bookmark_borderMy message to those who are “traumatized” by January 6

Over the past year, numerous people have stated that they are “traumatized” by the protest that took place in Washington, D.C. on January 6, 2021. Social media posts like the below (via @BeingLibertarian) abound. I find it to be incomprehensible, unreasonable, and unjustifiable for anyone to react this way to a futile protest against the installation of an authoritarian government. 

In reality, the installation of Biden’s authoritarian government, not the protest against it, is a true reason to be in shock, crying, throwing up, and traumatized.

The people who claim to be “traumatized” by the January 6 protest are people who have gotten their way on essentially everything over the past two years. They have nothing to be traumatized about, nothing to be shocked about, nothing to be in tears about, nothing to throw up about, and nothing to be upset about.

Here is my message to anyone who is upset about the January 6 protest:

Every name, every flag, and every holiday that you dislike has been removed, and every statue that you dislike has been destroyed. The Constitution has been shredded and fundamental rights trampled in order to fulfill your demand for complete safety from a virus. Also due to your demands for safety, the electoral system was changed in a way that favored your preferred candidate. Because of those changes, the totalitarian dictator that you support became the winner of the presidential election.

After all this, you are in shock, crying, and throwing up because some protesters entered the Capitol building? You are traumatized and to this day haven’t recovered? Really?

To those traumatized by the events of January 6, I ask you to attempt an exercise in perspective-taking. I ask you, how the heck do you think people on the other side of the political spectrum feel? How do you think we have felt over the past two years, as your side has gotten its way on essentially every policy issue and we have gotten our way on nothing? How do you think we felt learning that Biden was declared the winner of the election, and seeing an endless stream of your nauseating posts taunting and insulting us and crowing with vicious joy about the narrow victory? How do you think we feel about the all-out war that the Biden administration has relentlessly waged against our fundamental rights? 

Turning to an issue that is very personal to me… how do you think I feel about the fact that every statue, place name, flag, and holiday that represents my identity and my values has been obliterated? How do you think I feel given that my interest in history is the most important thing in my life? How do you think I feel knowing that I now have no choice but to live the rest of my days in a society in which everything I love has been erased? How do you think I have felt over the past two years as I have watched everything that makes my life worth living be destroyed?

I was shocked and traumatized when I found out that the Christopher Columbus statue that I used to walk past every day had been brutally beheaded. I have cried and felt sick to my stomach more times than I can count seeing image after image of statues representing my values and my identity being smashed to pieces, set on fire, cruelly hacked with sledgehammers, and lynched from streetlights.

These are the things that are truly traumatic. Along with those who share my views, I am a person who can truly say, after nearly two years of being ridiculed and insulted, having my rights violated, and watching the people I love and admire being smashed to pieces in statue form, that I have not recovered.

You have gotten your way on essentially 100% of policy issues, violating people’s rights and destroying what makes their lives worth living in the process. The few people who had the audacity to protest against all this were immediately and ceaselessly condemned, attacked, and arrested by the hundreds for the crime of expressing political dissent. But apparently that still isn’t enough for you. You seem to believe that you have the right to a world in which every single person shares your viewpoint, a world in which everyone willingly sacrifices their rights and freedoms for safety, a world in which everyone is content to see irreplaceable works of art viciously destroyed. The mere existence of people with dissenting views causes you to be in shock, crying, and throwing up. The fact that people actually had the guts to stand up to you for once is enough to make you feel traumatized and like you will never recover.

To say that this is a ridiculous reaction is an understatement. Anyone who claims to be traumatized by the January 6 protest is an intolerant bully with no sense of fairness, logic, or justice and no regard for the rights or perspectives of other people.

bookmark_borderJanuary 6, 2021

One year ago, Ashli Babbitt was killed by a police officer while protesting against the installation of a totalitarian government.

Starting immediately, and continuing without pause up till the present moment, Babbitt and her fellow protesters were attacked and personally insulted – with a brutality, viciousness, and utter unprofessionalism that was nothing short of breathtaking and sickening – by those whose job is to be neutral.

Worse, hundreds of Babbitt’s fellow protesters were arrested and jailed for the crime of engaging in political dissent.

The way that the January 6th protest was handled and reacted to by the media establishment and the political establishment represented an all-time low for both establishments.

I use the term “January 6th protest” deliberately.

