What happened on Jan. 6 in Washington was a riot and is rightly being called such by media and politicians. Calling what took place an insurrection, however, is an escalation in terms that isn’t accurate or warranted. Are we going to charge all of the rioters with sedition or treason? I’m not sure we should.
We do have to be honest. Corporate media did not classify the severe rioting perpetuated by leftist extremists in 2020 as insurrections or even riots. They were called “violent protests” or, more often, simply “protests.” Indeed, Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris bailed out rioters.
The left-wing-dominated legacy media called the left-wing riots uprisings, protests, violent protests, civil unrest, racial unrest, and “America’s racial reckoning.” In sum, it called those riots just about everything but riots.
When right-wing rioters do things similar to what left-wing rioters do, we call the actions riots (as we should). Although it seems fair to argue that rioters vandalizing the U.S. Capitol building was a graver act than rioters storming federal courthouses in Oregon, however, the difference is one of degree and not a morally relevant distinction.
Furthermore, while one could argue the Jan. 6 riots were worse than any of the riots in any single city in America in 2020, they were not as bad as the riots in Newark or Detroit in 1967, which are often lionized and “justified” by the far left, and sometimes even the mainstream left.
As a left-liberal myself, I have often been struck by the double standard many other leftists apply to violence that should be called rioting. The rioting that they agree with, they attempt to justify as an “uprising” against social injustice, regardless of who gets hurt, like the Newark riots, the Detroit riots, or the Stonewall riots.
President Obama normalized the Stonewall riots but is outraged by these riots in Washington. That is at least inconsistent, if not hypocritical.
I am tired of left-wing academics justifying leftist violence as if one’s motives justify one’s violence. That is not what real liberalism is about. The ends do not justify the means. So, while progressive rioters may (and I stress may) have better motives than conservative rioters, the intent does not matter. Rioting is still rioting and violence against property and people is utterly unacceptable regardless of the cause or motivations behind the perpetrators of such crimes.
When my side, the left, does not condemn property crimes in the course of rioting and looting — like when statues of Columbus are desecrated while the police do nothing — but condemn property crimes in the Capitol, it reeks of hypocrisy. The progressive left, of which I am not a part, seems to be openly hypocritical about using the levers of power.
When the constituencies of the far-left coalition riot and do violence, it is called social justice. Now, while I believe in social justice, violence such as this is never justified. Then when anyone who is not part of the progressive coalition riot or do any kind of violence, however small, the media and academia, controlled entirely by progressives, suddenly pretend to care about the rule of law.
The riots in Washington are every bit as bad, if not worse, than most leftists say — that’s not the problem. While I would not use the word insurrection in the case of what took place on Jan. 6, where the media uses uprising for left-wing riots, these riots were as awful as we all think they are. The larger problem, however, is that the left-wing riots last year, were, if we add them all up, actually worse than the riots in Washington, except for the symbolism of the Capitol being stormed.
We cannot rightly condemn only some riots. Although the media is correct to condemn the riots and the president for unlawfully inciting them, we need to also call out left-wing riots of the recent past and in the near future and the politicians and celebrities who unlawfully encourage those.