by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In my office, I keep a copy of the front page of the Wall Street Journal from Jan. 6, 2021. “MOB STORMS CAPITOL,” blares the headline over a large photo of people scaling a wall outside the U.S. Capitol. Under it are photos of a man in a hoodie sitting at the head of the U.S. Senate chamber and police officers pointing their guns at a mob trying to get into the House chamber.
I keep the paper because, like most Americans, I was shocked and disturbed by the events of Jan. 6. The day seemed, and still seems, historic. Not, as the corporate press and Democratic leaders would have us believe, historic like the torching of the U.S. Capitol by the British in 1814, or like 9/11.
But there was nevertheless something jarring about Jan. 6 that set it apart from the much more violent and widespread Black Lives Matter riots that raged throughout the summer and fall of 2020. It wasn’t just because a mob broke into the U.S. Capitol, of all places, but because it was a kind of culmination. We had all watched violent mobs riot and burn our cities and neighborhoods for months on end, while elected leaders, most of them Democrats, did nothing (and in some cases actively encouraged the mobs).
So Jan. 6 felt like a reaping — as if this is what inevitably happens when a society lets violent mobs run roughshod through cities and towns, and does nothing. Eventually, ordinary people get the idea that it’s okay to air their political grievances that way, and they act accordingly.
The problem is, political violence is incompatible with a constitutional republic like ours. It cannot be tolerated.