The events of January 6, 2021 were not a riot. They were not an insurrection. They were not an attack. They were not a coup attempt. They were not an act of domestic terrorism. They were a protest.

Even if the events of January 6 were an insurrection, the fact that someone would use this as an insult is proof of that person’s authoritarianism, moral bankruptcy, and cowardice. The United States is a nation founded upon the idea of rebelling against authority. Whatever word you use – whether it be rebellion, revolution, uprising, treason, sedition, or insurrection – fighting back against authority is something that Americans should value and celebrate, not use as an insult. Anyone who contemptuously pontificates about the “assault on our democracy” by “traitors” or “insurrectionists” is a mindless, morally bankrupt coward who values compliance with authority more than liberty, individual rights, human decency, or justice.

The actions of the Biden administration over the past year have proven that Babbitt and her fellow protesters were 100% correct and 100% justified.

From today onwards, I will think of January 6th as the day that Ashli Babbitt was unjustly killed. I will remember Ashli as a veteran, a patriot, and a brave person who put herself in harm’s way to stand up for what she believed in.

January 6th is Ashli Babbitt Day.

bookmark_borderOcasio-Cortez has it backwards: government is the real abuser

“The reason I’m getting emotional in this moment is because these folks who tell us to move on, that it’s not a big deal, that we should forget what’s happened, or even telling us to apologize, these are the same tactics of abusers… These are the tactics of abusers, this is not about a difference of political opinion, this is about basic humanity.”

These are the words of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about the protest that took place at the Capitol building on January 6. AOC is comparing the group of pro-Trump protesters who entered the Capitol building, and politicians who either minimize or defend the actions of the protesters, to abusers. Nothing could be further from the truth. 

The government, of which AOC is a part, is trampling on the rights of the people. This has been the case for decades and has gotten worse and worse. When a government tramples on people’s rights, the people have a right to overthrow it. That is exactly what the protesters on January 6 were doing. And they were completely justified in doing so. 

As Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence (emphasis mine): 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

After a completely justified, yet futile, attempt to overthrow a tyrannical, authoritarian, and oppressive government, a member of that oppressive government had the indecency to compare the rebels to “abusers.” In reality, Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues are the abusers. The American people are the victims, and the protesters at the Capitol were those victims who, after decades of being abused, had the courage to finally fight back. AOC is in the wrong, she is the one lacking basic humanity, and she is the one who needs to apologize. 

bookmark_borderThe real double standard between Capitol and BLM protests

One of the most disturbing and infuriating things I’ve ever witnessed is the media’s and society’s promulgation of the myth that the pro-Trump protesters at the U.S. Capitol were somehow treated more leniently than Black Lives Matter protesters have been. This is one of the most blatantly false ideas I have ever heard, and it has been expressed over and over again, ad nauseam, by people across all forms of media and social media.

Coverage of the recent happenings at the Capitol is so offensive to me that I haven’t been able to read and analyze a huge amount of articles on this topic. But this article by USA Today provides an overview of the BLM/Capitol protest comparisons made by various public figures. I am going to attempt to explain why these comments and statements are wrong and unjust.

The article itself describes how during the BLM protests last spring and summer, “law enforcement often clashed with demonstrators, deploying tear gas and rubber bullets, bruising faces and bodies, and, in one incident that went viral, pushing an elderly man to the ground.” Derrick Johnson, president of the NAACP, gave a similar characterization of events: “When Black folks are protesting and progressives are protesting peacefully they were tear-gassed, they were arrested, they were shot with rubber bullets. They were shot with real bullets. We should not be witnessing what we are witnessing today in this nation. It’s a global embarrassment. None of this took place.”

