MAGA Preparing Encore Performance Of January 6 Capitol Riot
Insurrection-friendly rightwingers are planning a "Justice for J6" event on September 18, a week after the 20th anniversary of 9/11. “J6" isn't an unfairly maligned boy band, but the date — January 6 — that a violent mob stormed the US Capitol at the behest of Donald Trump, who is still at large and still somehow a serious contender in the 2024 presidential race.
The pro-coup rally will take place at the scene of the original crime, the Capitol grounds, and support the jailed insurrection suspects. Repulsively, the rally will supposedly honor the victims of 9/11, another dark day for America. We're not sure you can simultaneously support and oppose terrorist attacks, but “J6" is probably an overall “we don't like brown people" rally so that might track.
So far, hundreds of Trump's supporters have been arrested for breaking into the Capitol on January 6 and, in many cases, later bragging about it on social media like morons. A growing rightwing narrative has emerged that these criminal suspects are actually “political prisoners," because apparently breaking and entering and aggravated assault are partisan issues. White supremacist personality Tucker Carlson and even some Republican members of Congress, who are not any more reputable, have promoted this lunacy. Back in April, Carlson wondered why January 6 suspects were still in prison while “murderers walked free." (No, he's not talking about the cops who killed Tamir Rice or Terence Crutcher.) Last year, Carlson denounced celebrities who contributed to bail funds for people arrested during racial justice protests. None of whom were charged with murder or attempting to violently overturn an election.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn from North Carolina has called the MAGA mob members “political hostages." Cawthorn apparently doesn't know how hostage situations work, because no one at the Department of Justice has sent him someone's ear with a letter demanding several million dollars in untraceable bills.
"The big problem is, we don't actually know where all the political prisoners are," continued Cawthorn. "So if we were to actually be able to go and try and bust them out — and let me tell you, the reason why they're taking these political prisoners is because they're trying to make an example," he said, cutting himself off.
Yikes! Republicans in 2019 claimed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was radical because she thought we should address the climate crisis that would later flood her city. Cawthorn has only served in Congress for a few months but that's usually long enough to know that busting domestic terror suspects out of prison is illegal. This is why you shouldn't skip orientation.
The "Justice for J6" event has not very subtle ties to the twice-impeached thug. Trump's former campaign operative Matt Braynard founded and oversees Look Ahead America, the nonprofit (on purpose, unlike other Trump-related enterprises) that planned the event.
Braynard's followers believe many of the more than 570 people who have been charged with federal crimes in the attack were nonviolent and "reasonably believed they had permission" to enter the Capitol, according to a Jan. 29 letter Braynard sent to the Department of Justice and FBI. Braynard's letter demands prosecutors drop all charges.
The Big Lie is inherently reality refuting, but anyone who believes the January 6 attack was nonviolent probably also consumes horse paste over the counter. You can't reasonably you have permission to enter a building where you're climbing through broken windows and cops are ordering you to stand down.
Not to keep abusing Godwin, but the Big Lie has metastasized into a homegrown “stab-in-the-back myth." The Nazis grotesquely claimed that Germany didn't actually lose World War I but instead the nation was betrayed by a weak, disloyal citizenry and, of course, Jews. This lie became the “official history" of the 1920s as the Nazis accused the previous government of betraying the German people in order to seize power. This is not a roadmap to peace but Republicans are nonetheless following it to the letter.
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said Monday that law enforcement should take the possibility of further violence at the "Justice for J6" rally “very seriously."
"In fact, they should take it more seriously than they took the same sort of intelligence that they likely saw on January 5," McCabe, a CNN contributor, told CNN's Poppy Harlow on "Erin Burnett OutFront."
A disproportionate number of former and active-duty law enforcement were on the wrong side of the January 6 mob, so law enforcement clearly does take the Big Lie seriously. They're just more pro-coup than we'd prefer.
The “political prisoners" are arguably small fish. The problem is that the ringleaders behind the insurrection and attempted coup, which is arguably ongoing, went unpunished. The big fish need to fry or otherwise January 6 is destined to repeat itself.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."