By Tom Squitieri, Talk Media News
WASHINGTON — Gloomy skies will not go away. No reason for them to do so. The forecast: thunder, fury, with continual dangerous absurdity and the nation’s most perilous moment in decades.
You move and feel it. An invisible shroud of dampness, rawness, as if the trash has not been collected for weeks and all was left open. Slowly the senses tell the gut-check mind that the dust in the distance could be the maelstrom of maniacs intent of declaring their destruction and victory over democracy.
Americans have been fooled and become tools. As the understaffed Washington, D.C. police attempts to construct a pro-active plan to handle expected violence over January 6, questions remain whether the force and the city’s political leaders have the stomach, ability, and fortitude to do what they did not do before: stop the enemy.
All Tuesday and through the night, they are flowing in on buses and cars, coming with an apocalyptic mindset, stirred and fueled by President Trump. He urged them, cajoled to come and go “wild” and called out anyone who failed to follow his Pied Pipering. So they come to their Hamlin, believing when they leave Joe Biden will have conceded the election and Trump will remain president.
Some plan to disrupt, protest, shout, and get back on the buses. A day trip to talk about later during unmasked winter socializing. But not those who are here already, who on Tuesday night scoped out police positions, noted road closings, appeared to follow what alt-right sites called “Trump maps” to find the best ways in, about, around, and out of the city. those most likely to bring guns and plans to roam and seek confrontations, as they did in December.
Goaded by their sharpie Caesar, they come to Washington to bury democracy, not praise it. “The final stand,” as some alt-right sites are screaming.
‘What many of you are witnessing is history,” one host on an alt-right webcast said Sunday as he urged viewers to come to DC. “I think January 6 is going to go down in history as one of the most important dates in our country’s history.”
He of course is not attending, noting he has his Scranton, Pennsylvania, real estate business to tend.
January 6 is the day when a joint session of Congress convenes for the formality of hearing the count of the Electoral College that officially confirms the next president of the United States. That will be Joe Biden.
Yet that formality is under assault by those mesmerized by the president, twisted into scenarios where laws will be flounted, broken, and discarded to declare Trump the winner.
The assortment of anti-democracy groups and MAGA gunsels will be joined by a smaller but equally vehement contingent who oppose Trump. They are equally determined to follow a similar course of rampage, confrontation, and destruction. It is Baijiu mixing with a Moscow Mule and few heads will think clearly.
Trump’s unfounded claims that the election was somehow stolen from him have failed in dozens of lawsuits in all levels of courts, including the Supreme Court, with three justices he appointed. Republican election officials in swing states have spurned his allegations as hollow. Trump’s own attorney general, William Barr, said there was no widespread fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election.
If Tuesday’s warmup rally is a preview of the level of discourse to expect Wednesday, it will not be complicated to decipher.
A rally at Freedom Plaza opened with one speaker shouting “F—K ANTIFA” for several minutes, long attacks on George Soros, unspecified links to Hugo Chavez and U.S. democracy, and lots of COVID-19 deniers — “Who here is up to the task of not wearing a mask? … Jesus is king and it’s time to let freedom ring” — one speaker goaded, as he gave website directions for anti-COVID wonder drugs and urged the crowd to hug each other.
Washington’s entire police force is mobilized, augmented by a call up of National Guard troops.
Some DC hotels and establishments that were focal points of the pro-Trump marauders closed for the days abutting January 6. They were stone cold silent Tuesday, the shroud’s smell infused with that of freshly erected protective wood over storefronts.
That prime hotel that served as de facto headquarters, located one long block from the Trump International Hotel, returned the reservation depots of the gunsels. Despite pleas from the MAGA rank and file, the Trump Hotel chose not to offer rooms.
That forced the gunsels to find rooms in Virginia — which would give DC police the chance to establish if those entering the city are carrying firearms, a violation of the city’s strict gun laws.
District law is clear: it is illegal to open carry firearms in the District. The law also prohibits anyone from carrying a firearm within 1,000 feet of any First Amendment activity. Under federal law, it is illegal to possess firearms on the US Capitol grounds and on National Park Service areas, such as Freedom Plaza, the Ellipse, and the National Mall — all sites where permits have been issued for Wednesday gatherings.
Additionally, the District of Columbia does not have reciprocity with other states’ concealed pistol licenses; unless a person has been issued a concealed pistol license by the District of Columbia, they cannot conceal carry a firearm in the city.
If bluster on alt-right sites is to be believed, many plan to openly carry weapons for Wednesday’s events, which includes clamor to close down Congress so members cannot attend the Electoral College vote.
Some of the anti-democratic protestors have threatened to block entrances to the Capitol and create mayhem on the Capitol grounds. Enforcing that peace there is the responsibility of the U.S. Capitol Police, an entity often criticized for being overly political and under-trained for duties beyond ticketing and holding doors open for elected officials.
One pro-Trump group said it will not wear its trademark yellow-and-black clothing this time: They say they plan to “be incognito and…will spread across downtown DC in smaller teams.” A dark descent of a night looms.
The House of Representatives’ sergeant-at-arms is urging lawmakers attending the January 6 Electoral College count to use the underground tunnels, avoid the streets and arrive at the Capitol as early as 9 a.m. to avoid trouble. The joint session is to begin at 1 p.m.
History books say the last time an enemy invading Washington DC was 1814, when the British came, burned the White House and other buildings, and declared victory while hoisting grog.
Less than a day after the British attack began, a sudden, very heavy thunderstorm put out the fires. That occupation of Washington lasted for about 26 hours and one of the last acts of the British commander, Rear Admiral Cockburn, was to order his troops to tear the building housing D.C.’s leading newspaper down brick by brick because its reporters had written so negatively about him. They branded him “The Ruffian” and Cockburn insisted there would be no more fake news from them by destroying the”C” type “so that the rascals can have no further means of abusing my name.”
That invasion could indeed be displaced as the last invasion of the capital by the “big stuff” vowed by a more dangerous enemy — that which America’s adversaries have prayed for — the enemy from within.
They will trample and shout and espouse patriotism in the same areas as the British did in 1814 — Pennsylvania Avenue, the U.S. Capitol, the grounds and parks around the White House — secure in their minds they are supported by the president. He has promised to nod their way in some manner.
The sear from their fires of being fooled, fanned, and fueled by those who took an oath to protect the Constitution is certain to cause longer damage to democracy than the flames lit by the British.