For many this has been a week of recovery from and of reacting to the shock of the invasion of the Capitol last Wednesday (January 6th). It could hardly be otherwise. For law enforcement personnel in Washington and certainly for the federal Representatives and Senators, it was a necessary ordeal.
Since then many in the FBI, in the National Guard, and in local police forces in Washington and in state capitals have been intensely preparing for some kind of domestic terrorism related to the inauguration of Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris. In the nation’s capitol they also must factor in possible challenges with Donald Trump’s scene stealing departure now thoughtfully scheduled just before the inauguration ceremony.
An observer from Mars might suspect that those preparations demonstrate an overreaction to any possible repetition of the violent invasion of last Wednesday. It hardly seems likely that there will be a need for twenty five thousand troops plus enhanced police protection. The level of overreaction probably does accurately reflect the shock rendered by last week’s unprecedented violent uprising.
Many of the leading invaders from last Wednesday are now safely under arrest. That was possible because they made no attempt to hide their identity. They certainly made no effort to avoid being filmed or photographed. The much publicized arrests of last week’s invaders will certainly give any remaining “terrorists” real pause about doing it again.
It will also this time be much more difficult even to get to Washington or to get near the Capitol. Plane flights to Washington are being monitored and suspicious appearing travelers not allowed on flights (showing up at the airport wearing buffalo horns is not recommended). Air B & B’s are closed down. Probably most hotels and motels in the Washington area will be closed for anyone who appears faintly warrior like.
Those naive small town and rural invaders of last Wednesday have to be living in shock too. Their invasion was an adult (read adolescent) attack against an institution that the attackers really didn’t understand. They thought, particularly when no one really fought back, that they could win! The election would be reversed, Donald Trump would emerge victorious, and they would be welcomed as conquering heroes who had righted a great wrong.
It was true that Joseph Biden had won the election by a fairly wide margin but the invaders didn’t know that. Many of them believed that the election had been stolen because Donald Trump had told them that it was. There was no reason to hide their faces. They were righting a great wrong. Trump would emerge triumphant and the country would thank them.
It is true that many of those who invaded last Wednesday were true believers but by now many will have to recognize that they believed in error. They are more apt to be hunted down than greeted as conquering heroes. Many who had milled around outside will begin to suspect that their most violent “leaders” were really criminals and that they are going to be found guilty by association.
Donald Trump was their anchor. He made what they were doing make sense. When on Wednesday Trump gets in that helicopter and flies away they will feel terribly abandoned. When Joseph Biden is sworn in it will be clear to even the most dedicated that the world has shifted beneath their feet. To attack Biden would now be treason.
Picture yourself back home after leaving frozen Washington, with the inaugural over, knowing that your hero, who has insisted he won, is now in Florida being greeted by cheers from his high paying guests in sunny Mar-A-Lago. He basks in glory while you, back in your small home town, wait for the knock on the door.
You and your fellow patriots are hardly conquering heroes even in your home town. You just want to forget the whole thing. And, Donald Trump does too. Surrounded by what appear to be worshipful admirers he will be drawn into his thicket of legal and financial problems. Without the constant low cost messaging available through his tweets, the connection with his followers will quickly fade.
What it really means is that, if we can get through the inauguration without tragedy, the great uprising of 2021 will begin to fade into history. For those directly involved in the invasion of the Capitol, the future may be grim. The empire will strike back! The short term is also going to be grim for many congressional Republicans. By voting to reject electors they knew were rightfully chosen, many of them have cast a pall over their entire future careers.
Every inauguration is a new beginning. Joseph Biden seems determined to start that new beginning by engaging the entire population in a kind of national rebirth of rational behavior. He tries to make it clear that everyone must be included. Donald Trump’s major mistake was to relate only to the fraction of the population that would allow him to go on acting as the country’s oldest child. There were no tweets for anyone else.
Donald Trump began his presidency with an inaugural speech highlighting American carnage. As he flies away on Wednesday, that carnage will be on display. He and his followers will have brought it to the American capital!
On Wednesday the real New Year will finally be here! We will have to begin again!