This, to use a very technical philosophy term, is complete and utter baloney. First of all, no Black Lives Matter protesters have been shot by police. Johnson’s reference to being “shot with real bullets” seems to refer to the actions of Kyle Rittenhouse, a counter-protestor who killed two BLM protesters in defense of himself and local business owners whose property the protesters were destroying. Because Rittenhouse was a private citizen and not a police officer, this shooting has no relevance to the topic of the respective police responses to the BLM and Capitol protests. Additionally, how can Johnson claim with a straight face, with regard to tear gas and arrests, that “none of this took place”? Over 100 of the pro-Trump protesters were, indeed, arrested and charged with crimes, and over 200 are being investigated by the FBI for federal felonies such as sedition and conspiracy. Suspects have been hunted down all over the country, and law enforcement is widely publicizing surveillance footage in an attempt to identify even more suspects. Not to mention the fact that one of the protesters, Ashli Babbitt, was killed by a police officer, and two more protesters lost their lives due to mysterious causes during the conflict with police. And all of this despite the fact that the actions of the BLM protesters – destroying countless innocent people’s businesses and countless beautiful, irreplaceable historical statues – were vastly more deserving of punishment than the actions of the pro-Trump protesters at the Capitol. Johnson is (kind of) right about one thing: how leniently BLM protesters have been treated compared to pro-Trump protesters is indeed a global embarrassment.

On a similar note, Bernice King, the daughter of MLK, tweeted: “If this were Black Lives Matter storming the Capitol, tanks would have been in the city by now. The response tells the story of our nation’s racist history and present.” There is absolutely no evidence that tanks would have responded to a hypothetical protest in which BLM protesters entered the Capitol, and the leniency with which such protesters have been treated as they smashed, decapitated, and burned priceless works of art all across the country for months is strong evidence against King’s claim.

Adding to the ridiculousness, CNN commentator Van Jones tweeted: “Imagine if #BlackLivesMatter were the ones who were storming the Capitol building. Thousands of black people laying siege to the seat of government – in the middle of a joint session of Congress? Just imagine the reaction.” I can indeed imagine the reaction. It would not have involved a protester being shot to death by police. It would not have involved hundreds of protesters (or any protesters, for that matter) being hunted down, arrested, and charged with federal crimes. Instead, it would have involved those protesters being unanimously praised as brave, selfless, and heroic by the media, politicians, and society.

Joe Biden voiced similar sentiments, saying, “No one can tell me that if that had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol.” And Rep. Marcia Fudge claimed, “There is a double standard.” These statements are indeed true, but in the opposite way from what the speakers intended. As a side note, there is also a double standard in terms of how presidents are treated by the media and by society. Why is it that Biden has received zero criticism for referring to protesters who disagree with him as a “mob of thugs,” while Trump was ruthlessly attacked as unprofessional and un-presidential for far less insulting rhetoric?

“We have witnessed two systems of justice: one that let extremists storm the U.S. Capitol yesterday, and another that released tear gas on peaceful protestors last summer,” tweeted Kamala Harris. “It’s simply unacceptable.” Actually, the two systems of justice that we have witnessed are one that let people smash beautiful statues to pieces and another that hunted down and arrested hundreds of people, and killed one person, for entering the Capitol building. These disparate systems of justice are indeed unacceptable, but in the opposite way from what Harris meant.

“It’s not any shock that we see this huge contradiction that we can storm a capitol, break into elected officials’ offices, the chamber, and create other chaos trying to perform a fascist coup, and we see little to no consequences,” said activist Kofi Ademola. “But Black protesters here in D.C. and Chicago, we’re heavily policed, brutalized, for literally saying, ‘Don’t kill us.’ There was no planned insurrections. We were literally just advocating for our lives. It speaks volumes about the values of this country. It doesn’t care about our lives.”

This statement is preposterous. As I have already explained, one protestor who entered the Capitol was shot to death and hundreds were hunted down, arrested, and charged with federal crimes. Even the thousands of pro-Trump protesters who made no attempt to enter the Capitol have been shunned as pariahs, fired from their jobs, and received death threats. How can Ademola claim that this constitutes “little to no consequences”? Nothing could be further from the truth. His claim that the pro-Trump protesters were “trying to perform a fascist coup” is equally ridiculous. Countless photos and videos show the protesters carrying Gadsden flags and Confederate flags, emblems of rebellion, liberty, and resistance to authority. This alone is sufficient to prove that the protesters were attempting the exact opposite of a fascist coup. The protesters at the Capitol are the true anti-fascists, ironically a distinction that the left-wing group Antifa claims to hold. Also ridiculous is Ademola’s claim that BLM protesters were “literally just advocating for our lives.” BLM protesters have destroyed countless businesses, buildings, and statues. In what universe is advocating for the destruction of other people’s property and precious works of art considered the same thing as advocating for one’s life? This country certainly seems to care about the lives of these protesters, given the fact that it allows them to brutalize works of art all across the country without making any attempt to stop them or punish them in any way.

