Insurrection Day Revisited - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Insurrection Day Revisited
Rep. Adam Schiff testifying before Stephen Colbert last October 19. ( The Late Show with Stephen Colbert/YouTube)

Of course, I remember where I was on Insurrection Day! January 6, 2021, was one of those moments, like the day Elvis died, that we’ll all recall just where we were and what we were doing that fateful day.

I was sitting at my laptop, playing spider solitaire, when my wife called to me. “They’re attacking the Capitol,” she cried out. I immediately reached out for my rifle. “They’ll be calling me up,” I said. “Do you really think they’ll need you?” she wondered. “Well, perhaps I could roll bandages,” I answered.

I looked out from my porch, on an Alexandria hillside, where I ordinarily could see the Capitol, but now it was obscured by the fog and likely the smoke of battle. A darkness covered the District, as if Heaven could not bear to look. But then the mist suddenly cleared, and in the sunlight, I could see the Capitol still standing. “They haven’t burnt it,” I exclaimed. “Tara is still there!”

Yes, we had come through the attack, but are we really safe? We’ve been living in a fool’s paradise, I realized. Who knew that the world’s oldest constitution, a country with a storied history and 330 million people, might be destroyed by a man in raccoon skins and horns?

We must ensure this can never happen again and search out and punish everyone who had a hand in the tragedy. The task is ongoing, and it won’t be easy. Of those who entered the Capitol, about a hundred fought with the police, but hundreds more were ordinary-looking people who waltzed through the open doors.

And what about the fifth column of people who sympathized with the insurrectionists? As the Washington Post noted, it’s not just the people who stormed the Capitol. What about your neighbors? The people at the Capitol had been regular people, park workers, hairdressers, and piano teachers, seemingly just like the rest of us, except that they wanted to destroy the country. Now we need to dig down and probe the people who say hi when we meet them on the street. Just what is behind their smiles? The Washington Post wrote: “Back in the quiet, well-to-do neighborhoods of America, the constitution of the mob raised unnerving questions. Do I know any of these people?” When the Capitol was sacked in 1814, we knew who the malefactors were. They were wearing red uniforms. “This time,” the Post wrote, “it might have been the guy a few houses down who always keeps his lawn immaculately mowed.”

We’re going to need the kind of rigorous investigation that countries such as Germany and South Africa went through in order to reveal the complicity of the evil-doers. Even before January 6, Clinton’s labor secretary, Robert Reich, had tweeted that we’ll need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission “to name every official, politician, executive, and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this catastrophe.” Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump supporters “enemies of the state,” and Anne Applebaum compared them to Nazi collaborators. The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin thought it wasn’t enough that Trump lost. “We have to collectively burn down the Republican Party. We have to level them. Because if there are survivors … they will do it again.” As for the 1619 Project’s Nikole Hannah-Jones, she wants the 74 million Americans who voted for Trump to be deprogrammed.

The need to reveal the complicity of the many millions of Republicans is especially urgent since the party seems likely to recapture the Capitol through the stealth method of an election. What it could not do by illegal means, it’ll do under a cover of legality. Can we allow this to happen? I don’t see how we can call ourselves a democracy if we permit the Republican Party to exist.

Let us, therefore, resolve to end the infamy, and commemorate the heroes of that awful day. In centuries to come, Insurrection Day will be solemnized with parades and prayer, with recitations of the names of the victors, with guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, just like John Adams thought the Declaration of Independence would be remembered. Reenactors will portray the legislators fleeing from their chambers, and children will recite the speeches of Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff.

F. H. Buckley teaches at Scalia Law School. His forthcoming book is Progressive Conservatism: How Republicans Will Become America’s Natural Governing Party (2022).

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