Revolution vs Insurrection
As the various scoundrels, scallywags, and outright traitors involved in the January 6 insurrection face the harsh reality of justice in a democracy that they tried to bring down, we approach mid-term elections on the eve of the second anniversary of the mob attack on our government. Labeled in the press as the United States Capital Attack, fomented and abetted by the ex-president and many sitting members of the Republican faction in Congress, it was the equivalent of an attempted coup.
Some would have you believe these renegades were patriots in the guise of the Minutemen and others who fought for our independence from England in the 18th century; nothing could be farther from the truth. There is a stark difference between the two events. One was our struggle for to be free of tyranny and a religious government, and the other was a malignant attempt on 1/6 to drive a stake through the heart of our democracy by illegally nullifying a constitutional election. These lawbreakers had no future vision for our country; they had only hate in their hearts that their candidate was soundly defeated and they refused to accept that fact.
Webster defines revolution as "the overthrow or renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed." On the other hand, an insurrection is "an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government."
It may seem a fine distinction between the two definitions, but it's more straightforward than is at first apparent. Typically, a revolution comes about as most people reach a sort of critical mass, a groundswell in their resistance to an oppressive, abusive, and totalitarian government. While the revolutionary movement may not represent the views of 100% of the people, it does represent a solid majority. That majority is almost a requirement if the revolution is to succeed.
In our revolution in the 18th century, before 1775, the patriots generally wanted to remain within the British Empire. Various forces and considerations moved public opinion toward independence. There were bloody attacks by British troops, attacks by the British navy on maritime vessels, and the enlistment by Britain of African American soldiers, Native American auxiliaries, and German mercenary troops. A growing conviction that Britain would not accept accommodation and could not be relied upon to keep its word, coupled with the opinion that independence was necessary to form allegiances with France and Spain, all led to a majority of patriots joining the call for independence.
Webster's definition says a revolution is the "renunciation of one government or ruler and the substitution of another by the governed." Real revolutions are nurtured by a vision and are typically long, drawn-out affairs with both sides at war until there is a victor.
An insurrection or coup is often the work of a minority group and does not enjoy the support of the majority. There may be an underlying desire to change the government by the insurrectionists, but without the masses' consent, there is little chance of it happening politically or by force. Thus, most insurrections and coups fail, or if they succeed, they are gone in short order without the support of the majority.
Our January coup came about quickly and primarily by surprise. It was not based on a vision, but on little more than being pissed off at losing. Seemingly urged on by then-President Trump and encouraged by numerous members of the GOP, the insurgents were encouraged to break the law.
Anatomy of a coup:
A mob had gathered on the Capital grounds. Shortly after 1:00 pm on January 6, Trump says: "We're going to the Capitol. We're going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country."
As the mob grew restless, others in the GOP were chumming the insurrection waters.
Gosar declares, "I rise for myself and 60 of my colleagues to object to the counting of the electoral ballots of Arizona." Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, joins in Gosar's objection. The House and Senate split to deliberate the objection in separate parts of the Capitol building.
1:30 pm; Protesters overcome the police, who ran back into the building. Suspicious packages are found at the Republican National Committee and Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. Nearby buildings are evacuated. The packages are later confirmed to be pipe bombs.
>2:00 pm; Protesters break windows and climb into the Capitol.
2:24 pm; Trump tweets: "Mike Pence didn't have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution."
2:30 pm: The Capital building goes into lockdown.
2:38 pm: Trump urges people to "stay peaceful."
>3:00 pm: Rioters break into the Senate chamber.
3:11 pm: Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., tweets, "Mr. President, you have got to stop this. You are the only person who can call this off. Call it off. The election is over. Call it off."
3:36 p.m. More than two hours after protesters first breached the Capitol grounds, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweets that Trump has ordered the National Guard to the Capitol. Still nothing from Trump or GOP leaders.
>4:00 pm: President-elect Biden addresses the nation: "I call on President Trump to go on national television now, to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege. This is not a protest - it is an insurrection."
4:17 pm: Trump does not go on TV. Instead, he tweets a video talking to his supporters inside the Capitol. "I know your pain. I know your hurt," he begins. "We love you. You're very special. You've seen what happens. You've seen the way others are treated. ... I know how you feel, but go home, and go home in peace." Around the same time, Maryland and Virginia send the National Guard and state troopers to the District of Columbia.
>6:00 pm: Almost five hours after the rioting began, police started to clear the Capitol and eventually secure the interior.
6:01 p.m. Trump tweets again. "These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!"
7:54 p.m. The Republican National Committee condemns the day's violence.
Insurrections or coups are typically surprise attacks and violent outbursts using military-type tactics to overthrow a sitting government. Whether successful or a failure, they are over in a relevantly short time, hours or days. If successful, the coup leaders have to militarize the government to prevent the majority of the people, who never agreed with this approach in the first place, from rising up and overthrowing the insurrectionists and restoring the duly elected government.
Fortunately, in our case, the energy went out of the coup as the police regained control, but none of that resulted from GOP leadership. Sadly, people were injured and killed in this melee of misguided purpose, and their blood is on the hands of Trump and his GOP enablers.
What happened on January 6, 2021, was not patriotic. It was not a revolution. It was perpetrated by a mob of hoodlums lathered into a frenzy by a seditious and disloyal soon-to-be ex-president who rejected the outcome of a fair election and tried to thwart our constitutional process designed for the peaceful exchange of rule from one party to another. He is now and will be under investigation for the foreseeable future and will likely be indicted for his un-American activities.