Inaugural Dread: What Happened January 6th, and Will it Happen Again January 17th or January 20th?

Vikram Bath

Vikram Bath is the pseudonym of a former business school professor living in the United States with his wife, daughter, and dog. (Dog pictured.) His current interests include amateur philosophy of science, business, and economics. Tweet at him at @vikrambath1.

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  1. Chip Daniels
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    says:

    It will happen again, and again, and again, because a large portion of Americans have abandoned any commitment to democracy or the rule of law, and see their fellow American citizens as lesser beings and unworthy of the freedom to decide their own government.Report

    • Pihlip H in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      Cosign 100%.Report

    • Damon in reply to Chip Daniels
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      says:

      100% correct statement. It also applies to the BLM protests we witnessed earlier this year.Report

      • Slade the Leveller in reply to Damon
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        says:

        They already know what it’s like to see their fellow American citizen treat them as lesser beings.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Slade the Leveller
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          says:

          Does that make it ok, though? I’m getting tired of hearing people on the left and right say that we’re better because we don’t use violence, and our violence is justifiable. Either the country is perfect as it is, it’s worth fixing without violence, or it should be destroyed. Any other position is inconsistent (and dangerous).Report

          • InMD in reply to Pinky
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            says:

            It doesn’t. I’m perfectly willing to say what happened last week is worse than anything we saw over the summer because the president lit the match as opposed to just excusing things done by other people with whom they sympathize. But the idea that there’s some kind of principle against politically charged mob violence going on here? Ridiculous. People are excusing who they like and demanding the harshest crack down on those they don’t.

            And I’m all for prosecuting these fools just as much as I am for anyone who attacked a federal court house or looted/destroyed retail.Report

            • Pinky in reply to InMD
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              says:

              Since you and I agree, and we’re not articulating any bizarre or contradictory position, why shouldn’t we hold people to it? Intellectually it’s consistent, and practically it’s the only way we can maintain the country. Not only that, but it was mainstream a year ago and probably still is.Report

          • Philip H in reply to Pinky
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            says:

            The folks on the left – by whom I assume you mean BLM – have routinely, repeatedly and publicly denounced violence as a mechanism to achieve their end. The centrist democrat about to become president has routinely, repeatedly and publicly denounced violence as a means to an end. And more importantly there has not yet been any violence committed against the US government from the left.

            One of these things is not like the other.Report

            • Pinky in reply to Philip H
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              says:

              Roughly how many days in a row did the Portland mobs attack a federal building? For that matter, since you said “US” government rather than “federal”, how many police stations and vehicles have been set afire? Let’s say in the last year.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky
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                says:

                It was rightwing guys who burned theMinneapolis police station.

                How many times do we have to keep pointing this out?

                It was rightwing guys who murdered several cops.

                How many times do we have to keep pointing this out?Report

              • Philip H in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Well if the right win approach of “keep repeating the lie long enough and it becomes true” is any indication it will be years.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                You could start with links.Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                It was rightwing guys who burned theMinneapolis police station.

                The Guardian had reported that self-described “Boogaloo Boi” Ivan Harrison Hunter was charged with setting the fire. In fact, he was not. He was charged with firing at the building with a rifle, and witch rioting.

                Four others were charged with setting the fire. I couldn’t find any information about their political affiliations, but I’m deeply skeptical that a man named Davon De-Andre Turner is a right-winger; mug shots confirm that he is black, as is Bryce Michael Williams. The press release for the indictment also claims that there was a crowd of hundreds chanting “Burn it down! Burn it down!” Is it your contention that they were all right-wingers?

                It’s possible that Hunter was one of the “unidentified co-conspirators” although this isn’t mentioned in the press release for his indictment, but Turner was the one who actually started the fire.Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg
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                says:

                A slight correction: I actually wasn’t able to find a mug shot for Davon De-Andre Turner. I thought I had found one earlier, but I was mistaken. Still, the name makes it pretty clear.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Brandon Berg
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                says:

                The irony is that, while we’re having this conversation, some right-wing nuts are claiming that the Capitol attack was a result of Antifa.

                I’m sure there were a few L/R people onhand when the R/L people were rioting. There were probably some anarcho-somthingorothers who support anything anti-government. But the majority of the people at these events were on one general side, the target they attacked was a target of that side, and the people defending the incidents are on that side. We want so much to believe that our side is better than the other that we lie to ourselves about the worst people on our side.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Brandon Berg
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                says:

                Yes, the rightwing Boogaloo boy drove from Texas and coordinated with another Boogaloo boy to murder police officers.

                There he coordinated with three other white men to burn the police station.

