We Are Witnessing An Ongoing Insurrection: January 2023 at the Capitol Is An Extension of January 2021 at the Capitol
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Seth Abramson

Journalist | Attorney | Author

We Are Witnessing An Ongoing Insurrection: January 2023 at the Capitol Is An Extension of January 2021 at the Capitol

The 20 MAGAs seeking to keep the House from functioning on January 3-4, 2023 are—almost to a one—insurrectionists. Many of them helped plan the attack on the U.S. Capitol two years ago.

That’s right: these people were insurrectionists the last time a Congress unsuccessfully tried to begin its constitutional business—January 6, 2021—and they are insurrectionists now.

What is happening right now in the House of Representatives is a continuation of the MAGA insurrection that aims to permanently destroy American democracy.

Just because there are no tear gas canisters present at the Capitol today does not mean that what is happening here is not part of an ongoing insurrection.

When far-right radicals who are simultaneously nihilists and pro-authoritarian seek to ensure that American democracy cannot function unless and until it is headed by an active insurrectionist like Andy Biggs or Jim Jordan—two men who should have been indicted by the Department of Justice long ago—it is simply an insurrection by other means: administrative means rather than paramilitary ones.

I fear that too many Americans, including Democratic officials in Washington today, do not understand that the events we are seeing on our television sets right now are just as historic—if slightly less dramatic—as the events we saw two years ago in the same building. Since the Civil War, there has been only one floor fight in the House for Speaker of the House.

This is the second, and the first in 100 years.

By the same token, when D.C. came under threat in January 2021, it was the first time that had happened (even distantly) since the Civil War. The impetus in both cases was the same: to destroy American democracy.

While the floor fight in 1923 was not an attempt to destroy American democracy, all of the floor fights before it certainly threatened to decimate our Union. The same would be true if either Andy Biggs or Jim Jordan were to become Speaker of the House.

I urge everyone watching events in Washington right now to understand that the Trumpist insurrection was never going to be exclusively paramilitary in nature. It has had, has now, and will always have administrative components that play out in bizarre melodramas like we are seeing in Washington right now.

For this reason, the current iteration of the MAGA insurrection in 2023 must be fought with the same courage and steadfastness as the launch of that insurrection was combatted in 2021. There can be no agreeing to adjournment of the House to have dinner with your family; there can be no comity with insurrectionists. If Democrats do not understand that they are fighting and insurrection today, they will not understand that they will still be fighting one tomorrow. If they do not understand the threat right now, they will not understand the myriad ways in which that threat is ongoing and perhaps even growing.

Let us all pray that everyone in Washington fully understands the stakes of what is happening right now.

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