I have to come clean about something. I wanted the Capitol stormed.
I knew it would happen sooner or later, and I thought not soon enough. But my eagerness wasn’t in 2020 from belief in conspiracies, but many years earlier for belief in Liberty. Long before people lost their minds over masks and borders and fake news about “cities burning”, I was tired of an overfunded, overarching bureaucracy. I was incensed about security theater, where our wives were seen naked and our children fondled. I lamented the million little laws meant to protect us from ourselves that in the end make each of us criminals just by living.
My only fear was that those who shared my concern over a nanny state and government-run everything would replace a Leftist totalitarian slippery slope with a theocracy. And I admired the Oath Keepers from the start. I’m probably on a mailing list somewhere or signed some petition of support at some point. What red-blooded American wouldn’t want the military and law enforcement to side with the people over orders from politicians? The Constitution, after all, is our safeguard against a tyrant, even if we elect them. If in conflict, which should we follow, a superior officer or the Law of the Land?
And I’ve always believed in the 2nd Amendment as a political right. I’m not a gun owner, but feel like I ought to be as a citizen, in terms of American principles and heritage. I truly feel it could mean the final safeguard against tyranny. I’m saddened that we don’t teach our children about the Battle of Athens (McMinn County War) in 1946. And we’ve seen what our government could do against Bonus Army veterans. I even maintain that at Waco and Ruby Ridge, the Feds weren’t the good guys.
But I also feel this way about Kent State and Berkeley. I certainly feel this way about Tulsa (Black Wall Street) and a long list of similar incidents. When civil unrest came, followed by an explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement, I thought now was the time. We can stand for We the People over the machine. But those who claimed to be on the side of Liberty marched against instead of with them. Civilian militias — a concept I wanted to respect — sided with every bigoted extremist group that crawled out of the woodwork. Every excuse was used to defend government, and worst of all, vilify even peaceful events as “riots”. The ACLU now has to fight many states to kill laws that curtail or even criminalize the 1st Amendment in this respect. The proportional small amount of violence magnified by media became the excuse to ignore an entire Civil Rights movement — just like in the 60s. Except when people in the streets were being brutalized, the media substituted it with reports of violence whenever and wherever it could be found. Our response? We held “Back the Blue” parades instead of calling for change — very unlike the 60s. “Law and Order” was more important to us than Justice. (And now it’s obvious it only applies to the other guy.)
But then it got worse. Oath Keepers became radicalized. Those sworn to protect the Constitution from any unlawful order committed the very acts they said they would not. They broke every such oath into a million pieces. They did it under the flags of both our Nation and a politician. There were even flags for One America Network, one of the biggest sources of misinformation causing QAnon cultism to go mainstream. And one ex-police officer and veteran used a flagpole to attack those protecting the very people following the Constitution over the tyrannical demands of a then-sitting president. Christians broke my heart even worse, as crosses stood near makeshift gallows.
The people who considered themselves the most patriotic in the country should have pointed their 2nd Amendment expression in the other direction all year. The following January, they attacked the Capitol when they should have stormed the Ellipse. And yes, unlike rioters and protesters being 99% different people, these were much of the same crowds. And Christians were more worried about inflated notions of their own persecution than being the Light in the world for others. So many of the “saved” sided against every marginalized group and cause that tended more to Love than perceived righteousness. (Surely they will all be caused to ask “When did we see you, Lord?” …)
This is why 2020 was a painful turning point for me. I really thought the damn of extremism would break from the Left before the Right. I thought “patriots” actually believed what they said they did. I thought their oaths meant something, or I wanted them to. I thought the 2nd Amendment was to protect rights, not the ability to get our way. I thought abuse by authority would be an issue we could all agree on. And I realized that so much of American Christianity is not Christian at all, perhaps downright evil. So many labels I could apply to myself most of my life have become in the eyes of many, and not without good reason, badges of shame.
But there’s hope. People expressed shock and found excuses why so many White people marched. I saw immediately that this wasn’t a “race war” but a battle between racists and those who said enough was enough. I have never been prouder of the younger generation, the older generations, the diverse groups of veterans, teachers, and citizens of every color stand up. On the political front, I saw so many civic workers, including Republicans and Conservatives, refuse to carry out demands to fudge election results, or base investigations on finding a result instead of the truth. The line against tyranny, no matter how much some on all sides want to make it some ideological or cultural war, has been drawn between those who stand against fanatic politics and those who embrace them. The uniters are called dividers by those who are called out, just like anti-bigots are called intolerant for not accepting intolerance. But we now know who is who.
I think — I hope — I pray — more and more people aren’t buying into the bull$h!t. We’re tired of everything being made into a choice between out-of-hand Socialism and outright Fascism, with each side calling the other the latter. And I hope there are enough Liberals willing to respect non-radicalized Conservatives, those outcast as RINOs based solely on their support of one man.
I’ve always seen the hypocrisy of the far Left. Now I see the hypocrisy of the far Right. I miss the days of arguing economics and policy with Liberals, but only recently did I have to defend basic decency, Science, and human rights. To be honest, I never thought I’d side with Liberals so much since my college days. Still not sure I’ll see eye to eye over economics. And I will never support big government, at least nowhere as big as it already is. But I will not side with indecency, intolerance, and insanity — things that should never be partisan issues.
NOTE: The events of 2020 coincided with my journey in writing “Some White Guy’s Book“, available worldwide.