The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Inauguration Day

There will undoubtedly be protests as Joe Biden is sworn in as President of the United States on January 20th. There may also be violence perpetrated by right-wing crazies. It would be far better if none of that happened, but in all likelihood, it will.

Let's imagine that the worst occurs in Washington, D.C.  on Inauguration Day and right-wing riots occur, the police are attacked, people are injured, some violence and destruction happens. As this occurs, thousands of supporters of the outgoing president conduct "mostly peaceful protests," but are overshadowed by the extremist rioters. Imagine that 214 of those rioters are arrested for felony rioting and face charges of up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine. 

In our imaginary scenario, CNN reports that "“The indictment accuses the defendants of using a tactic called ‘Black Bloc’ in which people conceal their identities with dark or black clothing and accessories such as scarves, sunglasses, helmets, and masks,”

And then ... imagine that in the months that follow, not a single person who was arrested for rioting during the Inauguration of a new President is tried or convicted or punished in any way. In fact, imagine that the AP reports “[The effort to free the rioters] saw the government facing off against an intensely coordinated grassroots political opposition network that made Washington the focus of a nationwide support campaign offering free lodging for defendants, legal coordination, and other support.” 

How do you think the four constituencies would react? Would there be outrage that violent protesters were not punished? Would the media gloss over the lack of convictions and accountability? Would the people who provided  "free lodging for defendants, legal coordination, and other support, be given a fee pass, or would they be condemned? 

By now, you may have guessed that our imaginary scenario actually happened in 2017; the events described did occur on the day that Donald Trump was sworn in. The quotes attributed to major news organizations are real (CNN, AP), and the end result was no penalties or jail time for anyone involved.

Of course, the rioters in question were from left-wing groups like antifa and BLM and were protesting the election of Donald Trump.

Before you begin saying that this is "whataboutism," it's worth noting that although the media did report the rioting on Inauguration Day in 2017, it was attributed to the danger posed by Trump, suggesting, not so subtly, that the rioters were justified in their concern. and implying that their intentions were pure. 

That shouldn't have happened in 2017 and it's a slam dunk guarantee that it won't happen in 2021. Two sets of standards and two sets of rules. It's the new normal.