On January 6, 2021, the holy day of the Epiphany, a motley horde of a few hundred invaded America’s Capitol building while Congress met to certify the votes of the 2020 election. The representatives of the people had to be whisked to safety while the invaders marauded through some of the most sacrosanct halls of our nation’s democracy. The president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, was instantly accused and convicted of inciting the crowd by the press, the Democrats, and even some members of his adopted Republican Party. Trump had indeed spoken to the rioters minutes earlier, in front of the White House, some 3.6 miles from Capitol Hill. “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” he told them. He also said, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” For that, the House of Representatives impeached the president two weeks later, the first time in U.S. history that a president has been twice impeached. Trump was later acquitted by the Senate.
The January 6 attack was nauseating in all respects. An unruly mob of buffoons invaded the people’s house and threatened America’s elected representatives, sending a signal to the nation and the world that something wasn’t quite right with the country. This was, moreover, a political attack. “As such,” the liberal journalist Glenn Greenwald wrote a month later, “it should not be controversial to regard it as a dangerous episode.” The louts who had tried to seize Vice President Pence, who was overseeing the Congressional work, and disrupt the proceedings had thereby also soiled the word “patriotic,” a sentiment the country needed more than ever as a unifying force.
The attackers did something else that was shameful: they made it harder for political leaders to be frank about the Black Lives Matter organizations and their leaders, Marxist groups that do not want just to defund the police and empty the prison system, as bad as these things already are, but seek to dismantle “the organizing principles of society.” The attackers validated the liberal axiom that “right-wing” militancy was a much greater threat than the left-wing version. This reflexive but false belief had been used again and again over the previous seven years to prevent any reasonable discussion over where the BLM organizations wanted to take America.
As it was, politicians had already found it impossible to criticize Black Lives Matter because the concept that black lives matter is so unimpeachable. Who could be against black lives mattering? Rancid racists do exist and always will, but Americans by and large do want social justice and equality among the races. This is indeed the reason why the BLM organizations, which are committed to radically changing the way of life of the freest, most prosperous society on earth, use the BLM label. Red Ideas Matter, or Dismantling the Family Matters—though much truer representations of organizations that advocate policy recommendations that make it harder for all individuals to succeed, and thus close racial gaps—wouldn’t have worked as labels.