Sunday, February 13, 2022

Reflections on January 6, 2021

When Donald Trump ascended to the Presidency, I argued that the greatest danger he posed was not in the policy positions he took, but in his propensity to incite his followers to attack neighbors, co workers, and people in government they viewed as enemies, whether because of their racial/ethnic/gender identities, or their political views Nothing I saw during the four years of his Presidency suggested I was wrong. During his first two years in office, we saw a huge uptick in hate crimes against Latinos, Asian Americans, Blacks, Jews and Muslims, in every part of the country, symbolized by the violent "Unite the Right" gathering in Charlottesville Virginia. However, after Democrats took back the House and the Senate in the 2018 elections, the focus of this communal violence began to shift to elected officials. Violent attacks on state legislatures, such as the one that took place in Michigan in April 2020, began to create a toxic atmosphere surrounding state and local governments, with death threats over policy disagreements becoming the norm in all too many communities Then after Trump lost the Presidential election, threats of violence shifted to the national stage, as Trump sought to use every means at his disposal, from invalidation of election results by his own Justice Department, to armed insurrection within law enforcement and the military, to keep him in power. When those measures failed, Trump organized a mass protest, which turned into a violent occupation of the US Capital, to try to force the Vice President to refuse to certify the Biden Victory. Given how Trump's most extreme followers conducted themselves during the four years of his Presidency, no one should have been surprised that the January 6 event turned ugly and violent, with scores of police officers injured, some killed, and members of Congress having to flee or hide for their safety Donald Trump's demagoguery and incitement of violence were visible during his Presidential campaign, and during the entire four years of his Presidency That Presidency ended with one of the ugliest and most frightening events in the entire history of the United States. January 6 showed us who Donald Trump really is. Let us hope it doesn't show where we as a nation are heading.

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