We Cannot and Should Not Justify Yesterday's Chaos in Washington D.C.

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

On Wednesday, a protest of the 2020 election results turned into a chaotic scene as protestors stormed and breached the Capitol building in Washington D.C.

As the evening went on, several prominent Republicans voiced their frustration and anger with the events, and as the chaos continued, it led to some of the most disgraceful scenes in American history. Protestors stealing things from the Capitol building, rummaging through Senators’ desks, smashing windows, vandalizing offices, all because they do not like the outcome of an election.

Curiously, several people took to Twitter to attempt to justify the scandalous… no, terroristic behavior of those protestors. Most of the tweets look something like this, with lots of callbacks to the BLM/Antifa protests over the summer throughout the world of social media. The general idea appears to be that this protest is understandable, or even justifiable, because the BLM/Antifa protests over the summer were also chaotic and destructive.

Washington D.C. Capitol Police, Trump Protesters
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Nothing that happened on Wednesday is understandable or justifiable. It was a damn shame, and it is not something we should condone.

A lot of this talk stems from the idea that because the Democrats allowed their side to get away with so much, and because the media refused to hold them accountable, that this is naturally what comes next – it is a continuation of the argument that we should be playing by their rules.

This is something that we should absolutely reject. It is an embarassment and a violation of the very spirit of what we are supposed to be.

We are supposed to be better than they are, not on the same level. We make our case to the public on not burning down American cities, on not violating the Constitution and its institutions. To stoop to their level hasn’t won us anything. At our best, we win elections and make gains in important battlegrounds. When we are at our most base, then we lose.

Republicans made far more gains from 2010 to 2016 than they did from 2016-2020. Yes, Mitt Romney could not beat Barack Obama in 2012, but Republicans did well otherwise. By 2016, most of the Democratic Party had been wiped out, and Donald Trump won the Presidency largely due to the fact that he wasn’t Hillary Clinton and wasn’t from inside the Beltway.

But the very next election cycle, 2018, a lot of those gains began getting washed away. It was a repudiation of Trump’s tactics, which we being employed not just by him but by many of his followers. The desperation of many Republicans to tie themselves to him forced them to tie themselves to that behavior that center-right and moderate voters despise.

Those antics continued on to November, where he lost – and I have explained why before – and Republicans stood on the verge of defeat when it all came down to two Senate seats in Georgia.

From there, the President and many of his allies pushed conspiracy theories that are not only unprovable, but they are also impossible. It is one thing to have a healthy skepticism of some of the procedures that went down, but it’s another to assume to declare many of the things that the President was declaring and that his allies were pushing.

People clearly weren’t buying it, and in the middle of all that you had those two Senate seats up for grabs with Republicans in Georgia and across the country all but telling Georgians that their votes won’t matter so it’s not even worth it to try.

Democratic turnout on Tuesday was ten percent less than it was in November. Republican turnout was down thirty percent, and a lot of it in places like north Georgia, where the President held a rally and proceeded to attack Georgia’s statewide elected Republicans. He even vowed to primary Governor Brian Kemp. Small wonder the Trump-loyal base in north Georgia did not turn out in droves like they were supposed to.

But the people who stormed the Capitol building in Washington D.C. and ransacked it were encouraged to do exactly that because for four years a lot of what our side has been saying is “The Democrats are our enemy. The Republicans are our enemy. Washington D.C., the Swamp, is our enemy.” And because that mantra kept going out, spearheaded by a man who would not accept that he lost, a few hundred lunatics rampaged through the very building where the election was being certified.

A woman is dead, shot by law enforcement because she was somewhere she shouldn’t be. She is a victim not of the police but of the conspiracy theorists.

Those few hundred lunatics are not reflective of the entire conservative base, just as the extremist Antifa thugs are not reflective of the entire progressive base. But both groups, if they are comparable at all, are comparable in that they are the natural result of constantly demonizing the other side and not being aware of how our words can set a mentally unstable person down the wrong path.

There is nothing justifiable about the chaos in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. We must do better and be better.