make public emails, videos and other material about what happened that day. Why, for example, did the Capitol police at some entrances open the doors to protesters and welcome them inside?
The centerpiece of Democrats’ latest effort to impeach Donald Trump was the contention that Brian Sicknick, a Capitol Hill police officer, was bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher by the mob.
But it didn’t happen. Sicknick left the Capitol and later texted his family that he was fine. There have been reports that he, like Benjamin Philips, died of a stroke. As I write, no medical report of the cause of death has been released, though a medical examiner has said that there was no evidence of blunt-force trauma.
It is absolutely critical to the Democratic narrative that the January 6 incident be made to seem as violent and crazed as possible. Only thus can pro-Trump Americans be excluded from ‘our democracy’ and transformed into ‘domestic extremists’ if not, indeed, into ‘domestic terrorists’.
So yes, agrees Mr. Kimball, let’s see where this goes. Bring on an unimpeded and bipartisan inquiry, overseen by an equal number of Republicans, picked by both Pelosi and House minority leader Kevin McCarthy.
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