Pro-Democracy Demonstrators Jolt Russia While Insurrectionist Authoritarians Take to the Streets of the U.S.
We couldn’t help wonder what the Proud Boys, Oathkeepers and other right-wing militia groups are making of pro-democracy violence, mostly from anti-democratic police, in Moscow.
The inside-out juxtaposition of images of thousands in the streets trying to take down the Vladimir Putin government for jailing opponent Aleksei A. Navalny with the constant airing of Donald Trump-clad militants attacking the U.S. Capitol to overturn democratic elections is startling.
It makes you wonder who our domestic extremists find heroic in Russia or in Belarus in recent weeks or Hong Kong in months-long protests before that. We see masses of ordinary people willing to brave certain arrest and worse for the chance to vote and to escape the iron grasp of dictatorial governments.
And yet, our own domestic protesters-turned-insurrectionists claim such personal fealty to a dictatorial Donald Trump that they stormed our Capitol in the name of throwing out election results that were counted, recounted, audited, court-reviewed and certified multiple times.
Our FBI has deployed hundreds of agents who are finding explicitly that there is evidence of actual planning and coordination among groups like the Proud Boys and Oathkeepers leading to the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Federal prosecutors have charged two Proud Boys leaders for conspiracy to obstruct law enforcement. Lawmen indicated they are weighing more serious felony charges, including sedition, for a wide group. Moreover, while the FBI has followed right-wing extremism, The New York Times found that Trump’s efforts to focus on violence by leftist Antifa protesters diluted that effort.
The Jarring Images
We apparently face the prospects of actual Capitol insurgents throwing up their hands to say that they were simply following Trump’s inciting demands to pressure officials at all levels to keep him in office. Jacob Chansley—the notorious horned “QAnon Shaman” invader at the Capitol—has asked to testify against Trump at the impeachment trial, said the Daily Beast.
With sudden dismissal—and now replacement—of his impeachment trial legal team, we see Trump trying to turn away from the images of violence and wanting to argue anew that the election was stolen and proceedings are somehow unconstitutional even though the offenses and impeachment by the House of Representatives occurred during his days in office.
Trump appears as unrepentant today as he did in delaying the deployment of National Guard troops on Jan. 6 to defend democracy.
As president, Trump was hesitant to speak much about Hong Kong and Belarus. Clearly, while he has read a couple of statements about our riot, he has not taken responsibility for any role that he played.
Half of our country believes in the Trump cult. Obviously, a smaller number is willing to take up arms and go to the Capitol or statehouses and threaten lawmakers with kidnapping or death to promote Trump.
But let’s be clear. None of this is about assuring the popular vote or anything but the enshrining of Trump as an unelected monarch willing to repeat a Big Lie enough to brainwash his voters into believing that Trump won the election.
Washington vs. Moscow
A big difference we’re seeing on the streets of Moscow is that Putin would never have let the voting happen. He has shown instead that he would simply lock up his opponent (Where have we heard that one?) or poison them. There with nary a critical word from Trump.
Every Muscovite interviewed in American press reports is world-savvy and informed. That is an immediate difference from domestic militia members who have chosen to be brainwashed by propaganda.
There is no election pending in Russia now yet Putin has dispatched his most unforgiving troops across the city to beat and imprison those who rise against him.
So, I’m wondering:
- Do our right-wing militia members seeing those images from Moscow find any irony in their putative roles in trying to overturn democracy?
- Are they citizens rising up against an authoritarian government or the thugs seeking to defend the status quo?
- Is democracy a concern at all?
Featured image: Russians protest in Moscow. (AP)