It failed, of course, mostly. But that’s what it was, a lynching: in the long tradition of mobs acting out their fears that somebody has violated their understanding of “one nation under God.”
It was a lynching, led by mobsters carrying flags, banners, and crosses but also nooses, weapons, and zip ties. It was serious business they were about, and much of what they planned they actually accomplished.
What they intended was rebellion against the federal establishment (and the so-called “deep state”) whom they accuse of standing in the way of Making America Great Again.
People like Nancy Pelosi.
She is eighty years old and has been in elected office since 1978. She is now the most powerful woman in Washington DC, perhaps in the whole United States.
Nancy Pelosi embodies and represents all that the mobsters resent: professional politician, liberal Democrat, coastal elite, articulate advocate, even Roman Catholic (although few of the mobsters would actually admit that they think of Catholics as quasi-Christian at best and thus as powerful roadblocks to their version of Christian nationalism).
Did I list powerful woman? Many of these marchers come from religious networks high on authoritative males and low on empowered females.
The mobsters came to Washington to disrupt Nancy’s work and destroy her business—the people’s business. They found her office, stole her mail, desecrated her desk … and took pictures of themselves doing it.
They almost got her; and in their gutless glee they did manage to bring death and destruction to the place where she wields so much power. Five people have died, others are wounded, some caught the COVID, and the aftermath: hundreds of their own marchers are cowering at home waiting for the knock on the door from an incensed federal officer holding in her hand a warrant for an arrest.
Federal officers appointed to protect Nancy Pelosi and thousands of other people working on the country’s business underestimated the ferocity of the mobs. Much like their ancestors misjudged the rebels who approached the capital in July of 1861, and for much the same reason.
That earlier attack on the federal government resulted in the first battle of Bull Run Creek. It shocked the capital establishment and foreshadowed a long and costly struggle to rescue government of the people, by the people, and for the people from the wickedness of those who wished to blow it up.
Then and now, people (including me) have called for calm, for dialogue, for peace. But then and now, we were not and are not listening.
For almost 70 years, the rabble rousers have been spewing rhetoric of revolution, denouncing the establishment as corrupt, wicked, and a threat to their way of life, their “Christian” way of life. The culprit shifted from blacks to communists to liberals to elites to secularists to socialists; or to “radical socialists” in the disgusting campaign ads of Kelly Loeffler to retain her Senate seat in Georgia.
But then and now, race is at the bottom of things. Race is not the only thing at the bottom, but it is one big thing. Time and time again, these mobsters and their recent ancestors have organized their hatred of the other, the stranger, the intruder, the immigrant, the one who is different. Especially a different color. Four years ago, you remember, their anger was directed toward the immigrant and the refugee.
Did you note the color of the marchers on last Wednesday?
Mostly white, mostly white men. Mostly white men from the South. Which explains why six of the eight U S Senators who voted against confirming the election of Joseph Biden are from the South. And why all eight of them are connected to the Evangelical wing of the Christian community in America.
I think not. The Christian community in the South continues to be, largely, fermenters of racism, cultural resistance, and national rebellion. Again.
Trump did not create this mob. They created him. Yes, he was already a vile figure and totally unfit for service to the nation. But there is a reason they selected Donald J. Trump instead of Jeb Bush in 2016. Trump was saying in public and on the political trail what the people had been hearing for years in church, at the club, and on the radio.
Trump seized the opportunity to give voice to the distorted fears of these mobsters. Along the way he boasted “I could shoot somebody in the street in New York and not lose any support,” Wednesday proved him right.
And proved most of us wrong. The riot was not an aberration of the rightwing movement; the riot was a revelation to us of what they have been for years, for decades, for centuries. Once upon a time these emotions mobilized the mob to seize some poor black man, drag him from the county jail, and hang him from a tree.
Now, their lynching desires are turned against the perceived public enemies of Christian America. People like Nancy Pelosi.