                Of the people who were directly responsible for the burning, only one was black and again, THIS IS MY POINT, that the worst violence was committed by rightwing actors.

                The worst violence was and always has been, committed by rightwing actors.

                The most murders of police officers and government officials has been by rightwing actors.

                The rightwing is responsible for more murder and terror and destruction than any other political group in American history.

                There is no equivalence between BLM and the rightwing. One of these groups poses a grave threat to America, the other does not.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                Please, link? I’m not even sure what incident you’re talking about, so I can’t dig into it.Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to Chip Daniels
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                says:

                My comment’s being held in comment jail for providing too much evidence. The way the spam filter flags any comment with more than one link is harmful to the quality of discourse, IMO. I have, on numerous occasions, just not provided links due to this behavior.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg
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                says:

                It’s a false negative vs. false positive thing.

                We regret the inconvenience but, let one of us know, and we will free your comment from spam jail.Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Slade the Leveller
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          says:

          The irony of BLM and Trumpists both seeing the government as treating them as lesser citizens.

          Of course, one is actually treated as lesser citizens by LE, and the other is just whining that they aren’t special anymore…Report

      • Philip H in reply to Damon
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        says:

        A great many people went to Washington DC on 6 January. a subset of those people tried to violently overthrow the Congress. If we are to refrain from condemning the existence of the rally as the genesis of that attack, then lest drop the sanctimonious cr@p ath BLM in any way bears any responsibility for the violence committed adjacent to its marches.Report

        • Dark Matter in reply to Philip H
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          says:

          If we are to refrain from condemning the existence of the rally as the genesis of that attack, then lest drop the sanctimonious cr@p ath BLM in any way bears any responsibility for the violence committed adjacent to its marches.

          Huh? Is anyone claiming that the rally(?) (which happened because the President said the election was stolen) is unrelated to the violence? Far as I can tell we’re talking about impeachment because the violence and the President are tightly linked and both of them are also tightly linked to the entire “the election was stolen” movement.

          On the subject of BLM, my general impression is that BLM has mostly decided that violence doesn’t really serve their purposes and they’re doing better at communicating that up and down the chain.

          That doesn’t change that the next time a White Cop kills a Black man and people lose their shit, it’s not going to be the White Supremacists sneaking into Black Areas and burning stuff.Report

  2. Saul Degraw
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    says:

    The Capitol Police and other organizations have notice now so if there is more violence on the 17th and the 20th it shows an active participant, gross negligence and incompetence, or some combination of the two. Trump does not have any say or power in the transition procedure or security so that is good. Still, I can see Trump refusing to budge from the WH. Trump apparently only made his statements last week under real pressure and is fuming about being cut off from social media.

    Chip is correct though. I think a lot of people have been and still are in denial about the fact that millions of Americans are hostile to democracy from a theocratic-fasicst-white supremacist standpoint. They are in denial for a variety of reasons. Long programmed beliefs that democracy requires equally strong parties who check each other via ideological opposition, because they have friends or relatives with these views and are doing all in their power to avoid making the difficult decision to cut bait.

    “In multiple speeches, an interview and a widely shared article for Christianity Today, Mr. Hawley has explained that the blame for society’s ills traces all the way back to Pelagius — a British-born monk who lived 17 centuries ago. In a 2019 commencement address at The King’s College, a small conservative Christian college devoted to “a biblical worldview,” Mr. Hawley denounced Pelagius for teaching that human beings have the freedom to choose how they live their lives and that grace comes to those who do good things, as opposed to those who believe the right doctrines.

    The most eloquent summary of the Pelagian vision, Mr. Hawley went on to say, can be found in the Supreme Court’s 1992 opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Mr. Hawley specifically cited Justice Anthony Kennedy’s words reprovingly: “At the heart of liberty,” Kennedy wrote, “is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” The fifth century church fathers were right to condemn this terrifying variety of heresy, Mr. Hawley argued: “Replacing it and repairing the harm it has caused is one of the challenges of our day.”

    In multiple speeches, an interview and a widely shared article for Christianity Today, Mr. Hawley has explained that the blame for society’s ills traces all the way back to Pelagius — a British-born monk who lived 17 centuries ago. In a 2019 commencement address at The King’s College, a small conservative Christian college devoted to “a biblical worldview,” Mr. Hawley denounced Pelagius for teaching that human beings have the freedom to choose how they live their lives and that grace comes to those who do good things, as opposed to those who believe the right doctrines.

