Is 1/6/2021 Really The Domestic 9/11/2001?

Is 1/6/2021 Really The Domestic 9/11/2001?




Leonard Zwelling

No, it’s not.

Many in the mainstream media and our own Vice President are equating what happened on Capitol Hill last year to Pearl Harbor and 9/11. That is frankly ridiculous.

Both Pearl Harbor and the attacks of 9/11 came from outside the United States and were surprises, although maybe they shouldn’t have been. 1/6/21 was totally predictable, caused by domestic forces and may or may not have been a true insurrection. The truth about what happened a year ago, who is responsible, and whether there was inside help from Congress remains unknown. I also doubt the current Democrat-led House Select Committee will make a whole lot of headway unless they move with far more alacrity and finish before the mid-terms.

It may well have been a large fraternity prank gone amuck when the rush chairmen told the pledges to storm the dean’s office for the perpetrators of 1/6 look like a bunch of college freshmen pledges with too much energy, too little guidance and perhaps a little tipsy from 3.2 beer.

Note too that none of the people that invaded Capitol Hill that day has been charged with sedition or insurrection until yesterday when Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes was charged with seditious conspiracy. Mostly they have been charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct and other acts of violence. That being said, seven people did die that day and four other officers committed suicide in the wake of 1/6. It was not a harmless fraternity prank, it was a mob riot that went way off the rails, promulgated by a renegade sore loser in the White House who even when begged by his culpable colleagues and daughter wouldn’t call off the dogs.

How 1/6 really is like both Pearl Harbor and 9/11 is that it is a warning. There is danger. In the case of Pearl Harbor and 9/11, that danger was coming at us from without. In this case, we are the danger. Our complacent politicians, particularly those in the Republican Party who insist on bowing to Donald Trump, have unleashed a fury of white rage (and make no mistake, a lot of this is about race, immigration and the death of blue-collar America). The only cure for this disease is prevention by teaching reality in the school classroom and properly putting history in its proper context. That is neither the white-washed version of our Founding Fathers, the slave owners, nor the 1619 Project’s view that all American history emanates from the docking of the first slave ship in Virginia. It’s way more complicated than that.

I think what the country is suffering from the most is the need to reduce all problems to simple solutions when whether it is race, Covid, or the economy, the solutions to our ills are not simple.

That being said, let’s not nullify the progress that has been made.

Life for Black Americans is far better than it was when I was growing up. For goodness sake, when I was a boy you could barely see a Black face on television. Now, two of the three anchors on the CBS Morning Show are Black and so is NBC’s lead newscaster Lester Holt. Progress has not been fast enough, but it has also not been at a standstill. We are moving forward. The same is true for Asian Americans, Latinx Americans and women. Are we there yet? Heck, no. Are we way better? We are.

Hopefully, the mob on Capitol Hill is the last scream of white dominance as it fades away into history. Will we have another 1/6? We might. The only way to prevent it is if the state legislatures around the country stop their headlong dash to try to undermine the Electoral College by forming their own set of rules that might negate a legitimate election. The same is true of the judiciary.

Mr. Trump thinks that if he can get enough of his minions in positions of power in the states and on the bench, he can seize victory from the jaws of yet another popular election defeat. In essence, the truth of the matter is that the Republican Party has won the popular vote for President only once since 1988. Its current driving tenets are not those of what the GOP used to stand for like economic prosperity. Instead, the GOP has become the party of the outraged. That can stoke your energy for just so long and never constructively.

1/6 was no 9/11 and we are not going on a failed foreign expedition as we did after 9/11. Instead, 1/6 ought to be the wake-up call to Congress to begin to do its job and protect the democracy from the forces within that seek to undermine it.

Lots of Americans are caught up in American exceptionalism and the impossibility of our republic becoming a tin horn dictatorship. 1/6 should show everyone that it can happen here. And it’s up to all of us to make sure it doesn’t.

2 thoughts on “Is 1/6/2021 Really The Domestic 9/11/2001?”

  1. Good thoughts as always, Dr. Zwelling. I’m struck by how whatever I read, a news story or a blog post, the solutions invariably depend upon a well-educated populace capable of critical thinking. And it’s there where I despair. America has clearly succumbed to the temptation of “bread and circuses,” and at no worse time in her history.

    The Wall Street Journal had a good opinion piece today about bias on college campuses, speculating that within a generation or two, we’ll have basically bred critical thinking off campuses altogether, which will invariably spread into the populace at large. The only solace I found in the piece was the hope that America will retain enough of our original values to allow the “old” generations to disappear via attrition rather than through a Mao-style cultural revolution. When I observe the vitriol being spewed online and around the water cooler, however, I have my doubts. When we’re seriously debating denying medical care to the unvaccinated, for instance, and reveling in their deaths, we’ve made it clear we’ve learned nothing from history.

    A little optimism for your weekend! Thanks as always for your thought-provoking blog.

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