Political violence enters the J6 Hearings
‘There are two features common to a rise of authoritarianism: a refusal to accept the outcome of democratic elections and the use of violence to gain power.’
-Rep. Jamie Raskin, closing remarks, J6 Committee Hearings, July 12
On Thursday, July 21, the J6 Committee will demonstrate Trump’s relentless involvement with the use of political violence to overthrow the certification of Joseph Biden, jr. as President.
The Hearing is scheduled for “prime time.”
Stand Back and Stand By
A thought experiment:
Let’s hypothesize that Trump and his team had nothing to do with the Capitol attack.
Nothing. No planning. No communication with broadcasters. No tweets. Nothing. Total absence or hint of coordination with any crowds marching angrily towards the US Capitol on January 6.
And consider that the “Stop the Steal” rally was staged by Antifa, infiltrated by Antifa, encouraged and organized by Antifa. Trump’s rally speech ad libs were funneled through the White House communications scrim by an embedded Antifa mole.
One acts to contain, not ignite, a civil disturbance. The President watched.
Consider that one doesn’t need a bully to convince a community of the threats of violence. Indeed, as Raskin inferred in his closing remark on Day 7 of the Hearings (we will see the American Carnage Trump brought on), America has witnessed a President channel political violence to bully America. First there were the innuendos about foreign authoritarians, then the post-Charlottesville remark, and the relentless innuendos at the MAGA rallies…to name a few.
Consider what Franklin Roosevelt, who saw first-hand ‘American carnage’ at the height of the depression, said during a White House Meeting of business and union leaders —to business, ‘you have no other choice, give up your power or you will go under; to union leaders, ‘knock off the violent stuff, we won’t tolerate a Revolution.’ (1)
Consider Raskin’s citing of Trump’s Inauguration speech and Cheney’s charge on Day 7 that the President, a 76-year-old, is not a child: “the President knew more about the outcome of the 2020 election than anyone in America and yet he summoned his followers to Washington to protest and overturn the results.’
With Day 7, this observer has noticed the compelling mix of pre-recorded and live testimony. I had thought this mix was the result of negotiating testimony with a recalcitrant and lawyered-up pool, that the Committee was trying to build a picture with what they could get. Now I sense a visual/sound strategy to the shift during cable coverage of the Hearings between recorded and live testimonies: an opportunity for a ‘please comment on what you see going on here,’ moment.
A therapist friend and observer of the hearings describes the shift from recorded to live testimony through the eyes and body language of the actors (‘Turn off the sound. It helps’):
The screen image of recorded testimony shifts from the darting eyes of liars (Ivanka is exhibit 1) to the screen image of live testimony, the teary eyes (Shaye Moss), the weary eyes (former AG Rosen), the mournful eyes (Stephen Ayres) …
The J6 Committee had juxtaposed videos of mob violence at the Capitol on January 6 with live witness testimony from the Capitol Police when the Hearings first aired, in July 2021. Perhaps the year of assembling more recorded testimony has helped the American audience distill what they were about to see.
Yes, people were wounded and killed but the cost of violence doesn’t end there.
As J6 Committee interrogators are demonstrating painstakingly, confidence in America’s institution is defeated. The consequence of political violence and intimidation provokes raising a cognitive drawbridge… (you’re) not getting our vote, not getting our approval, not getting our neighborly tolerance, not getting our interest.
An American shut-down.
Nurses, teachers, police, poll watchers, even… not for irony are these institution service providers rethinking their commitment, future and safety. America is suffering a dearth of applications. Think Tik Tok campaigns for recruiting teachers and nurses.
As America’s democracy-fostering institutions falter, a court decision here, a challenged election there, throw in an abandoned public swimming pool (2). Consider that one is witnessing a social breakdown in real time.
Consider that America’s future consists of raised drawbridges: a gated community, a trailer park and big screen TVs mixed with meds.
Consider that one doesn’t need bromides about ‘non-partisan’ to convince that fostering division just brings authoritarianism. Blend in violence and intimidation and we’ve switched to high speed on the Kitchen-Aid: to authoritarian rule.
1Roosevelt meeting cite
2Swimming pool analogy cite