And the Black Lives Matter Global Network said in a statement: “When Black people protest for our lives, we are all too often met by National Guard troops or police equipped with assault rifles, shields, tear gas and battle helmets. When white people attempt a coup, they are met by an underwhelming number of law enforcement personnel who act powerless to intervene, going so far as to pose for selfies with terrorists, and prevent an escalation of anarchy and violence like we witnessed today. Make no mistake, if the protesters were Black, we would have been tear-gassed, battered, and perhaps shot.”

The last statement is false for reasons that I have explained above and also completely ignores that fact that one of the pro-Trump protesters, Ashli Babbitt, actually was shot. The characterization of BLM protesters as protesting “for our lives” is inaccurate for reasons that I have also explained above. Additionally, the reference to “white people attempt[ing] a coup” is not only false but also racist. The pro-Trump protest comprised people of all races. (For example, a picture in this gallery from the aftermath of the protest shows a baseball cap that reads “Black Voices for Trump.”)

So in conclusion, there is indeed an inconsistency between the reactions of law enforcement, as well as the media, tech companies, and society in general, to the BLM protests versus the pro-Trump protest in Washington, D.C. The double standard is precisely the opposite of what most people think it is. Seeing mobs brutally destroy beautiful works of art representing historical heroes with almost complete impunity, and then seeing pro-liberty protesters being hunted down, arrested, personally insulted, ostracized, fired, and slandered as fascists and terrorists for standing up to government overreach, is so unjust that it makes my soul cry out in agony.

bookmark_borderA riot is the language of the unheard

“A riot is the language of the unheard.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Watching and reading news coverage and social media posts about the pro-Trump protests at the Capitol has been enormously stressful, infuriating, heartbreaking, upsetting, and exhausting. It is not the actions of the protesters that make me feel these emotions; it is the attitudes and opinions expressed by journalists, commentators, authors, politicians, and society as a whole. The protesters did nothing wrong, and their actions are understandable and justified. Their treatment by the media and society is utterly appalling in its harshness, cruelty, hypocrisy, and inconsistency. 

People who believe in freedom, liberty, and individual rights are angry. And we have a right to be angry. We have been trampled on for a long time. Our income has been stolen by excessive and unjust taxation, our right to make our own medical decisions is under constant assault, privacy rights are essentially non-existent, we are not allowed to board an airplane without passing through a full-body scanner, and even our freedom to leave our houses and move about in the world has been taken away with the advent of a novel virus. And then the Black Lives Matter movement decided to start burning down our businesses, banning our flags, destroying irreplaceable, beautiful statues of the historical figures we love, and, adding insult to injury, claiming that they truly are the ones being trampled on and that we are the oppressors.

When someone is trampled on, he or she becomes angry, and justifiably so. We have protested peacefully again and again. We have explained our views civilly. But no one listened. Our concerns were dismissed as the whining of entitled, privileged crybabies, and the fact that we had the audacity to complain at all was used as evidence that we were selfish jerks. We have been called white supremacists, misogynists, xenophobes, and “deplorables” and been accused of “bitterly clinging” to the things that we value. When we have objected to these characterizations, our objections have been taken as evidence of our “white fragility,” and when we point out that this is racist, this is taken as further evidence of how fragile we are. When one is ridiculed, mocked, and dismissed again and again, one becomes increasingly angry, frustrated, and exhausted. The more angry and exhausted one becomes, the less able one becomes to express one’s views in a measured and articulate manner. And as we become less and less articulate in expressing our views, society takes our lack of articulateness as further evidence that we are are boorish, irrational jerks and ridicules and mocks us even more harshly. The cycle continues, with supporters of individual liberty becoming more and more angry and the rest of society insulting us with increasing nastiness and brutality. The injustice of this situation is overwhelming. It becomes nearly impossible to express oneself eloquently or constructively. When people are treated this way, what happened at the Capitol is the logical result. 