    The most eloquent summary of the Pelagian vision, Mr. Hawley went on to say, can be found in the Supreme Court’s 1992 opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Mr. Hawley specifically cited Justice Anthony Kennedy’s words reprovingly: “At the heart of liberty,” Kennedy wrote, “is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” The fifth century church fathers were right to condemn this terrifying variety of heresy, Mr. Hawley argued: ‘Replacing it and repairing the harm it has caused is one of the challenges of our day.'”

    i think if someone is going around blaming long dead British monks for all that is wrong in the world today, that person might just be a true believer and will not be cowed or humbled by this moment. Lauren Boebert (Q-Colorado) was tweeting Pelosi’s location during the insurrection. She was trying to get the speaker attacked.
    Boebert, Cruz, and Hawley must be expelled from Congress at a bare minimum.Report

  3. Jaybird
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    says:

    I still have to take off my shoes when I fly to Prince Edward Island. You may find yourself idly wondering “hey, when was the Richard Reid shoe thing?”

    2001

    I shudder to think what I’ll still be doing in 2041 because of this dumb-assed stunt.Report

  4. North
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    says:

    Even if DC wasn’t trying to cancel the inauguration as a mass event I’m still going to put on my Pollyanna hat and say it would be very unlikely for this particular fiasco to happen again:

    -The Capitol Hill invasion wasn’t secret- just no one took it seriously. That simply won’t happen again. Both law enforcement and left-wing demonstrators would be sure to pay close attention if an Inauguration invasion was being seriously talked about.

    -The Trumpaloos have historically been massively outnumbered by counter protestors any time they tried to muster and were taken seriously. If they talk about storming the inauguration then left-wing counter protestors will turn out en masse and the Trumpaloos will end up needing law enforcement to keep them from getting their butts handed to them. Oh and, yeah, Antifa will doubtlessly show up on the fringes smashing cars and windows in poor neighborhoods while yelling about how they’re standing up for the poor.

    -Law enforcement is on notice. If they fish this up again a lot more heads are gonna roll than just the heads of the respective agencies. On the 6th the Trumpaloos were goofy maroons that some, not small, number of LoE’s thought were harmless or even sympathetic. Now it’ll be their jobs on the line. They won’t be palling around with them this time.

    -The GOP in general, and Trump in particular, have had their hands burned but good by this fiasco. They went from heavily overperforming expectations in November to Trump and their antics losing them the Senate this month and now the Capitol Hill invasion utterly defenestrating a whole host of their preferred nostrums. Trump has gone from “Will he run again in 2024” to “Is he gonna end up in prison in the next six months”. It certainly isn’t turning out well for Cruz or Hawley. None of them aren’t going to want to pull the arm on this slot machine again.

    The Capitol invasion was a fiasco, no doubt about it, and a national embarrassment but the norms are showing powerful jaw strength right now and the GOP and Trumpism is writhing between its teeth. This is good and I see no problem with it. Complacency is ill advised for the inauguration but I don’t think that extreme alarm is merited. The greatest risk to the left, currently, is some kind of post 9/11 kind of overreach.Report

    • Phili pH in reply to North
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      says:

      1) There is now reporting that the FBI and at least one DoD office took the threat seriously and were attempting to get others to notice. Clearly our institutions are STILL not willing to confront this sort of home grown stuff.

      2) Antifa doesn’t go around committing random acts of violence. that would be anarchists and yeah they may well take advantage but they ALWAYS take advantage. Antifa will be part of the response to the right wing domestic terrorists.

      3) Given the number of cops suspended or under investigation by their own departments post-insurrection, as well as the USCP former chief telling the world he couldn’t get support out of his chain of command I hope you are right. But it says something dastardly about modern police culture that cops went and participated and were reportedly flashing their badges to USCP as they entered the building. Trying to fight defunding by participating in an insurrection is definitely dense, to say the least.

      3) Cruz and Hawley won’t be driven from the party just yet. GOP politicians STILL don’t know how to give a genuine apology and they now know based on how Lindsey Graham was treated as Reagan National Airport on Friday that if they do they are done politically. Hawley is not the only GOP politician with naked ambition.

      4) I agree we shouldn’t over reach, but I remain very worried about under reach. Because too many actors on all sides are still blindly deluding themselves that “this is not who we are.”Report

      • North in reply to Phili pH
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        says:

        !) Yup, and now there’s going to be a mad organizational scramble to close this gap. They can -try- to survive an investigation into the foofaraw on the 6th by claiming “no one expected this” but they’d never survive letting another uprising happen now. The institutions have their lives on the line now, they ain’t gonna screw things up by doing too little now.

