Today (as I write this) marks the second anniversary of the January 6th insurrection. Justice has not been idle in that time. Fully 900 individuals have been prosecuted for their violent and unlawful role in that most shameful of days in American history. Thus far all the people who have been charged and sent to prison are low level, ordinary foot soldiers. This is the year to prosecute the ringleaders. A mighty case is being formulated against them at the DOJ.
Meanwhile Republicans continue to gaslight us with the same tired narrative that we are the radicals and not they. But those of us who were around when the Democratic Party actually had a radical faction know the difference. We are not fooled.
Back in the day when Democrats were radicals it meant they threw bombs and attacked police officers and staged violent protests and called for bloody revolution. Wanting to help the average American with their medical bills and find them jobs, save the planet from global warming and carve out a world where everyone is equal doesn’t make us radicals. It makes us human beings.
No, the radicals are the ones who promote hatred and violence, who smash windows and attack police officers, who obstruct the lawful flow of responsible government, who exist to pit Americans against each other. Republicans need to be more faithful to the meaning of words.
I know this is the era when a good cup of coffee is “epic” and the barista who brought it to you is “legend,” but if words are going to mean anything at all they need to retain their original power. In my day the word radical meant extremist, insurrectionist, people of violence. It was exemplified by fringe groups like the Weather Underground and the Symbionese Liberation Army. We are not the radicals. Republicans are.
Meanwhile, and without a shred of deliberate irony, Fox News host Brian Kilmeade called the Freedom Caucus members voting against Kevin McCarthy for Speaker of the House “insurrectionists.” While I dislike the clown show Republicans are making of the United States Congress these days, I acknowledge they are not being insurrectionists. They are engaged in the lawful and Constitutional process of voting for the Speaker. What they did two years ago was insurrectionist.
Two years ago Fox News covered up for the radical Republicans by trying to convince the American people that what the insurrectionists did at the Capitol was “legitimate political discourse.” That Fox was engaged in political hackery by making such an idiotic claim is obvious. They give the game completely away today when they refer to the so-called “Freedom Caucus” as “insurrectionists” for voting against the spineless political hack Kevin McCarthy.
So we can and should savour the irony. Two years ago there was trouble at the Capitol. It was caused by a violent mob illegally trespassing, destroying property and threatening to murder members of the House and the Vice President. Today the trouble comes from within the House and, while absurd, it is perfectly legal.
In any case, in both instances then and now the trouble has been caused by Republicans. Republicans are America’s biggest problem today. They are not protectors of democracy, they are destroyers of it. The Republican Party must go. More tomorrow about how to lawfully get rid of them. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.