We Don’t Need No Civil War

Dennis Sanders

Dennis is the pastor of a small Protestant congregation outside St. Paul, MN and also a part-time communications consultant. A native of Michigan, you can check out his writings over on Medium and subscribe to his Substack newsletter on religion and politics called Polite Company.  Dennis lives in Minneapolis with his husband Daniel.

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33 Responses

  1. Saul Degraw says:

    I think if we memory hole this event as a “one-off”, it will happen again. The event cannot be memory holed. That will teach the seditious, alt right, white supremacist fascists that they can act with impunity and get away with it. We should treat this moment as the American equivalent of the Beer Hall Pustch.

    An unruly crowd of miscreants and fascists stormed the Capitol after being incited by the President who would be mobster. They did so in order to attempt to overturn a lawful election where the majority of Americans rejected the mobster President. Just like a majority of Americans rejected the mobster in 2016. This is after we found out that Trump tried to shake down the Secretary of State for Georgia to find more votes. Despite all this, the majority of House Republicans still played lickspittle and voted to throw out the votes of millions of people.

    If we just pretend that everything is normal, the instigators and opportunists will learn no lessons. Hawley and Cruz should be expelled from the Senate. The inssurrectionists need to face criminal charges. All of them and they need real sentences.Report

  2. Damon says:

    I love the modern media. The front page of Slate.com is: “This was a Coup”. No it wasn’t. At best it was an attempt. Only if it had succeeded would it have been a coup.

    In the words of AOC: “The whole point of protesting is to make people uncomfortable. Activists make that discomfort with the status quo. Popular support often starts small and grows. To folks who complain that protest demands make people uncomfortable, that’s the point.”

    Maybe you should have written this post months ago Dennis. It might have done some good then. Now, I think we’re too close to the edge for it to matter….but we’ll see.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Damon says:

      Those people in the Capitol yesterday weren’t protestors. They weren’t there to make people uncomfortable. They used violence to enter our governing spaces and physically threaten a branch of government to try and get a political result. They were not protestors.

      And a coup is a coup whether it fails or succeeds. Its an event and a method, not an outcome.Report

      • Damon in reply to Philip H says:

        First off… a Coup if it fails is an “attempt”.

        Second, the same thing could be said for all the past violent protests we saw in Portland and other places. 100% exactly the same? No. Similar enough that it’s “good enough for gov’t”
        ?. Yep.

        “They used violence to enter our governing spaces and physically threaten a branch of government ” Exactly what happened in Portland, except they didn’t enter the federal buildings IIRCReport

        • Philip H in reply to Damon says:

          They didn’t get close to entry. And if you will recall those protests were both civil and winding down before Dear Leader sent his goon squad to gin up images of a burning American city to try and scare suburban white women.Report

        • Michael Cain in reply to Damon says:

          I would argue that there’s a category difference between an attempt to occupy a government facility to protest some situation — eg, Portland or Malheur — and to attempt to occupy legislative chambers while the legislature is in session to intimidate them into specific actions — Michigan some months back and the Capitol yesterday.Report

          • Oscar Gordon in reply to Michael Cain says:

            Michael is right, there is a degree of difference in entering a federal building for the purposes of protest when the building is not currently in use, and doing so when something of significance is in session.

            For instance, if the Portland protestors had attempted to enter the Federal Courthouse while one of their own was on trial, that would be a very different thing than trying to enter the building just because it’s a federal building.

            Had the protest on the Hill happened while Congress was in recess, or even home for the evening, it would be a very different thing than happening while Congress was in the process of confirming the results of the election.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Damon says:

          They should definitely stop giving out Nobel prizes for Attempted Chemistry.Report

    • gabriel conroy in reply to Damon says:

      I agree that it is “only” a coup attempt and not an actual coup. Still, that’s no argument for coup attempts or for those who have endorsed them.Report

      • Brandon Berg in reply to gabriel conroy says:

        I think we can condemn the people who participated in it while acknowledging that it was not a remotely credible attempt, and pretty much a 100% guaranteed own-goal from the start. Even if they had somehow managed to intimidate Congress into declaring Trump President, it never would have stuck. As far as I can tell, exactly zero shots were fired by the rioters, despite reports that they were armed, which I think says something about how hard they were trying.

        So by all means condemn this, file charges, whatever, but I think a lot of people are getting a bit too excited fantasizing about having narrowly avoided a credible threat.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Brandon Berg says:

          It still fits the definition of a coup attempt. Even if, as I argue on another post, it had no viable end game.

          As such, should charges ever actually manifest from this, I would argue against any of the protesters being charged with treason or sedition absent some overwhelming evidence that they were leading the charge. Property damage, etc., sure.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            Actually, it’s ephebophilia.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            RE: It still fits the definition of a coup attempt

            Wiki’s definition is: …removal of an existing government from power, usually through violent means. Typically, it is an illegal, unconstitutional seizure of power by a political faction, the military, or a dictator.

            This seems more like a disruption of gov business (i.e. a protest) turned riot.

            The one dead person we have details for was apparently a civilian shot by the police. It’s possible we’ll find out more that will up the level of “bad” here (I’m not following this very closely).Report

            • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter says:

              And if it had happened on any other Wednesday, it would be merely a disruption.

