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‘Drag ‘Em Out’

Subtitled clip from video of Trump backers' assault on Capitol (Washington Post)

Here is a video timeline put together by the Washington Post, explaining what happened at the siege of the Capitol. Even though we are ten days from that event, this still has the power to shock and appall:

It is horrifying that things have reached this point in the United States. Every single person identifiable in these videos needs to be jailed. They have brought everlasting shame on themselves and their cause. And so has Donald Trump. There is no going back from what happened there, on that day. It ought to sicken every patriotic American.

Here is Jenna Ryan, one of the Trumpists who invaded the Capitol. She flew to the rally from Texas in her private plane. She now has the gall to demand a presidential pardon. May the courts show this arrogant woman no mercy at her sentencing. I cannot believe they did this to our country. Our country!

UPDATE: This just in from a reader. I am keeping his name out for obvious reasons. He is going to serve his country, to protect the peaceful transfer of power, and his own family is turning on him:

As I’ve read your articles since the Capitol siege, I find myself echoing the voices of your other readers who have lost their families and friends to this right wing Q-anon / Trumpism garbage. I write to you after having a conversation with my dad and brother that has left me broken hearted. I’m a soldier in the National Guard and just found out I’m getting activated. I went over to my parents’ house to say goodbye, but got sucked into a political conversation by my dad and teenage brother. I try to avoid those conversations as much as I can, but felt like I had to speak some truth to combat the lies they believe. They think – contrary to the truth – that I’m getting called up because Trump is going to enact martial law and overturn the “fraudulent election.” I tried to communicate my understanding of the situation as best as I could: the FBI is tracking some threat from the right (who knows if that’s the real reason, I admit things seem off to me) and the National Guard is being mobilized to ensure a peaceful transition of power.

I also mentioned how, constitutionally, there is no way forward for Trump to win. It would be tyrannical for him to try to use military might to overthrow the results of an election that he has exhausted all lawful means of challenging to no avail. Was there fraud? Sure, probably a lot considering this was an almost entirely absentee election. Does that mean Trump is the winner? No. He had his chance in court, and he didn’t bring the goods. To this, my dad and brother accused me of being on the enemy’s side. That was their language. You must understand how painful this is to hear from my own family. I love my country. I joined the Guard because I care enough about the Constitution to put my life on the line to defend it from all enemies – foreign and domestic. In the eyes of my family, however, I’m no different than the communist regime they believe Joe Biden’s inauguration will welcome in.

The conversation with my dad ended there. He told me he was offended by me then went upstairs to his room. I never felt heard. I listened to my dad and brother repeat conspiracies about election fraud, all Trump supporters getting thrown in gulags, and the end of America. Don’t get me wrong, I think some of the things they fear are on the horizon actually are: the further censorship and marginalization of conservative and Christian voices by Big Tech and now the Democrat-controlled State, progressive wokeism continuing to put the US in a stranglehold, and more government corruption. But they think the solution is political. Specifically, the solution is Donald Trump seizing power and creating an American utopia. If he fails, America is doomed. There are no other options, in their view. For me to suggest, as I did, that the solution isn’t political – at least not in the long run – and that the culture war is essentially lost, puts me on the side of the enemy, according to them. It’s sad because I see where things are headed – and am worried about it – but by speaking what I believe to be the truth I am labeled a traitor.

I think I wanted to write this to you because I feel (almost) alone in what I see. I want my family to see what I see — that the only way forward is the Cross. Politics, violence, all of that will only further divide and wound our nation. But my voice is drowned out by this right wing mania that has overtaken my family. Ironically, the things they believe are coming – communism, gulags, civil war, etc. – may come as a self-fulfilling prophecy. If enough people on the right believe that the only path forward now that we’ve had (in their view) an illegitimate election is violence, they may end up attracting the heavy hand of government. I hope not, but I don’t know how else this ends.

He is not alone. Pray for him and the others who are protecting our democracy, even at the cost of their families turning their backs on them.

UPDATE.2: Take a look at this seven-minute interview with Leo Kelly, one of the men who breached the Capitol. It’s worth watching till the end:

He is obviously sincere. He says that he and his fellow mob members might have done something wrong, but he repeatedly asserts that they had no choice. Nobody would listen to them, he said — not Congress, not the judiciary, no one. And, he adds, Congress belongs to the people — meaning, him and his fellow insurrectionists.

The obvious response is that the system did listen to you all, but concluded that you were wrong. This is what is so unnerving about the Kelly video: little to no sense at all that they were bound by the law, and that they might have been mistaken in what they believed. The interview appears to have been recorded hours after the incursion. Several times Kelly says that they had no choice, that they were compelled by history to do what they did. He speaks about how he and others prayed in the Senate chamber. He clearly believes they were on a mission from God.

The damage Christians like him are doing to the church and its witness is hard to calculate. Nobody broke into the Capitol in protest of the legal killing of the unborn, or any other terrible thing happening in this country (and they should not have done that!). It was only out of outrage over Donald Trump that led them to break the law, and to commit a shameful crime without precedent in our history. Only for Trump.

Conservatives know — we must know — that when law and order breaks down, nothing good comes of it. Yet here these supposed conservatives were, attacking the core institution of American democracy, despite the fact that the system worked (even though it did not give them the outcome they wanted). In Georgia, enough of them listened to Trump and boycotted the Senate runoff that the Democratic Party will now control the Senate, and be able to give the new president whatever he wants. They might have engaged in mass peaceful protests, or might have redoubled their activism to recruit candidates and work within the system to see their views represented, and even prevail. But that’s not what they did, and as a result, they will have set off a massive suppression of right-of-center people and voices.

Note well that this man, Leo Kelly, for all his sincerity, dismisses everyone who does not take Trump’s side as somehow not “the people” — this, by saying that the Capitol belongs to “us”. The Capitol belongs to the American people, who are a nation of laws, not mob rule. Leo Kelly comes across as a sincere and decent Christian man, but he has given himself over to mob psychosis. And now, it will have consequences he will suffer for the rest of his life.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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