Breakfast with Bwana
As horrific as the assault on the Capitol was, the transition from January 6 to January 7 was indeed a celebration of Democracy Day
By Anil Madan
June 6, 1944, known forever as D-Day lives in our memories. Whether the “D” meant something specific or was just a letter identifier is debated. Doom, Deliverance, Debarkation, or simply just a day.
The hours that spanned January 6-7, 2021, made for a D-Day of another sort, Democracy Day in my estimation.
World leaders condemn ‘assault on democracy’ at US Capitol.
Photo – Associated Press
I have heard the laments from the left-wing media. I have heard the sobs from the right-wing media. I have even heard the apologists for Trump — yes, there are still many. And I have heard the gloating, the rejoicing, and the condemnation from overseas.
I have heard the cries of shame from the Black Lives Matter (BLM) sympathizers and apologists who want to tell us that America is a racist nation and that the rioters would have been treated differently had they been Black.
One email from a friend in India stated: “No longer the global cop, USA has lost all right to preach, criticize or condemn developing countries on their performance or record of civilized behaviour after the heavily armed racist goons attacked and rampaged its Senate building yesterday. Enough! Yes, the world has had enough of US pronouncements and judgements on all other countries after the rowdy mob rioted, hit and even killed one in the hallowed halls of this so-called shrine of democracy.”
I beg to differ. As the Chinese Communist Party has arrested the entire Democratic opposition, this is precisely the argument we hear from them, that other countries should not criticize how China handles its internal affairs. Never mind that human rights abuses anywhere are properly the concern of all the world.
Many well paid “contributors” (a loose term) to cable networks have told us that if the rioters had been Black, the response would have been different.
I beg to differ.
The Washington, D.C. police were commanded by a Black Mayor which makes it foolish to argue that she directed her police force to treat white rioters more leniently than they would Black rioters. The truth is that the capital city was unprepared because the Mayor did not want to call in armed National Guard units in advance of the Trump rally. And, by the way, the National Guard would have been under Trump’s control. The result was that the Capitol police were undermanned because they are a small force in a country that does not expect assaults on the citadel of democracy.
A letter from the Mayor seven days earlier on New Year’s Eve stated “No DC National Guard (DCNG) personnel shall be armed during this mission, and at no time, will DCNG personnel or assets be engaged in domestic surveillance, searches, or seizures of US persons,” and DC Police Chief Robert Contee told reporters on Monday that the National Guard will assist with “crowd management” and traffic control, freeing the city’s police officers to focus on potential acts of violence and other security issues.
A memorandum from the Office of the Secretary of Defense documents the timeline for the events of December 31 to January 6. One is left with the impression that senior people certainly anticipated the need for National Guard support. Why troops were not on standby in the immediate vicinity is a question to be answered by those in charge. That is a subject for another discussion.
The truth of the matter is that America’s Democracy shone through the darkness of the assault instigated by a sitting President. Make no mistake. Donald Trump really believed that there was a chance, however small, that his mob of supporters might persuade, intimidate or coerce Vice President Pence into refusing to accept the certified Electoral College results and somehow find a way to relegate the decision to the House where the states, each voting as one delegation with a Republican majority, might swing the election to him.
He was wrong. He failed.
It was an institutional triumph for America’s system of checks and balances and the core belief in American Democracy.
For all those who want to lecture America, remember that this is not the land in which Bashar al-Assad, Mohammed Bin Salman, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Recep Tayyeb Erdogan, Jair Bolsanaro, Vladimir Putin, Xi JinPing, Kim Jong Un, Alexander Lukashenko, Nicolás Maduro, or any of a hundred other tinpot despots have prevailed.
I salute Vice President Pence and Senate Leader McConnell (and his wife Elaine Chao who resigned from the Cabinet) for their principled stance.
I condemn Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, and any number of similar low-life cohorts who desecrated the essence of everything for which this nation stands.
But make no mistake, as horrific as the assault on the Capitol was, the transition from January 6 to January 7 was indeed a celebration of Democracy Day.
Vive la République !
If we can keep it.
* Published in print edition on 12 January 2021