But What About Kenosha? Aren’t Democrats Also to Blame?
If the raid on the capitol building were simply about “violence,” perhaps we could compare it to the events of Jan. 6.
On January 6, a group of angry Donald Trump supporters who had rallied in Washington, D.C. stormed the United States Capitol to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden as President of the United States. This happened against a complex backdrop.
First, President Trump, who lost a free and fair election and could not provide any evidence of substantial voting irregularities, for weeks insisted the 2020 election was fraudulent and rigged. At rallies and on Twitter, he maintained he was the rightful victor while judges he appointed sided against him and threw out virtually every case he brought forth.
Trump’s followers had a choice: they could acknowledge voters defeated the bellicose president who shared their nationalistic worldview after a single term. Or, they could postpone their grief by living in denial, believe Democrats cheated, and insist that the real America actually believed as they did, election be damned. They chose the latter.
Members of the President’s party — senators, representatives, and certain members of the media — acknowledged Joe Biden’s win in private, but saw a political opening in pretending the election was irregular. This fueled the misinformed grievances of disheartened Republicans and gave them false hope.
The dam broke on January 6. In the state of Georgia — an alleged site of irregularities and fraud now under the microscope — two Democrats won senate seats. Not only did it flip the senate majority, but made cries of fraud appear less likely under the dictum of “ya can’t fool-me-twice.”
Meanwhile, in Washington DC, representatives were about to certify Joe Biden’s victory amid theatrical protest designed to score political points with Trump’s supporters. Trump’s supporters, however, were at a “Save America” rally where Donald Trump whipped them into a fury and encouraged them to storm the capitol. They seemed to have no plan once inside, but five people died, including a police officer.
Later that evening, most of the senators who were feigning concern about fraud stopped with their theatrics and confirmed Biden the victor as they should have from the start.
Meanwhile, angry conservatives asked, “why wasn’t the violence in Kenosha last summer put down like the capitol raid?” It didn’t take long to make memes about it.
You can’t compare Kenosha and January 6 without being facile.
I have a few problems comparing the Jan 6 capitol raid with the summer violence in Kenosha.
The people I see comparing the two are reducing both instances to a simple narrative of people getting upset and their dismay leading to violence.
When you reduce the events that way, you stop asking important questions like what precipitated the upset, what triggered the violence, and whether we need to take those causes and frustrations seriously as a nation.
It’s helpful to adhere to the simple narrative of “violence” if we don’t want to compare, say, the frustration caused by 200 years of racism with accusations of a stolen election unbacked by a scintilla of evidence.
I don’t condone the violence in Kenosha, but I understand the anger.
D.C. Rally-goers, however, based their anger on lies, false hope of a great election overturn, and grief over an ideology that crumbled after 3 years and 10 months and led to the loss of the Presidency, the House and the Senate.
I’m sure many Trump voters don’t condone the violence in Washington, but understand the anger felt by those who stormed the capitol. They are likely far more empathetic with storming the capitol than they ever will be with the Black Lives Matter movement, violence or not.
The aggrieved worldview expressed by Trump supporters has always been under scrutiny, and the people expressing it know this in their ongoing quest for legitimacy. When it caves in, it’s embarrassing and leads to profound excuse-making. It’s why there was a stupefied pause for a day after Charlottesville, followed by fantastic tales of Antifa being the genuine cause of the violence.
Trump supporters don’t want their worldview scrutinized after members of their club raided the capitol — a deeply shameful act much different from burning down a Mattress Firm. So, they both pulled a play from the Charlottesville book and denied doing it (“it was Antifa!”) and made comparisons to the behavior of the “other side.”
The only way they can equate the two is by negating all the facts leading to violence and pretending both cases are simply a matter of people getting upset over something and throwing a violent tantrum.
It’s simply not the same.