Than January 6th Riot And How We Got There


Photo Credit: Time Magazine

Ok, let's start by getting some of the obligatory stuff out of the way. When I talk about the January 6th riot, here are a few things that you should keep in mind about my point of view:


1) We are a nation of laws. What was done violated those laws. The people who broke those laws should face the consequences for the laws that were broken.


2) It is wrong to add "aggravating" factors to the charges, or create entirely new charges based upon perceptions and FEELINGS about what happened. Charges should be in line with what was on the books when it happened.


3) While those who engaged in this behavior were clearly Conservative, they do not represent the majority of Conservatives. This is similar to how even though the rioters who burned cities were Liberal, they do not represent the majority of Liberals. Sympathies towards an incident's roots is not support for, and especially not engagement in, said incident.

 
 

4) Two wrongs do not make a right. The looting and burning of cities does not make what happened on January 6th right, and what happened on January 6th does not make the looting and burning of cities right.


Ok, now that you have some background on where my opinions are coming from, you are able to take them with a grain of salt. Remember, these opinions and about $2.50 will get you a cup of coffee (though it might be $5 after Joe Biden's inflation...)


The biggest question we SHOULD be asking about the January 6th riot is, "how did we get to a place where so many people have so little faith in our electoral system?"


Yet that is not the question being asked, because people assume the answer. They assume that it was Donald Trump's rhetoric. You can, however, take it from someone who has known multiple people in some of these groups including the III%, and various other groups, that this goes back long before Trump, and honestly, goes back even before Q-Anon (another favorite target *eye roll*).


There were already problems with our election integrity BEFORE COVID made it almost irreparably ridiculous. Election issues in California have never really gone away since I started voting in the late 90s (and they were there before that), there are always issues in Illinois, mostly with voter intimidation, and Florida was so bad at one point that their election results ended up in the Supreme Court and they had to literally rebuild their ENTIRE voting process.


In fact, the mail in voting that we participated in during the last election is banned in almost every Western Democracy, and we are one of less than a handful of countries that lifted those restrictions due to the pandemic.


Yes, election integrity, or at least the appearance thereof, is THAT critical.


That is what many people do not seem to understand about the January 6th incident. They feel that because THEY are happy with the outcome, and THEY feel that it was legitimate, that is obviously was. Except that a lot of people do not see it that way, and some of them so much so that this was the result.


Make no mistake, history has repeatedly taught us that when citizens of a Republic, or even a Democracy for that matter which we are not, feel like their votes do not count, then they revert back to the very same behavior that these democratic processes are supposed to circumvent, namely, the violent transition of power.


That does not make what happened on January 6th ok, nor legal, but it should help you to understand the why behind it.


When people feel like their media lies to them (they all do, even the Conservative ones), like their politicians gerrymander their districts to stay in office (which they all do), and then see such staggering voting irregularities and numerical impossibilities...


...well, it becomes easy to at least understand their reasons, even if you disagree with their methods.


But, more than that, I need to communicate that this is truly is a problem of our own making. We are the ones who have so poorly protected our elections that charges such as "Russian Hacking" and "Chinese Social Media Manipulation" are not just ridiculous and laughable fantasies.


Make no mistake, they should be, and the fact that they are not is a direct indictment of us as a nation.


So you ask me, how did we get to January 6th, 2021? Well, the answer simple, even if the fixing of it is not. We got there because there is a significant segment of our population who feels that our voting system is broken and insecure.


Oh, and lest you think it is just a problem on the right, go back and familiarize yourself with the media and conspiracy theories about why Hillary Clinton lost the election to Donald Trump. Both sides realize it is broken, but they only want to fix it when it does not benefit them.


So Speaker Pelosi, while you are running your farcical "inquiry" into the Capital Riot, you might want to be careful because any honest assessment is going to include the fact that the Washington politicians created this powder keg by not securing the system when they were the ones in power and could do so.


It seems like such a no brainer compromise issue, but no one wants to bite the hand that just fed them in the last election. So we the people suffer.


As I have said before, unless we create the singularly most secure voting system on planet Earth, things like this will continue to escalate and get worse. It will just swing back and forth and the pendulum has reached a critical apex in its width.


The only thing that can defuse it? Feeling like we can honestly believe in our electoral process.


That will take a lot, but it will absolutely be worth it.

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