Whether Donald Trump’s January 6 speech to his supporters rose to the amount of criminal incitement below the Supreme Court’s perhaps excessively liberal Brandenburg standard, it was undeniably a thoroughly reprehensible action, or even , as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell put it following the impeachment trial,”a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of responsibility.” Nothing could excuse it.
However, while news media have every reason and right to condemn Trump’s behavior in provoking a mob (despite his admonition that they should act”peaceably”) to engage in a violent attack that led to five fatalities (and might have more, had itn’t been for the courageous acts of the understaffed Capitol Police), it’s unfortunate that few have put Trump’s action in a wider context that would admit the dangers to our Constitutional sequence arising from elsewhere on the political spectrum. Starting with the election of 2000, notable Democrats have questioned the validity of every election in which a Republican won the Presidency–really, devoting the vast majority of Trump’s sentence to wanting him to eliminate him, on grounds a lot more spurious than those on which his post-Presidential impeachment rested.
More recently, a thoroughly anti-constitutional precedent was set by then-minority leader Chuck Schumer just last March, after he led a posse of approximately 75 members up the measures of the Supreme Court to frighten newly appointed justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh they had”published the whirlwind,” would”pay a price,” and would”not know what hit” them if they voted the”wrong” way on an abortion case. (Schumer’s action acquired a rare rebuke from the generally booked Chief Justice Roberts, that denounced Schumer’s comments as”inappropriate” and”reckless,” stressing, who”all members of this court will continue to perform their job, without fear or favor, from all quarter.” In a proto-Trumpian answer, Schumer spokesman Justin Goodman clarified his boss’s words didn’t mean exactly what they seemed like, also refused that. Schumer was threatening or encouraging violence.)
A decade ago, a much more direct and threatening, although finally (mostly) nonviolent, challenge to constitutional government was provided by Wisconsin public worker unions that invaded that state’s Capitol to protest and make an effort to obstruct Governor Scott Walker’s application of reforming public-employee contracts in order to balance the state budget without raising taxes, and also liberate public college administrations from rigid breeding rules (closely paralleled in college districts across the nation ) that prevented them from hiring instructors according to merit and adjusting their pay based on performance. Walker’s reforms went so far as to take public employees to add to their own health-insurance and pension costs–although still paying less for those advantages than the average Wisconsin citizen. Though nobody died in the Wisconsin protests, several legislators, both Republicans and Democrats, reported receiving death threats in the moment. And one woman who emailed death threats to Republican lawmakers also pleaded guilty to making a bomb threat. Nevertheless it would be tricky to find criticism of either Schumer’s warnings or the Wisconsin unions’ attempt to intimidate their state’s public institutions in most of the”mainstream” media.
The threat to this rule of law, and even to the constitutionally protected freedom of speech, even in today’s America goes well past the attack on the U.S. Capitol, let alone the other attempts to bully lawgivers and judges only mentioned. The wave of riots, violent crime, and looting ostensibly provoked by George Floyd’s departure while police tried to restrain him is obviously well known. However, as independent journalist Andy Ngo documents within his just-published publication Unmasked, widespread rioting led from the broadly arranged anarchist group Antifa started in his home city of Portland several years before the Floyd occasion. With considerable courage, Ngo both reported on and off the months of rioting from Portland and Seattle, entailing direct assaults on police departments and judges in both cities, attacks on police leading to countless injuries, and numerous deaths. Yet in each case local authorities let most of the violence go ashore, using Seattle’s mayor Jenny Durkan even observing the institution last June of this”Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ), where police and other government personnel had been excluded, as exemplifying a”Summer of Love”–until mounting deaths and other casualties, to say nothing of costly damage to local shops, eventually caused her to …