Fighting the lies behind the January 6th mob
One year ago a mob of Americans attacked their own country. Our country. People died. Others had life-changing injuries. Others lost their jobs, families, lives and may spend years in prison.
Individually, most members of this violent mob were not rule-breakers, they were followers. Individually many have only been charged with misdemeanors. Studies showed that individually, they were less likely to have a history of violence than those who did not try to overthrow our democracy.
What went wrong? Their unquestioning loyalty was focused on a deeply flawed leader. The biblical books of Kings and Judges gives many examples of this happening over and over again across generations. Followers are necessary to glue society together. Bosses like them. These “yes men” keep businesses running smoothly.
But we also need people who question authority and stop us when we veer into extremism and cults. Before Apple became the safe and boring choice for Walmart customers, hipsters and big business, an Apple advertisement once celebrated these people:
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” — Steve Jobs, 1997
Most misfits understand that we need people who fit into the crowd. But people who fit too well fear change. They fear misfits even more so they attack them. Listen to far-right radio and TV. Do you know anyone who is liberal, democrat, LGBTQ+, ally, supporter of black lives, woman, minority, person with a disability, scientist, doctor, expert, artist, immigrant, poor, round-peg-in-square-hole, misfit? Listen to how often we are attacked and slandered by these powerful propagandists.
They are dividing us. They are telling you that we are a threat to you. But their lies are the biggest threat to all of us.
Our democracy is still reeling from the lies spread by a would-be dictator and his supporters. An estimated 20 million Americans still believe these lies and also believe violence may be necessary.
But there are still heroes out there. Officer Goodman redirected the mob and almost certainly saved congressional members and Mike Pence from being killed by this angry mob.
After they beat and nearly crushed another police officer to death he had this to say:
“If it wasn’t my job I would do it for free. It was absolutely my pleasure to crush a white nationalist insurrection… And we’ll do it as many times as it takes.”