Amy Goodman

Trump’s insurrection

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Congress convened Wednesday to perform the largely ceremonial counting of Electoral College votes and to declare Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential election. Donald Trump countered with a rally that he had been planning for weeks. “Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

“Let’s have trial by combat,” Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s disgraced personal lawyer, crowed from the rally podium. “Stand up and fight!” Trump’s son Don Jr. shouted, as he threatened Congressional Republicans unwilling to support overturning Biden’s election, “We’re coming for you and we’re going to have a good time doing it.”

After President Trump’s speech, he directed the raging crowd to march on the Capitol, where the counting of votes was underway. Trump’s mob swarmed the Capitol, overwhelmed police, then smashed windows and breached heavy, locked doors.

With Trump and Confederate flags waving, the violent insurrectionists rampaged through the halls. Both the House and the Senate, debating the challenge to Arizona’s certified Electors, abruptly recessed as chaos descended on the heart of American democracy. Congressmembers grabbed gas masks from under their seats as teargas was deployed (it’s unclear if any of the staunch Trump supporters in the House refused to don the masks). Soon after Senators fled, marauders flooded their chamber. Guards barricaded the doors to the House in an armed standoff with Trump’s insurrectionists.

Capitol Police shot and killed one of the intruders, 35-year-old Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt of San Diego. Her social media posts suggest a strong belief in the fringe QAnon conspiracy theory. Three others reportedly died in D.C. of unspecified “medical emergencies” and several dozen were arrested.

The Capitol’s minimal security, with the entire Congress and the Vice President present, was shocking. Videos circulated showing a handful of Capitol Police briefly resisting the marchers, then opening the security perimeter, admitting the angry crowd. Inside, several police officers posed for selfies with the domestic terrorists who were taking control of the building.

The violence was predicted. It had already erupted at an earlier Trump protest, on Dec. 12, where several people were stabbed. When the head of the violent group The Proud Boys was arrested in D.C. Monday, he was carrying high-capacity ammunition clips for semi-automatic rifles. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser made an unheeded request to the Pentagon to deploy the National Guard this week.

Compare Wednesday’s lax police presence to the major, militarized mobilization in response to this summer’s protests against systemic racism, police brutality and in defense of Black lives. Then, no expense was spared to garrison the Capitol with fully armed police, SWAT teams and National Guard troops. Trump’s former Attorney General Bill Barr ordered a Pentagon-coordinated assault on peaceful protestors to clear the streets, so Donald Trump could pose with a Bible before a church. One can only imagine what would have happened if thousands of people of color and BLM supporters rampaged through the Capitol during a joint session of Congress.

The law specifying Congress’ counting of the Electoral College votes passed in 1887, following the controversial 1876 election that pitted Republican Rutherford Hayes against Democrat Samuel Tilden. Tilden won the popular vote, but Hayes engineered an Electoral College win by agreeing to withdraw federal troops from Southern states. On the floor of the Senate, after Trump’s violent mob had been removed and proceedings recommenced, Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin invoked the memory of that devastating Compromise of 1877:

“The senator from Texas [Ted Cruz] says we just want to create a little commission. Ten days, we’re going to audit all the states ... and find out what actually occurred. It’s parallel to 1876, Hayes and Tilden. Don’t forget what that commission achieved: It was a commission that killed Reconstruction, that established Jim Crow, that even after a Civil War which tore this nation apart, it re-enslaved African Americans, and it invited the voter suppression we are still fighting today.”

Throughout his life, Trump has fanned the flames of white supremacy. He owes his one-term presidency in large part to his cynical exploitation of racism and fear. Yet, as Trump’s followers attacked the Capitol, the final U.S. Senate race was called for Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff. The other Georgia Democrat, Rev. Raphael Warnock, won his Senate race hours earlier, becoming the first African American Democrat elected to the Senate from the South. These victories return the Senate to Democratic control. They were the result of years of grassroots organizing, painstakingly registering Georgia voters and overcoming generations of violence, Jim Crow voter suppression and massive voter purges.

Trump will soon be gone, but will the cancer of Trumpism remain? Look to the lessons of Georgia for a glimmer of hope, that the power of grassroots organizing can overcome racism and hate.

