Above image: By Nathaniel St. Clair.
If the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, and eventually overtook the Capitol, quite easily by the way, with police literally opening gates for them, snapping some selfies, and participating in a few friendly shoving matches before ceding the building completely.
If those people stormed the Capitol because their government had abandoned them for nearly a year while an unprecedented pandemic ravaged the country.
If they stormed the Capitol because the government shut down their jobs and asked them to stay home but didn’t provide stimulus to replace their lost income, didn’t provide rent relief, mortgage relief, debt relief during an unprecedented pandemic.
If they stormed the Capitol because they were recently evicted or on the edge of eviction or their children were going hungry because the government abandoned them during an unprecedented pandemic.
If they stormed the Capitol because they couldn’t afford healthcare in the midst of a health crisis. Because they saw family, friends, coworkers die needlessly because the government abandoned them during an unprecedented pandemic. I would have supported them.
If the people who stormed the Capitol were black and indigenous and fed up with the state violence and oppression and systemic racism they endure every day.
If they stormed the Capitol demanding justice, equality, and reparations for how they and their families and their ancestors have been brutally treated since before this country was a country. I would have supported them.
If the people who stormed the Capitol were environmental activists demanding the government finally act on climate change. Something the government has known was a real crisis for decades and has done nothing to combat.
If they stormed the Capitol because the oceans are warming, the forests are on fire, the coral reefs are bleaching, insects are disappearing, birds are falling out of the sky, and much more disaster will follow if the government doesn’t act now. I would have supported them.
If the people who stormed the Capitol were part of the anti-war movement, disgusted that our military is still in Afghanistan, the longest war in American history, and still in Iraq, a war predicated on lies and misinformation that has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and displaced over a million.
If they stormed the Capitol because our military is supporting with weapons and logistics the Saudi-led genocide in Yemen which has been deemed the World’s worst humanitarian crisis by the UN, where an estimated 24 million people – close to 80 percent of the population – need assistance and protection.
If they stormed the Capitol for any of those reasons, I would have supported them.
But the people who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday didn’t do it for any of those reasons. They didn’t do it for any valid reason at all. They stormed and overtook the Capitol because of a lie. A lie that Trump and his enablers and the sewers of the internet cooked up and have spoon fed to susceptible people (white people terrified of a shift in demographics that will result in a loss of privilege) for four years. The lie that if Trump loses an election then it is because of fraud. If he loses, it is fraudulent. If he wins, it’s still fraudulent because he should have won by more, but at least he is in office.
We know it’s a lie because they have no evidence of fraud. The recounts they wanted, they got. The audits they wanted, they got. They were granted time in multiple courts to argue their case and they didn’t have any actual evidence to present. Trump lost. It wasn’t close, even though it was still far too close considering his abysmal job performance as President.
Which is the truly bizarre thing about this whole fiasco. The devotion to Trump would be more understandable if he had made the average Americans life materially better while he was in office. But he didn’t.
Sure the stock market rose, but average Americans don’t own stocks, and if they do it is a very small amount. Wages didn’t get better, healthcare didn’t get more affordable, housing didn’t get more affordable, the environment didn’t become better protected, and he criminally failed to address an unprecedented pandemic that he knew the severity of since before it hit our shores, and has now resulted in nearly 400,000 deaths, many of them preventable, and an economic collapse for most Americans who weren’t already wealthy.
They stormed the Capitol for a lie, to fight for a president that is a fraud, while all of the real problems this country faces remain unresolved.
Nathaniel St. Clair is CounterPunch’s social media, copy, and photo editor. You can follow him on Twitter @NatStClair.