The Capitol riot highlighted our problem with misinformation. Which, as avid social media users, young people are exposed to the most. The riot also highlighted the hypocrisy in our politics. None of this is new or exclusive to one political party.
Unfortunately, no one in the media or popular culture is willing to admit that. I write this article to clear the brush.
Yes, the Capitol Was Breached
On January 6th, a day that will be remembered for generations to come, President Trump held a rally where he excited a crowd of his supporters with election rigging disinformation. After getting them riled up, he told them to march to the Capitol Building.
On that day, Congress was certifying the electoral votes, the final step in officiating an election. Because President Trump and his supporters believe the election was rigged, they wanted to stop this certification.
So, they raided the United States Capitol. In doing so, they injured multiple police officers and civilians and desecrated the Capitol. Five people also died that day.
It was despicable, and nearly everyone agrees. It was one of those increasingly rare instances where both Republicans and Democrats agreed on something.
Those storming the Capitol need to stop NOW. The Constitution protects peaceful protest, but violence—from Left or Right— is ALWAYS wrong. And those engaged in violence are hurting the cause they say they support.— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 6, 2021
President Trump must stop inciting violence with false claims of election fraud. He had his day in court. In more than 60 cases, judge after judge found no evidence of voter fraud. The election is over, Mr. President. Stop working to destroy our democracy. pic.twitter.com/ETAvD0UJde— Senator Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) January 7, 2021
The President Did Nothing to Stop It
While everyone was condemning the rioters and telling them to leave, at the center of this was President Trump doing absolutely nothing for two hours. When he did decide to break his silence, one of the things he said was:
"These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long. Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!"
Aside from thinking it was pointedly unhelpful, I thought it sounded familiar. What he was saying was that “a riot is the language of the unheard.” In case you can't place the origin of that quote, it came from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We heard Democrats use that quote in defense of last summer's race riots.
What President Trump and the Democrats didn’t mention is that, in the same speech, Dr. King also said that riots are “socially destructive.” Dr. King did not support them. Still, they used his quote to defend it. Shameful.
But, to the point, it is no coincidence that the race riots and the Capitol riot were given the same defense. That's bound to happen when it's the same behavior.
Both Riots Should Be Treated the Same
During the race riots and the Capitol riot, property was destroyed, people were injured and killed, and the rioters were angry. They are, in that respect, the same. So, why is it that liberals, especially in the media, decided to defend the race riots but not the Capitol riot?
Why is it that one swath of violence is above reproach but not the other? It is entirely inconsistent.
I've argued with several people on this issue and the first thing they say is: You can't compare a riot about racial injustice to a riot about being a sore loser—the causes are different. That's a fallacy because I'm not comparing the cause of the riots. Both being riotous is what I'm comparing; the violent and destructive behavior is the same.
There's also something circular about their argument because these are the same people that compare how the police treated the white Capitol rioters to how they treated black protestors last summer.
No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protestors yesterday that they wouldn’t have been treated very differently than the mob that stormed the Capitol. We all know that’s true — and it’s unacceptable.— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) January 7, 2021
If the two riots can’t be compared, then how can you make that comparison? Again, Democrats are completely inconsistent on this one.
The Media Is Complicit in the Hypocrisy
How, for example, does CNN's Chris Cuomo go from saying “show me where it says protests are supposed to be polite and peaceful,” which he said in defense of the race riots, to saying that “dissent must be decent” in response to the Capitol riots?
I suspect this inconsistency is because he sympathizes with the cause of the race riots and disagrees with the cause of the Capitol riots. But reckless and destructive behavior should not be condoned, regardless of who does it.
Riots caused by racial injustice are no exception.
CNN's Chris Cuomo: "Please, show me where it says protesters are supposed to be polite and peaceful."pic.twitter.com/9Rmfh7LV8M— Alex Salvi (@alexsalvinews) June 3, 2020
(By the way, the Constitution says that protests are supposed to be polite and peaceful—perhaps Chris Cuomo didn't know that and felt like airing his ignorance on national television).
Don't be like this. Democracy is precious and fragile. Disagreement must be decent. What we have here is not guaranteed. Remember this man and his enablers and never let this happen again. https://t.co/1aB3t943L0— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) January 6, 2021
Democrats Don’t Have the Moral High Ground, They Did It Too
But let's not forget how this started: People were upset over alleged election rigging. This is also familiar. When Hilary Clinton lost the 2016 election, Democrats claimed that the election was rigged. And, every chance she got, Clinton cried foul—even years into President Trump’s term.
To turn a phrase from President Barack Obama, Clinton began “sowing seeds of doubt” in our election system.
And she didn't do it alone. According to a 2016 study, nearly half of Democrats thought the election was rigged too. It spurred claims of Russian collusion, remember that? It seems like a distant memory because nothing ever came of it. Nevertheless, Democrats persisted.
For four years, Democrats have been saying “that's not my President.” Or, like The View’s Whoopi Goldberg, they refuse to say President Trump’s name. They’ll refer to him as “you know who,” like he's Lord Voldemort—for you Harry Potter fans. So much for Democrats being in favor of accepting election results, right?
It’d be disingenuous for us to pretend that what's happening is new. Everything Democrats are slamming Republicans for doing, they did too. But no one wants to admit that.
We'd rather be partisan: When my side riots, it’s okay. When the other side riots, they're thugs or treasonous. When my side claims election fraud, it’s fine. But when the other side does it, it’s because they’re sore. That’s how people of both sides are thinking these days.
The Bottom Line
For those reasons, both sides are full of you-know-what. There is no ideological consistency anymore. How can you condemn one side for rioting, but not the other? How can you shame Trump supporters for falsely alleging election rigging when you did it too?
Our politics is riddled with inconsistent hypocrites. They stop being consistent when it stops being convenient. That is the state of our politics. I cannot respect that, and neither should you.