By the time you read this, I expect we will know that the Capitol invasion was worse than what most of us have seen thus far, the parade of Confederate flags, the pro Holocaust T-shirts (6MNE, 6 million is not enough, Camp Auschwitz), the ransacking of desks, the theft of the speaker’s podium, the hangman’s scaffold ready for a lynching, the police taking selfies with the criminals, the human feces deposited on the floor and in the halls and the blood splashed on the bust of Zachary Taylor.
We will learn that things were worse than what we saw, much worse. There was quite likely a plan to capture “traitors” who refused to overturn Joe Biden’s victory. Evidence is emerging of a plan to take hostage congresspersons and/or execute them, a plan to use pipe bombs prepared well in advance, a bagful of Molotov cocktails, commandos with zip-tie handcuffs.
This was not a “spontaneous” response to a fiery speech, it was a premeditated invasion, circulated on the web. There is a sequel in the works. The crowd chanting, “Hang Mike Pence, Hang Mike Pence” was not a bunch of football fans at a tailgate party. The intent was there, they had a rope, a scaffold, the means and the method.
This is not the first right wing-planned attack on elected officials, some of them a response to COVID-19 measures, all of them sponsored by right-wing groups. Many of my readers are aware that self-styled militia men not only took weapons into the Michigan Capitol but also had an elaborate plan to kidnap the state’s governor, put her on trial before a “people’s court” and execute her for daring to impose restrictions on “Freedumb” during the pandemic. Those plans were practiced, her house was scouted, the weapons were ready in the weeks before their attempt failed.
What you may not know is that this was not the only militia-style takeover of government property in 2020. In August, according to the Jan. 6, 2021 Idaho Statesman, Ammon Bundy and his band of armed thugs forced their way into the state capital in Boise, shoving police aside, breaking glass and tearing up signs that were meant to create social distance in the chamber’s gallery.
The name Bundy should be familiar: he and his fellow miscreants occupied a wildlife refuge in Oregon in 2016. He’s the guy Lee Mulcahy referenced numerous times in 2018, implying his long-lost cause could be rescued by a “Second Amendment” solution, according to a Feb. 7, 2018 article in the Aspen Daily News.
Most of the Capitol’s insurrectionists walked out without arrest on Wednesday just as the thugs walked out of Boise without immediate consequences. A dozen were arrested at the Capitol on Wednesday, far fewer than 289 taken down in D.C. at that BLM march on June 1.
Idaho and Michigan were preseason exhibition games, wherein the vandals learned that the government has no defensive coordinator studying the game plan of extremists and white supremacists though it has more than enough armed and bullet-proofed troopers ready to arrest and restrain BLM marchers.
The time has come to confront the essential racial character of our divisions and explore whether the propagators of hoaxification are standing by their preelection world view here in Aspen. Unfortunately, neither of our newspapers had the gumption to ask local Republican leaders or Trump cheerleaders whether they bear any responsibility for backing a president willing to overturn an election.
One paper didn’t even try to put the invasion and occupation of the Capitol into local perspective. The paper ran some AP copy as a story secondary to a “scoop” about COVID-19 loans to businesses, and let it go at that as if, ho hum, another Capitol takeover with no local meaning or lasting significance. Stuff happens every 200 years or so.
The other paper interviewed some local elected leaders without any reference to the idea that maybe, just maybe, Aspen and its citizens have a stake in the invasion of the Capitol.
An interview with the Republican Party chair included a brief, anodyne renunciation of violence and omitted any examination of responsibility for the enfranchisement of myth as reality. I can’t imagine a real journalist talking to the local Republican Party chair, Tom Baker, without asking whether Trump’s call for action to overturn the election had given Mr. Baker any cause to reconsider his heretofore fervent support for Donald Trump.
Nor were any of the big donors to the campaign confronted with the consequences of their loyalty. Do you or do you not, one might ask, still support a leader who whips up his followers and sends them to the Capitol to undo the election result?
Mayoral candidate Lee Mulcahy was allowed to get by with a quasi-endorsement of the invasion, stating that, “Our political elites have divided us long enough and almost got what they deserved ...”
The statement begs the follow-up to our would-be mayor: Who deserves this insurrection? What did they deserve to get? Hanging? Kidnapping? Wasn’t having your office ransacked and hiding under the desk enough wrong?
This candidate has made a point of inviting the aforementioned Ammon Bundy to come here and intervene in his lost cause. Is he OK with mobs ransacking the Capitol or Aspen City Hall?
We are on the verge of something more significant than the loss of a ski season or the closure of restaurants. The constant hoaxification of reality, climate change, COVID-19 and election results fueled an attack on reality and democracy that will be felt even here.
Mick Ireland feels we all need to speak out on behalf of the truth. Mick@sopris.net