I left the house at 5:00 a.m. on Jan. 6 along with my daughter and two of her teenage children. We hit the road for D.C., joining up with a few other families on our way.
When we arrived near the rally point, the vast lawn below the Washington Monument was already filling with participants. Unbeknownst to me, one of the moms I was traveling with had acquired VIP tickets for the rally. After a 45-minute hike, we finally found the entrance gate. Following a security check that required us to get rid of large tote bags, we seated ourselves about 30 yards from the speakers’ platform.
Soon loud music began playing, and then a number of speakers addressed the crowd, including Eric and Donald Trump, Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, and Rudy Giuliani.
The thousands of people surrounding me were in a festive mood, which, given the reason they were there, may seem strange. Some were dancing, others were singing along to music played from loudspeakers, and nearly everyone was smiling or laughing. To the amusement of the rest of us, one middle-aged guy with yellow hair, silver earrings, and golden sandals kept dancing up and down the aisle. People held the doors to the port-a-lets open for the next customer, said “Excuse me” as they pushed through the crowd, and waved American flags and Trump posters.
I met people from Tennessee, Hawaii, and Georgia. A group of Dominican nuns had traveled from Hartland, Minnesota, and spoke with several Catholics in our group. Here, too, were men in Amish dress, an ICU nurse from Wisconsin, and some Chinese-Americans calling for the end of the Chinese Communist Party.
An onlooker unaware of the purpose of this rally would have guessed everyone present was celebrating rather than protesting an election.
On this gray, cold day, President Donald Trump spoke from a few minutes past noon until about 1:05 p.m., delivering a long speech, filled with highly specific allegations of election fraud. I wondered aloud why the president indulged in so lengthy a list of specifics, and one of the moms in our party pointed out that the media would cover Trump’s address, making this his last opportunity to publicly state his case.
When the rally ended after Trump’s speech, our party decided to head home rather than march down Constitution Avenue to the Capitol. We were cold, the kids looked worn through, and we were going to meet our ride home at the Lincoln Memorial.
It was on our way to the Memorial that one of the moms reported the breach of the Capitol building. This news came about 35 minutes after the president had finished speaking. That building is approximately 1.9 miles from the speaker’s platform at the rally. Some of the tens of thousands of participants would have been closer to the Capitol than we were.
Given the contrast between those I saw around me, whom we might once have called “normal Americans,” and those who stormed the Capitol, it’s clear to me that someone planned this attack before the rally ever took place.
Were those planners Trump supporters? Or were some of them members of Antifa intent on sabotaging the MAGA movement and the president?
Many people who believe this election was stolen, whose businesses were closed by the government during COVID-19, or whose stores were burned and looted by rioters while the government stood idly by, are frustrated. As such, I do not dismiss the possibility that the infiltration of the Capitol was indeed undertaken by Trump supporters.
However, anyone can buy a MAGA hat, and the videos I’ve watched and the news I’ve read identify most of the thugs breaking into the Capitol as young men. An example: Sprinkled among the rally-goers I saw were two stone-faced men, one white, one black, in their mid to late twenties, who clearly had no interest in the rally or what the speakers were saying.
On the morning after this battle in the Capitol, the New York Post reported that at least two of those who led this charge were Antifa members. In another account from the American Thinkerwe learn that some Trump supporters recognized Antifa radicals trying to break into the Capitol and tried to pull them away.
Many questions besides who led the charge on the Capitol also remain. Why did the police allow rioters go gain admission to the Capitol grounds? Why, as columnist Thomas Lifson asks, did they fail to protect the Capitol? Was it negligence? Were they under orders to stand down?
In 1933, four weeks after Adolf Hitler became chancellor, someone set fire to the Reichstag, the German Parliament house. The Nazi regime accused a communist of setting the fire and executed him, and then used this incident to crack down and ban certain newspapers, restrict free speech, and limit other human rights.
Will we see the same process here? And if so, who will be at fault?
Ours is the age of deception, and when we rush to judgment we participate in that deception. In the coming weeks and months, we can expect to see our media not only continue to support the radical agenda of the left, but also joining the left and Big Tech in suppressing outsider voices, including those at Intellectual Takeout.
The greatest blame for all this mess goes to our mainstream media. Their ongoing animus toward the president and his supporters, their refusal to cover stories like Hunter Biden’s computer or a rigged election, their labeling the riots of last summer as “peaceful protests,” their positive coverage of cancel culture, all have contributed to the country’s current state of division and unrest. The great majority of our news outlets don’t need an edict from the government to muzzle their coverage. They are ideologically disposed to do a fine job of that all by themselves.
After the melee in the Capitol, one of my relatives who takes his news from television texted a group of us, asserting that Trump supporters were “dogs and Fascist thugs.”
We can expect a blizzard of such smears in the future.
Image from: Flickr-Ted Eytan, CC BY-SA 4.0