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 1,400 stations. She is the co-author, with Denis Moynihan and David Goodman, of the New York Times best-seller “Democracy Now!: 20 Years Covering the Movements Changing America.”
   (c) 2020 Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan
   Distributed by King Features Syndicate

  

Past Columns
Ban Assault Weapons Now

March 31, 2021

End the filibuster

March 24, 2021

Confederate Monuments

March 10, 2021

Alone Star State

February 24, 2021

Shut down DAPL

February 3, 2021

When the wall becomes a door

January 27, 2021

Pardons and Pentobarbital

December 9, 2020

Food for the hungry

December 2, 2020

Lost Causes

November 18, 2020

Infection Election

October 21, 2020

Amoral Universe

September 2, 2020

COVID Care

August 12, 2020

Tests, not troops

July 29, 2020

Defund the Police

June 17, 2020

Racism in America

June 2, 2020

Live and Let Die

May 13, 2020

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11:00am

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11:00am

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11:00am

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11:00am

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11:00am

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A Road Well Traveled

12:00pm

“Max Benjamin: A Road Well Traveled” can be seen from 12pm-4pm Thursdays through Sundays at La Conner’s Museum of Northwest Art, 121 First St. The solo exhibit featuring the work of the…

An Artist's Universe

10:00am

View painter and mixed-media master David Syre’s latest installation, “An Artist’s Universe,” hanging throughout the corridors, lobby and dining room of Hotel Bellwether and the Lighthouse…

McKnight and DeLacy

10:00am

Mixed-media works by Bainbridge Island-based artist Aaron McKnight and sculptures by Marceil DeLacy can be viewed from 10am-5pm Fridays through Sundays through April 25 in Edison at Smith &…

Briggs Shore at Good Earth

11:00am

Vases, planters and drinking vessels by Briggs Shore will be on display and for sale from 11am-5pm Mondays through Saturdays (closed Tuesdays) and 12pm-5pm Sundays through April 30 at Good…

Whatcom Art Market

11:00am

Works by as many as 45 Whatcom Art Guild members can be viewed from 11am-5pm Tuesdays through Sundays at Whatcom Art Market, 1103 11th St.

Tulip Poster Artists, Past and Present

11:00am

The fifth annual “Tulip Poster Artists, Past and Present” exhibit can be seen from 11am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday through May 2 in Anacortes at the Scott Milo Gallery, 420 Commercial Ave.…

Scatter Sunshine

11:00am

From 11am-5pm Wednesday through Sunday, visit La Conner’s Pacific Northwest Quilt & Fiber Arts Museum, 703 S. Second St. Currently on display are “Scatter Sunshine: La Conner in Bloom…

The Work of Jesus Guillén

11:00am

“The Work of Jesus Guillen: An Artistic Legacy of Love and Courage” can be seen from 11am-4pm Fridays through Sundays through May 2 in La Conner at the Skagit County Historical Museum, 501 S.…

Rock, Paper, Paint

11:00am

“Rock, Paper, Paint” shows from 11am-4pm Fridays through Sundays through April 25 in Edison at i.e. gallery, 5800 Cains Court. The exhibit features new “drop” oil paintings by Allen Moe, rock…

Sculpture Northwest Exhibit

11:00am

The works of 15 Sculpture Northwest artists can be viewed both indoors and out from 11am-5pm Fridays through Sundays (and by appointment) through April 23 on Camano Island at Matzke Fine Art…

A Road Well Traveled

12:00pm

“Max Benjamin: A Road Well Traveled” can be seen from 12pm-4pm Thursdays through Sundays at La Conner’s Museum of Northwest Art, 121 First St. The solo exhibit featuring the work of the…

Seeds of Culture at Whatcom Museum

12:00pm

View “Seeds of Culture: The Portraits and Voices of Native American Women,” “Fluid Formations: The Legacy of Glass in the Pacific Northwest,” “Jac Trautman: The Specter of the Indigenous,”…

Art-iversary Exhibit

10:00am

From 10am-5:30pm Mondays through Saturdays through April 30, celebrate 20 years of ownership for Sheri Wright of Fourth Corner Frames, 311 W. Holly St. A wide variety of works are for sale as…

Seeds of Culture at Whatcom Museum

12:00pm

View “Seeds of Culture: The Portraits and Voices of Native American Women,” “Fluid Formations: The Legacy of Glass in the Pacific Northwest,” “Jac Trautman: The Specter of the Indigenous,”…