KITES CAN'T FLY  

You don’t get to be anti-murder but pro-stabbing

It’s been a few days since terrorists stormed the US Capitol building but it’s hard to believe it’s over. And there’s good reason for that. Rusty Foster argued as much in her excellent newsletter Today in Tabs:

My advice is: prepare yourself. This isn’t over. Democracy didn’t win yesterday. A mob interrupted the transfer of political power, made a lot of social media content, then went home with no consequences. After the mob voluntarily released the Capitol back to the legitimate government, over 50% of the Republican House delegation voted in support of their goals. Trump still occupies the White House. The House and Senate have adjourned until after the inauguration. This isn’t over.

Everything that happened in the Capitol sticks in your mind but this is what I keep coming back to:

After the mob voluntarily released the Capitol back to the legitimate government, over 50% of the Republican House delegation voted in support of their goals.

That’s incredible. People will (disingenuously) try and argue that Republicans did it the right way — by voting. But, the reality is, political leaders have systematically undermined democratic processes, turned rival politicians (and the system itself) into enemies to be destroyed, and let loose with countless dog whistles to wink-wink-nudge-nudge get violent.1

The state has long held a monopoly on violence through things like the police and the military. Republicans have torn down the state and, rhetorically speaking, claimed the power of violence itself. It’s no wonder that it was then turned onto the physical manifestation of the state. Violence is justified in retrospect: a successful rebellion turns its perpetrators into heroic freedom fighters.2 They only become terrorists in defeat. You can’t disavow them while also supporting their goals.

You don’t get to be anti-murder but pro-stabbing.


  1. And that’s ignoring the fact that Trump himself literally tear-gassed innocent people for a photo op and threaten Black Lives Matter protesters with violence. 

  2. Paraphrasing my intelligent and insightful partner here.