by ProfDave, ©2021
What really happened on 1/6/21 we will never know. Or rather, we all know different and opposite things. Democratic investigations will conclude one thing and Republican investigations another and no “independent” investigation will be trusted, even in the 23rd century – unless the Judge of All the Earth returns. So all we can do is compare the narratives, add them together and divide by two.
Narrative I – The Left
Beware, this is fictitious – I even made up a little myself
The Insurrection. The lame-duck president never did concede the election, continuing the false narrative that he had “won by a landslide” in complete denial of reality. Worse, he whipped up masses of fanatical supporters to believe his claims. When all else failed, Trump planned a three-fold insurrection. First, the battleground states would send anti-electors to Congress to attempt to certify Trump as the winner. Second, Vice President Pence would refuse to certify Democratic electors and award the election to Trump. Third, massive armed militias would assault the Capitol building and all fifty state capitals. Trump himself would lead the assault in Washington, DC. The plot failed. While the certification debate was taking place, Trump whipped up the mob, but Pence refused to cooperate and Trump disappeared. An armed mob assaulted the sacred precincts of the Capitol building, attempting to seize it, tear up the Constitution, and install him as dictator. Capitol security guards were killed and Congress forced to flee for the first time since 1812. Trump’s power base remains an existential threat to civil society and our sacred Constitution.
Narrative II – The Right
The Coup. At last it came down to Vice President Pence and the Republican Senators to disallow the fraudulent electoral votes on January 6. To protect the process and forestall leftist riots, Trump called for massive peaceful rallies of support in Washington, DC and state capitals. While he was still speaking to the crowd, organizing his demonstration and urging peaceful protest, professional rioters paid by Antifa mounted an attack of the Capitol, stopping the constitutional Republican objection by force. Pelosi and company immediately blamed Trump, feigned fear of “insurrection” and used exaggeration and outrage to demonize him, his peaceful demonstration, and anyone who had ever supported conservative values. Our people’s house was shut off from the public by walls and razor wire, like some banana republic. America will never be the same.
Narrative III – The Argentine Historian Will Surmise
The Capital Riot. Neither Trump nor Pelosi planned the riot. What happened January 6 belongs in the context of the pandemic-year demonstrations in Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis and other cities. Organized violent agitators joined masses of peaceful but angry demonstrators, using the demonstration as an opportunity for mayhem – attacking police, burning neighborhoods and looting stores. They were with the demonstrators, but not of them. The organizers of the one had no connection with the organizers of the other. Most of those present had nothing to do with violence, dispersing at dusk. So it was in Washington. Trump was still speaking at the Mall when the rioters, some distance away, began to force their way onto the Capitol grounds. One policeman had a heart attack; another shot an unarmed woman who refused to stop. State rallies failed to materialize on any scale. Who were the rioters? Some were right-wing extremists, some were overwrought Trump supporters swept up in the tide, some were just rioters for the sake of rioting. Agent provocateurs cannot be ruled out. None were listening to Trump’s instructions.
On the other hand, Trump’s behavior post-election was somewhat erratic. He seemed to be dazed and in denial. He was within the constitutional provisions for disputing elections. Whether they were wise or practical can be debated. He exhausted all the options, refusing to accept his defeat or to personally participate in transition. His course of whipping up masses of supporters was vintage Trump but certainly heightened tensions to the last. Exhilarated by the rally, he was slow to condemn the riot. However, it is not reasonable to think that he intended the violence that effectively devastated his cause. The mob was “armed” with only makeshift weapons, bats and hockey sticks – there were no fires or shooting as in other cities. If a coup were really planned by the President we would have seen tanks. Likewise, though Pelosi took full political advantage of the scene, it is unlikely that she planned it.
David W. Heughins (“ProfDave”) is Adjunct Professor of History at Nazarene Bible College. He holds a BA from Eastern Nazarene College and a PhD in history from the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Holiness in 12 Steps (2020). He is a Vietnam veteran and is retired, living with his daughter and three grandchildren in Connecticut.