Updated: Jan 30, 2021
“In the days before January 6th, calls for a ‘real solution’ became progressively louder. Trump, both by amplifying these voices and consolidating his control over the Republican Party, conferred extraordinary influence on the most deranged and hateful elements of the American right.”
And there you have Luke Mogelson’s analysis of the Capitol riot in the current issue of The New Yorker Magazine, which follows from the videos of the event which he posted several weeks ago.
What he describes in detail is the degree to which groups like QAnon, Proud Boys, Three-Percenters and all the other elements which comprised the January 6th mob, represent a combination of hate-filled beliefs vented against Blacks, Jews, Muslims, immigrants, gays, liberals, Democrats, Rinos – anyone and everyone who isn’t alt-right and White.
This article is in the best journalistic tradition of The New Yorker Magazine – detailed, descriptive, full of facts, awash in anecdotes, heavy on first-person interviews and a deft reporter’s eye kept right on the ball.
The problem with the article, however, is that perhaps it was written about a month before it should have been finished because what is most interesting to me about the events which led up to January 6th, as well as the riot itself, was how quickly and definitively the whole thing seems to have petered out.
Mogelson quotes various participants in the January 6th riot as believing their actions are bringing about a ‘storm.’ Here’s his very last sentence: “The storm might be here.”
It is? The snowstorm that is dumping about two inches of snow outside my house at the moment seems to be a much bigger storm. For all the post-January 6th internet chatter about the next wave of assaults on the body politic both within and without Washington, D.C., so far we are seeing occasional puffs of rhetorical hot air.
I’ve met a number of these insurrectionists over the years because I own a gun shop – remember? – and from time to time they come wandering in. Most of them can’t actually buy a gun from me because at some point they did something stupid and got convicted for doing something they weren’t supposed to do.
There was this one guy, he started off as a big Tea Party supporter, then made the switch to QAnon. His car was towed to the police lot because he ‘forgot’ to pay the loan payment for a few months. But since the car was ‘his,’ he deserved to get it back. So, one night he jumped the fence, drove the car back home and was promptly arrested the next day for grand theft.
When he failed the background check and I couldn’t sell him a gun, he told me that the ‘goddamn government’ was always getting in his way. From his perspective, he was correct.
There was this other guy who had all his guns taken away by the cops after he threatened to shoot his girlfriend when he found some sexually suggestive emails on her computer one night. He brought a guy into the shop with the idea that the guns would be released to his friend, but his buddy failed the background check. Birds of a feather, know what I mean?
What we saw on January 6th in the Capitol was a bunch of mentally challenged adults who had an opportunity to act out in real time what they banter back and forth on social media all the time. How has the FBI been able to arrest several hundred of these schmucks to date? Simple. They all have Facebook pages and/or websites.
Just about every case of arrested development climbing up the Capitol steps was wearing a hat and a t-shirt and waving a banner or a flag. Think they buy that crap at the local convenience store where they stop every morning to pick up a lottery ticket, a coffee, and some smokes?
MAGA isn’t an insurrectionist movement. It’s a new consumer market which will gobble up whatever consumer product happens to come its way.