Generals always fight the last war, so the saying goes. Politicians don’t dress in uniform, but they, too, obsess over past conflicts. It is the unwillingness of Democrats controlling Congress to move past the tumult of Jan. 6 that has spurred a decision to harden the U.S. Capitol against Americans seeking a redress of grievances over the treatment of that day’s protesters. Once again, “the people” are not welcome at “the people’s house.”
Anticipating Saturday’s “Justice for J6” rally at nearby Union Square, the U.S. Capitol Police, overseen in part by Congress, has ordered reinstallation of high chain-link fencing thrown up around the Capitol between Jan. 6 and the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Biden. While thousands marched in January from the “Save America” Rally on the Ellipse up Capitol Hill to dispute election irregularities, only a few hundred are expected for the weekend event.
Their cause has some merit. While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has characterized the Jan. 6 uproar as an “insurrection,” no one has been charged with a crime of that enormity. Instead of the 600-plus individuals arrested, some engaged in bully-boy clashes with police, rightly resulting in charges such as “inflicting bodily injury upon officers.”
Others, though, simply strolled the halls of Congress after the fashion of tourists. Unaware of their transgressions, among the charges they face are “entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds” — essentially trespassing.
Nine months on, an unknown number charged with violent behavior are still reportedly behind bars at the D.C. Central Detention Facility. In contrast, perpetrators of riot, arson, and murder during the nation-wracking George Floyd upheaval of 2020 have been more readily freed on bond.
To be sure, there are legitimate reasons for political figures to fear for their lives. The just-passed 20th anniversary of 9/11 rekindled dreadful memories of the day when a terrorist-commandeered passenger jet drew a bead on the U.S. Capitol Building but never arrived, thankfully. Since then, deranged gunmen have, on two separate occasions, wounded a member of Congress, though neither one near Capitol Hill.
There is a price to pay for Democrats’ attempt to characterize civil discord as a civil war. A Rasmussen poll earlier this week found that 49 percent of likely voters either strongly or somewhat agree with the contention that the U.S. government is holding political prisoners. In disagreement with that view were 42 percent; another 9 percent were unsure. It is clear the public isn’t buying the insurrection label placed on the Jan. 6 protesters.
With their own job approval scraping bottom at 28 percent, according to Statistica.com, members of Congress only add to their unpopularity when they hastily seal themselves off from the public.
Look Ahead America, sponsor of Saturday’s “Justice for J6” gathering, plans to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, sing patriotic songs and pray. That doesn’t sound like a Capitol offense.