And now, the actions of the Trump supporters at the Capitol have been swiftly, completely, universally, and brutally condemned, used as yet further evidence to impugn the character of all conservatives and libertarians. Anchors and reporters on national news networks call us disgraceful, deplorable, disgusting, sickening, buffoons, idiots, thugs, traitors, domestic terrorists. The terms “riot,” “Trump mob,” “insurrection,” and “coup attempt” are used as if they are non-controversial, neutral descriptors. All over social media, people complain about the devastation, sadness, and even nausea and tears that they experienced while watching the protest. The condemnation infiltrates even areas of life that should have nothing to do with politics: commentators during basketball and football games have called the protesters “terrorists” and decried the “violent riot;” teams have put forth statements alleging that the protesters were treated too leniently by law enforcement; articles on psychology websites speculate about what type of mental disorder could explain the protesters’ behavior; and a speaker during a history lecture that I attended pontificated about how everyone is “saddened and shaken” by the “assault on our democracy.” No attempt whatsoever is made to understand where the protesters are coming from, why they felt so angry and unheard, or why they decided that such drastic action was their best option. 

Making this societal reaction even more inappropriate is the complete lack of proportionality when compared with society’s reaction to the Black Lives Matter protests. The widespread looting, destruction, arson, vandalism, and violence committed by members of the BLM movement had almost no impact on society’s perception of the movement as a whole. The media described those protests not only as mostly peaceful, but also as brave, noble, heroic, and necessary. Countless brands, celebrities, athletes, and all four major sports leagues issued statements in support of the movement. The cruel and barbaric destruction of historical statues and the damage done to business owners were dismissed as unimportant. Almost no one was punished for these despicable acts, and in many cases local governments actually rewarded the perpetrators by removing the victimized statues. Essentially, the way that it seems to work is that when someone on our side does something illegal or violent, everyone on our side is punished. And when someone on the other side does something illegal or violent, everyone on our side is punished. Those who support individual liberty are characterized by the insulting (and sexist and racist) stereotype of the entitled, irrationally aggrieved white male, while the grievances of members of the BLM movement are portrayed as justified and understandable. Never were any leaders of the BLM movement asked to disavow the violent or destructive actions committed by members of their movement, but that is exactly what was immediately demanded of Republican political leaders and conservative organizations with regards to the Capitol protest. Also in the wake of the protest, social media companies, online stores, and other websites banned large swaths of conservative users, and when these users moved to a conservative-leaning alternative, that app was banned from the major operating systems’ app stores. Nothing even remotely similar to this occurred in response to any BLM protest, no matter how violent or destructive. 

And then, taking things to a new level of preposterousness, society and the media complain that the protesters at the Capitol were treated unfairly leniently compared to BLM protesters, when the exact opposite is the case. Imagine what would happen if black people or Muslims stormed the capital, the media asks, implying that it’s obvious they would be treated more harshly. I’ll tell you what would happen: none of them would be arrested, and they would be lauded as heroes by the media instead of being universally ridiculed and condemned. 

So-called journalists and the general public alike have gone on and on about their horror at the attack on their beloved Capitol, which in their eyes symbolizes the democratic process. But neither the Capitol building nor democracy is a defining feature of America. The defining feature of America, the principle upon which it was founded, is individual liberty. And when our political leaders, institutions, and society as a whole trample on individual liberty, then our political leaders, institutions, and society as a whole have forfeited any right to be obeyed and respected. Those who protested at the Capitol were brave freedom fighters who risked their personal safety to stand up for their beliefs. Their actions were justified, and they deserve none of the arrests, charges, or criticism that have been leveled against them. 

In summary, we have been bullied and beaten down, and it is the bullies who are complaining that they are shaken, nauseous, and in tears because some of us actually had the audacity to stand up for ourselves. This reaction is as ridiculous as if a hockey team defeated its rival 8 to 1 and its fans were nauseous and in tears after the game because they were so upset that the other team scored one goal. It also demonstrates a complete lack of empathy; how do they think we have felt all these years as we have been relentlessly insulted and our rights violated? The bullies who have been oppressing and trampling on us receive no scrutiny whatsoever and are portrayed by the media as innocent victims while we, the true victims, are vilified, mocked, and condemned. As a result of this pervasive unjust treatment, we are angry, we are frustrated, we are overwhelmed, and we are exhausted. We are tired of being trampled on, tired of our rights being violated, tired of being insulted and ridiculed, tired of our complaints and grievances being dismissed, tired of being told that we are privileged and that we are the problem. When a society treats people this way, it has no right to criticize them for fighting back.

“When tyranny becomes law, rebellion becomes duty.” – Thomas Jefferson