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
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

Unpredictable Trajectory

April 22, 2020

M4A

February 26, 2020

Suffrage

January 22, 2020

Wednesday
Origins and Evolutions Exhibit

11:00am

Starting this week, “Origins and Evolutions: Five Generations” can be seen from 11am-4pm Tues.-Thurs., and by appointment, at least through May 22 at Gallery Syre, 465 Stuart Rd. The show…

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BAAY Online Winter Classes

10:00am

Registration is still open for Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth’s online winter classes for kids and teens, which continue weekly on Zoom through early April. Students from ages 5 to 17 can…

Kitchen Kit

10:00am

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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. Due to public safety concerns, masks are required…

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11:00am

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6:00pm

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Thursday
Origins and Evolutions Exhibit

11:00am

Starting this week, “Origins and Evolutions: Five Generations” can be seen from 11am-4pm Tues.-Thurs., and by appointment, at least through May 22 at Gallery Syre, 465 Stuart Rd. The show…

New Relics

11:00am

A “New Relics” exhibit can be perused from 11am-4pm Tuesday through Saturday through Jan. 30 at Allied Arts, 1418 Cornwall Ave. The exhibit features selections by Nikole Dixon, Jessica…

Energy Club

8:00am

From 8am-9pm, Sustainable Connections hosts an Energy Club Zoom meeting. The virtual event is a “quick and casual” meet-up to give energy-efficiency enthusiasts all of the tools, information…

BAAY Online Winter Classes

10:00am

Registration is still open for Bellingham Arts Academy for Youth’s online winter classes for kids and teens, which continue weekly on Zoom through early April. Students from ages 5 to 17 can…

Kitchen Kit

10:00am

Tiny Onion Cooking School and Bellingham Parks and Rec invite you into the kitchen for an all-ages “Kitchen Kit: Butter and Butterbeer” collaboration. From 3pm-6pm Fri., Jan. 29 or 10am-12pm…

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. Due to public safety concerns, masks are required…

Winter Warmers Cup Show Benefit

11:00am

An annual “Invitational Cup Show and Winter Warmers” exhibit and benefit can be perused from 11am-5pm Mondays through Saturdays, and 12pm-4pm Sundays through January at Good Earth Pottery,…

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12:00pm

From 12pm-1:30pm, Bellingham City Club continues its efforts to shed light on difficult subjects by hosting special guest speaker Omari Amili of the Humanities Washington Speaker Bureau for a…

Teen Events with WCLS

3:00pm

Students in grades 6 to 12 can sign up for a variety of virtual events through Whatcom County Library System, including “Teen Reads” from 3pm-4pm Wednesdays, “Whatcom Teen Writers” from…

Murder at Andaman

6:00pm

At 6pm, celebrated local author Bharti Kirchner shares her new book, Murder at Andaman, at a virtual event hosted by Village Books. In the tome, private detective Maya Mallick is called when…