The American people were betrayed at least three times yesterday.
There was former Mayor Rudy Giuliani addressing a rally in front of the White House stoking up the crowd by telling the “Save America Rally” that it was time for “trial by combat.”
There were the thousands of Trump thugs who then stormed and desecrated the U.S. Capitol building sparking a melee that left four people dead, one from gunshots and three others due to medical emergencies induced by the violence.
And there were the several police officers who opened the crowd control gates to permit the deranged “stop the steal” mob to flood the entrances and blow through the security perimeter.
In just minutes the building was breached and the Congressional proceedings were violently interrupted. Elements of the mob took over the U.S. Senate Chamber and rifled through the legislators’ desks at will. Others carried Trump and Confederate flags through the corridors as others smashed windows.
Our elected representatives and their staffs had to hide in undisclosed locations out of fear of being murdered not by terrorists from overseas but by home grown ‘All American’ self-styled freedom fighters who have been flattered and stroked by Fox News, their General Trump and his junta.
The nation that spends hundreds of billions of borrowed dollars on all sorts of obscene military hardware has found itself upended for months by a pandemic and a scarcity of masks was now rendered helpless to protect its most valued asset.
What was laid bare was the systemic racism revealed by how the vast complex of federal law enforcement agencies responsible for the Capitol building’s security just didn’t see the seething angry mob of MAGA white supremacists as a potential threat.
Do you have any doubt what the outcome would have been if that mob had been composed of Black Lives Matter protestors?
New York Times correspondent Shaila Dewan was spot on when she observed the radical contrast between how aggressively the law enforcement in Washington D.C. treated the Black Lives Matter protestors back in the spring. That’s when President Trump used a mix of Federal police units to charge a crowd of peaceful protestors using tear gas and flash grenades to disperse them all so President Trump could have a photo-op holding a bible in front of a church.
“The tone, and the initial law enforcement response, were strikingly different on Wednesday as a lawless and destructive mob of his supporters stormed the Capitol and disrupted the counting of the Electoral College votes,” writes Dewan. “One video appeared to show Capitol Police officers moving aside barriers and retreating as the mob flooded through.”
Other disturbing images on social media included uniformed security officer posing with Trump rioters for selfies as they poured through the security checkpoint unscreened.
The backslapping interaction between the Trump insurrectionists and the security officer in the Capitol was reminiscent of how the police treated Kyle Rittenhouse, the armed white 17-year-old Trump supporter who traveled from his home state of Illinois to the protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August where he allegedly shot and killed two protestors.
Trump’s racist authoritarian cult has gotten traction inside factions of America’s police unions that strongly endorsed his re-election.
One of the most disturbing video vignettes was that of an African American Capitol Police Officer attempting to slow the progress of a mob of white MAGA rioters forced to move in retreat up a flight of steps and down a corridor backwards as the mob pressed on until the officer was joined by three armed colleagues.
Incredibly, even after shots were fired and incendiary devices set off inside the Capitol, the marauding mob appeared to have been permitted to stroll of into the chilly D.C. night air.
Several hours after order had been restored there still had been no public after action briefing to explain how the system into which we have poured billions of dollars post 9/11 failed so miserably.
Speculation ran wild about who was actually in command and control after the New York Times tweeted that it had been Vice President Mike Pence who had given the order to deploy the D.C. National Guard.
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-9) was present on the House chamber watching the certification of the Electoral College for President-elect Biden when the Congress was forced to suspend proceedings.
“Today inside the Capitol, Republicans sought to tear down our democracy while the rightwing extremist mob they whipped up outside is violently trying to do the same,” wrote Pascrell. “This attempted coup is treasonous. It was incited directly by Donald Trump and some Congressional Republicans. When he leaves office Trump must be prosecuted for his crimes, perhaps including his incitement to violence. If the Defense Department blocked the deployment of the National Guard, any one responsible for that must be held accountable and possibly arrested.”
Pascrell continues. “To all the Trump sycophants that followed in his footsteps, to all my Republican colleagues I say this: once the fascist genie has been let out of the bottle, he can’t be forced back in. Violent fascism at the footsteps of our national legislature was fed by Republicans and years of fomenting extremism against our government.”
“It’s not the America we know or the America we love and we don’t want to see that, and that does not represent most of the people who are involved in that organization,” he said. “But evidently, there were some people there that were violent and that’s something that is not and should not ever be accepted, period.”
But Pascrell wants Van Drew gone, for having stepped forward as the lone New Jersey objector to Biden’s victory. The South Jersey congressman who switched from Democrat to Republican sooner than back the impeachment of Trump said on the floor, “After this past presidential election, approximately sixty million people have serious doubts about the outcome.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) then said Van Drew’s time had expired.
His North Jersey colleague was even more unimpressed.
“I have signed onto my colleague‘s resolution,” said Pascrell. “Any House members who have tried to overturn the election and install a dictatorship have violated the Constitution and should not sit in Congress.”
That includes Van Drew.
On the floor, Senator Cory Booker reminded his colleagues the last time our nation’s capital had been under such a hostile siege was during the War of 1812.
“What’s interesting about the parallel of the two was they both were waving flags to a sole sovereign, to an individual surrendering democratic principles to the cult of personality,” said Booker. “One was a monarch in England. The other was the flag I saw over our capitol including in the hallways and in this room to a single person—Donald Trump.”
He continued. “The difference between these two times is one was another nation in the history of our country that tried to challenge the United States of America. But this time, we brought this hell upon ourselves.”