              It was an unserious coup attempt, one that had no hope in hell of doing anything significant, but it was still an attempt to stop the lawful confirmation of the election in order to keep the outgoing leadership in place (chanting “Stop The Steal” before storming the building speaks to intent). Perhaps such an action has a different term than ‘coup’, but the word works for now.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Damon says:

      Yes… Slate.com is the problem. Not the violent terrorists who occupied our nation’s Capitol in an attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power to the duly elected President-elect.Report

    • PissedOffLikeYouWouldntBelieve in reply to Damon says:

      Damon, I don’t think you actually believe that bs. I think you act like you believe it because you want to excuse what happened. Its not honest, but you can’t wake someone up who’s only pretending to sleep, and I’m not about to try.Report

  3. Kazzy says:

    “In case you weren’t paying attention, let me say that again: 6.6 to 9 million dead.”

    Sure… says YOU! I’m pretty sure any deaths attributed to some Civil War hoax were really people who were going to die anyway and simply died WITH Civil War… not FROM Civil War.Report

  4. Chip Daniels says:

    The only way to avoid the end of our democracy is to refuse to reward those who would destroy it.

    Meaning that people like Josh Hawley need to be shown that allying themselves with the insurrectionists is career suicide.

    The Congressmen and Senators who incited them should be turned out in the next election, or preferably, refused to be seated in this Congress.

    So long as this behavior is rewarded with election victories and career advancement, it will only get worse.Report

    • Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Indeed it will.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Yes. So we will see what the voters remember in the next few years.Report

      • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        It’s time to throw Trump and his crew under the bus. Ideally we’d also throw Ted Cruz as well but that may be a bridge too far.

        Team Blue will insist that all of Team Red should go and (by default) the only solution is a perm Blue majority. This will be a major overreach and self serving.

        Big picture Red lost an election and all three seats of power. That’s actually a lot right there.

        I’m fine with Trump burning his bridges and making it seriously obvious that he’s a problem as he walks out the door, it makes it a lot less likely that he’ll be back. Similarly showcasing the ugly outcomes of these tactics means it will be less likely that they’ll be used in the future.

        However this sort of fact-free reasoning tactics WILL be used in the future because a lot of it is technology driven. Information distribution is splintering, we don’t know what to do about people who take advantage of that. Worse, “fact-free” isn’t all that different from “without perspective” or “seriously cherry picking”.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Dark Matter says:

          Which fact free reasoning are we talking about? There is so much flying around I need a program to keep it all straight.Report

          • Dark Matter in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            RE: Which fact free reasoning are we talking about?

            All of it. Go back in time 50 years and we wouldn’t have had this “the election was stolen” sub-theme because the media would have had a unified message that it wasn’t and the tiny minorities that thought otherwise would have had no way to spread their message and unify. Similarly the anti-vac movement is greatly amplified by modern technology, ditto the flat earthers, and so on.

            Media micro-targeting means your message can be very successful if it’s followed by single digit percentages of the population, even if it’s unreal to everyone else.

            Now the-election-was-stolen and flat-earthers are pure fiction, but serious cherry picking is pretty close to that. From that we get colleges-are-rape-camps and cops-are-committing-genocide and even vaccinations-are-highly-dangerous.Report

  5. LeeEsq says:

    Joining my brother on this. The Republican Party has way too many politicians and media enablers that are arsonists who look innocently about while their little camp fire grew to a massive inferno. They only put a little gasoline on it to help because they just want s’mores, you know? Unless we really confront what is rotten in a lot of White America than this will just happen till we end up with permanent Republican minority rule. The problem is that their might not be a liberal or Constitutional way to deal with it. The people who consume bad media that warps their brains will still drink and eat their full of it and act accordingly. Republicans will bow to the Trump idol and whoever replaces it.Report

  6. Pinky says:

    I’ve been watching a lot of football highlight videos lately, including some with fights and ejections. You can see people switch gears. They go from a normal state to one of readiness. “I’ve got to be ready to get in there and defend my QB. I’ve got to be pumped up.” But when the scuffle breaks out, it could be anyone who throws the first punch, or the first one in a given section of the field.

    You get into a state when you’re expecting a fight, and if both sides are in that state, one of them is going to throw a punch. This is why righteous anger is so dangerous. Sure, it starts righteous. But when you stand up and say, I’m ready for this to happen, it’s probably going to happen even if you’re the one who initiates it. This is England and Germany in the early 1900’s. It’s Jenga: let’s see how much we can destabilize things out of the hope that the whole thing will fall over on the other guy’s watch.Report

  7. Doctor Jay says:

    I think it’s maybe not quite accurate to say I enjoyed this post, Dennis, but I do appreciate it. I’m in a pretty crappy mood right now, wondering how so much falsehood, so many lies, have got into people’s heads. We have senior military officers spouting Q nonsense – more than just Flynn.

    How fractured we are is deeply upsetting to me. I prize my ability to have conversations with people I don’t agree with, but this current trend has ruined it. The best anyone can manage is yelling and sniping at each other. I’m disengaging more rather than doing that.

    We don’t need just antibodies to covid, we need them to social media and the conspiracy theories and lies that they spread.Report

  8. PissedOffLikeYouWouldntBelieve says:

    times are tough.. but they have been so extraordinarily harder in days gone by, that I am just flabbergasted that people (White people!!) are ready to tear it down for Orange Jesus. Even the American Civil War was fought over substantive issues that would radically change the future of the country. This? This is like a husband and wife burning down their house because they couldn’t agree on whether it’d be Merlot or Cabernet tonight.Report

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