Mark Figley: Making sense out of mob surge

The surreal assault upon the U.S. Capitol on January 6 was an event of great historical context. And although it cannot be excused, it is understandable that some used a time of heightened emotions surrounding a questionable presidential election to resort to violence. Such moments are frequently hijacked by those with ulterior motives to sow larger discredit.

This attack has been referred to by some as a “bloody coup attempt,” and many from both sides of the political aisle have used the occasion to lump all Trump supporters in with a relative minority who committed violence. Meanwhile, those who originally called for the imposition of law and order during the violent protests which rocked America’s cities in 2020 have rightly called for the same treatment of those who committed criminal acts on Capitol Hill. Yet the mainstream media and others on the left support a different standard.

During the social justice protests which occurred during the height of the pandemic, protestors who destroyed vehicles, numerous retail establishments, police precincts (even setting ablaze historic St. John’s Episcopal Church next to the White House), and injured untold numbers of police and civilians, were glowingly and repeatedly portrayed as “largely peaceful.” These demonstrations continued on for weeks and months while excuses were amply provided to let such behavior continue in the name of free speech.

As horrific as were the actions that unfolded at the Capitol, the damage and destruction which resulted was minor. And tragic as the shooting death of a female protestor, that of a policeman and three others as the result of medical emergencies are, large-scale violence was limited to a brief period of hours by a minority dedicated to chaos and mayhem. The clear majority of protest attendees were not “terrorists,” but patriots with a deep respect for the Constitution and the rule of law who eventually dispersed peacefully.

Meanwhile, those who have actively and consistently supported the defunding of police are now openly criticizing law enforcement for failing to prevent the breach of the capitol by angry Trump protestors. How could they have allowed such an incursion to succeed? After all, It’s one thing for average Americans to be put at risk by angry mobs in the street; entirely another for privileged politicians to face a similar risk.

Further, both Republicans and Democrats who comprise the swamp, are also joining together in a contrived attempt to blame this attack on Donald Trump. As many former Trump loyalists castigate him and administration officials spinelessly resign their positions to preserve future government prospects, a growing number of politicians now propose that the president again be impeached or that the 25th amendment be invoked to remove him from office as unfit.

Much is to be learned from the jarring events in Washington, but just as telling is the reaction of those across the political spectrum who are all too ready to return to political life as it was before Donald Trump.

In this illustrious age, no event is ever too big to be used as a teachable moment. Washington D.C. knows this all too well, yet instead of concluding that problems are afoot with its citizenry, it prefers to double-down in punishing Donald Trump and getting rid of him once and for all. No one can ever be permitted to shake up the established power structure again, but Trump did if for just a moment. And whether he goes away or not, unfortunately, political alienation will remain as far as the eye can see.

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By Mark Figley

Guest Columnist

Mark Figley is a political activist and guest columnist from Elida. His column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Lima News editorial board or AIM Media, owner of The Lima News. Reach him a [email protected]