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America's Reichstag Moment

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Why was the January 6th riot allowed to happen in the first place?

The Nazi party used two events to cement its political power prior to World War II. One was the killing of Ernest vom Rath by Herschel Grynszpan in Paris in November 1938. The murder was quickly adapted by the Nazi leadership into a pretext for the Kristallnacht attack on German Jews. Hundreds of synagogues were destroyed by brown shirts (and not the angered populace as Goebbels claimed) as were thousands of Jewish businesses. The murder of von Rath led to the death of nearly 100 Jews and the internment of thousands more. The Nazi party used the attack as a means to demonize the Jews of Germany, and many believe that the weak international response was seen by the Nazis as a green light for the Final Solution. My father’s apartment was above the synagogue in the town of Forchheim in November 1938. Their place, along with the synagogue, was dynamited. He was 12 years old at the time and spent the night with his mother in jail, while his father was marched off to Dachau the next morning. My grandfather came home at the end of 1938, and the Bauers got out of Germany two weeks before the start of World War II. I still have my grandfather’s World War I Iron Cross that got him out of the concentration camp.


The other event the Nazis used to consolidate their power was the burning of the Reichstag in 1933. While generations assumed that the Nazis themselves burned the building down, it would appear that a communist arsonist was the one actually behind the destruction. Seizing on the burning of Germany’s parliament, Hitler banned all other political parties and imprisoned numerous communists and other enemies of the Nazi party. Seventy years before we heard it said by Rahm Emanuel, the Nazis understood that one should not let a crisis go to waste.

Let’s fast-forward to the events of January 6th, 2021. Even with the release of 40,000 hours of video from the day, there are many things that we do not know. It has been reported that President Trump suggested that the National Guard be stationed near the Capital because of his planned rally; this request was not acted upon or may have been actively turned down by Nancy Pelosi. The Capitol police, according to the recent interview of former Capitol police officer, Lt. Tarik Johnson by Tucker Carlson, was not briefed or prepared for what was obvious to all: Trump supporters in a nearby rally were going to come towards the Capitol. Then there were those in the crowd who were working for the Federal authorities—who were they, how many were there, what were their tasks that day? And why in some cases did the Capitol police open doors for protesters and even escort them into the Capitol? There is no question that there were violent confrontations outside the building and gratuitous damage inside, but again, why were the protesters allowed to get close to and ultimately into the Capitol building?


While we lack answers to the questions above, and the Select Committee of Democrats and supposed Republicans never looked into them or the killing of Ashli Babbitt, there is one point raised in the recent interview of Mr. Johnson that needs addressing. Lt. Johnson made his way to the Senate chamber when Trump supporters began entering the Capitol. As the situation escalated, he asked dispatch for permission to move the senators out of their chamber. Dispatch passed along his request several times, but he says that he was never given a response. Now, in an unfolding chaotic situation, there may simply have been nobody to answer him or to address his question. But still, it would seem odd that Capitol police leadership did not encourage the proactive officer to get the most important members of Congress actually present out of the building. Officer Johnson did get the senators out, and later wore a “Make America Great Again” hat someone had put on his head, so as to move more easily through the crowd to get to some trapped officers. For wearing the red hat, he was suspended. He later quit the force after twenty-two years and lost his pension.

After the events of January 6th, Nancy Pelosi lost no time in finally bringing in the National Guard in large numbers and erecting for a very extended period of time a chain-link fence all the way around the Capitol grounds. Why were the same actions not performed a few days earlier, when everyone knew that then-President Trump was going to hold a large rally and that many of those present would probably go to the Capitol where election certification was taking place in a joint session of Congress? As I said before, for all of the information we do have available, we are still not privy to the thoughts and discussions of key players like Nancy Pelosi and the head of the Capitol police force. But what if Democratic leadership had wanted some destruction and even some bloodshed? I have no evidence to suggest that they did, but they were incredibly lax about their preparations for a riot many could see coming a mile away. Also, there are videos of police letting people into the Capitol building? Why? If the goal were to defend Congress, why would anyone be allowed in?


Had the January 6th riot actually been what Democrats and the media have been trying to sell—namely, a deadly attack on members of Congress and the police, the Democrats would have been gifted the ability to ban the “MAGA wing” (whatever that is) of the Republican Party. Like Hitler in November of 1938, the attack with some bloodshed would have been an outstanding pretext to crack down on their enemies, namely the tea party/MAGA grassroots portion of the party. The Chamber of Commerce Republicans who so easily roll over for the Democrats would have been quite happy to be rid of the nuisance of Americans who love their country and want it to be better. They would be glad to be rid of Trump and his similarly-thinking members of Congress. This would have been an opportunity, like with the burning of the Reichstag in 1933, to settle political scores and make sure that a uniparty approach to government would go forward. Senators like Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley would have been hounded into early retirement.

So why didn’t it work? Because the Trump supporters who entered the Capitol brought no weapons and only wanted to express their disbelief in the 2020 presidential election. And they had reason for doubts. Whatever is called by the media as the “big lie” regarding that election, there are still facts that make little sense. The biggest states in the union—California, Texas, New York, Illinois—all called the election in the hours after polls closed. Yet, much smaller states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Georgia, somehow could not get their votes tallied for several days. And all of those states were leaning Trump (pink) on election night only to go fully Biden four days later. There was definitely room for doubt, but the people who came to the Capitol were not interested in spilling blood or making a coup. Insurrection without weapons? They should apply for a patent for that one.


The Democrats continued with a fictitious narrative of violent insurrection, surrounded a Capitol that faced no further threat and set up their Potemkin committee that edited videos in their favor and brought on a TV producer to make their hearings prime time slick. Nothing helped. America fortunately missed its Reichstag moment, and even with harassment of Trump supporters by the Department of Justice and the FBI, those who wish to see a better and stronger America in the future are waiting for their opportunity to vote in new leaders in November of 2024.

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