        2) Antifa is a big label and can barely be honestly described as an organization at all. That said Antifa can be relied on to terrorize and trash stuff, especially poor people’s stuff, whenever they get the opportunity to do so. I’ve never heard of Antifa accomplished anything that couldn’t have been more effectively done by non-violent means. There’s a reason the left mutters about Antifa in conflicted unhappy tones while every right-wing outlet blasts out their every action and pronouncement amplified to an 11. Antifa serves their own egos first and the right secondly (and, I’ll grant, unintentionally).

        3) Yeah, this is a lot like #1. They already feel the sights on them. No cops are gonna buddy buddy around with these forces any more or they’ll soon be ex-cops.

        3) I feel not a jot of sympathy for Cruz (Canada’s most vile export) or Hawley but I can’t deny feeling a certain pleasure at watching they roasting. They aren’t, likely, going to lose their current jobs but their odds at future advancement have been badly mangled.

        4) Pelosi seems to be advancing with impeachment. I think that’d suffice along with investigations into the security agencies and absolutely beating the GOP over the head with it to political gain as well. Overreach, I fear, would be far far too easy.Report

    • greginak in reply to North
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      says:

      I tend to think you are right. But there are also protests set in all the state capitols where not every PD may be as on the ball or as well equipped at the Cap Cops. It’s likely enough of the knuckleheads will see how poorly 1/6 went and just stick with the cosplay idiocy but a few lone wolfs bombers wouldn’t surprise me.Report

      • North in reply to greginak
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        says:

        Yeah I am speaking only of mass activities. Lone wolf shooters or bombers are a real worry. That’d be just the thing that could devastatingly inflame the problem and goad us into overreach.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to North
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      says:

      https://twitter.com/LiteraryMouse/status/1347873482550468609

      It’s a long analysis of the play-by-play, all the points the cops _should_ have done something but didn’t bother. Very small amounts of people milling around where they shouldn’t be, and the police just allowing it instead of making them move. And the crowds just got larger.

      Plus people throwing bottles of water at the police, and the police just allowing it. (Remember when that was the worse possible crime that allowed teargassing entire crowds if people were lucky, and random rubber bullets fired into crowds if they weren’t lucky?)

      In addition to actions that seem fairly clearly to be inside jobs.

      She also points out things the coup plotters _planned_ to do, but failed due to complete incompetence and wishful thinking.

      Which she knows, because they also laid out this entire plan in public.

      Her conclusion is vitally important to understand:

      As far as I can tell, the coup plotters only had two advantages:

      1) White privilege
      2) Inside help

      And that was enough to almost take down our whole government.

      Report

  5. Kolohe
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    says:

    Great piece here.

    Re: the inauguration. I think the DC government and the incoming admin were planning to make the inaugural as low key as possible anyway due to Covid. And there’s been at least one inauguration, maybe two in my lifetime where all outdoor stuff was cancelled due to bad weather. (Reagan’s 1985 swearing in was inside the Capitol because outside temps were near zero Fahrenheit)Report

  6. Michael Siegel
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    says:

    Great piece. The one thing I would add was that this wasn’t just about what happened on January 6. It’s the year of conspiracy mongering before that. It’s the months where he was begged the denounced Q-Anon and refused. It’s the weeks he spent spining fantasies about how the election was stolen. It’s the days he spent pushing the Pence Card nonsense. It’s the hours when they had no security presence at the rally and a minimal one on Capital Hill.

    Trump spent four years whipping his most devoted supporters into a frenzy and then lit a match. Whether he tossed it into the gasoline or not is kind of irrelevant.Report

    • Kazzy in reply to Michael Siegel
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      says:

      It reminds me of how I feel when it is 5 minute before bed time and my children are insisting I denied them the play time which they duly deserve.

      “Well, did you clean your room when you were supposed to?”
      “No.”
      “And did you get in the shower when you were supposed to?”
      “No.”
      “And did you shower quickly or goof around in there for a while?”
      “I mean, I didn’t goof around THAT long.”
      “And did you brush your teeth?”
      “Be right back… Ok, yes!”
      “And did you… hey! Where are you going?! Come back here! Did you choose a bedtime story?”
      “Yep! I chose 23.”
      “Welp, we have time for half a story and no playing because you spent all the time you would have had doing other things and not cooperating.”
      “BUT THAT’S NOT FAIR!!!!!”

      It’s like, do you really not get how all the dots connect here? And they don’t. Because they’re 5. And “thinking ahead” means maybe knowing what the end of their sentence will be when they start it. But Trump is a grown-up. He should know better. He doesn’t. Or doesn’t care. Because throughout his life, no matter what actions he took, he always got his play time at the end of the day.Report

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