A couple of papers to read. Or not to read?
The January 6 insurrection was one of the darkest days in the history of the United States. In response to a call for “patriots” to assemble at the Capitol, hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the building. The siege resulted in five deaths, dozens injured and the arrest of over 300 people. The riot quickly became a major topic of conversation all over the world, as numerous questions are being asked, spanning from who was responsible to the true motives behind the attempt to overthrow the government. This paper aims to provide a detailed account of the events of January 6th, beginning with the call of action, followed by an analysis of the participants, a discussion of the planning of the insurrection as well as the arrests, trials and consequences thereof.
In the weeks leading up to January 6, the Capitol was surrounded by thousands of Trump protesters who had broadcast numerous calls for action on Twitter and other social media platforms. The messages were mostly connected to the “Stop the Steal” movement that sought to overturn the results of the 2020 US Presidential Election. On January 6th, President Trump led a group of his supporters in a march to the Capitol in order to protest the certification of the results. Trump urged the crowd to march to the Capitol, saying “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness.”
The participants in the insurrection were made up of a diverse group of people, ranging from information technology professionals, construction workers and military veterans to students, militia members and white supremacists. The Proud Boys, a far-right paramilitary organization comprised mostly of white men, are amongst the most prominent participants. According to videos posted of the storming, the group could be seen participating in the siege and at times, leading the charge. Another major group was the Oath Keepers, a militia group comprising mostly of former military and law enforcement personnel. Members of the group were seen wearing tactical gear, as well as engulfing the Capitol building from multiple sides. The Oath Keepers even posted a video calling for reinforcements and late-comers to join the siege. Additionally, members of the Three Percenters, another militia, and white supremacist groups like the KKK and Neo-Nazis were also spotted amongst the crowd.
Although investigations are still ongoing, authorities have revealed that the Capitol riots were pre-planned and organized by various groups. Trump’s call for his supporters to march on the Capitol was the immediate cause, however an investigation revealed that the siege was organized weeks prior to it. According to the Department of Justice, the groups planned the event with the intention of entering the Capitol and disrupting the certification of the election results. In the days leading up to the day of the siege, members of the groups exchanged messages about breaching the Capitol and even posted videos of the groups preparing for the siege. Additionally, the Proud Boys and other far-right groups openly discussed their plans on social media leading up to the day, even posting instructions such as “bring shields, helmets, weapons, and whatever else you may need to show your support and get into the building”.
Arrests, Trials and Consequences
Since January 6th, the FBI has arrested over 300 people associated with the insurrection, including 70 individuals charged with federal crimes. Amongst the people arrested include members of the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters and white supremacist groups. The people arrested are being tried for various charges such as conspiracy and assault, with the most severe sentences resulting in prison terms of up to 20 years. The people arrested have also been required to undertake psychological evaluations in order to determine the level of their involvement and the extent of their mental contact with the events.
Additionally, individuals who were involved in the planning and promotion of the insurrection are facing much harsher sentences due to their prior command of the event. The FBI has made numerous searches and arrests of prominent far-right activists, including the man charged with leading the surge into the building, Jacob Chansley, a well-known leader of the QAnon conspiracy movement. The sentencing of Chansley and the other insurrectionists is a major milestone in the government’s response to the January 6 insurrection, which sparked a nationwide debate about domestic terrorism and political violence.
What started as a peaceful protest at the United States Capitol quickly turned ugly as a large group of supporters of President Donald Trump, which included members of the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and other far-right extremist movements, breached the building and clashed with police. The protest developed into a full-fledged insurrection as rioters attempted to break into the House chamber, ransacked offices, stormed the Senate, and threatened the lives of elected officials.
At least 367 people were detained and approximately 200 faced federal charges in connection with the events at the Capitol. As of February 2021, 95 defendants had pleaded guilty, with more sure to follow. The federal government has charged over 200 defendants with various counts related to the attack, including conspiracy, civil disorders, obstruction of an official proceeding, aiding and abetting, illegal entry and possession of a dangerous weapon.
The insurrectionists were motivated by a variety of far-right ideologies, from white nationalism to anti-government beliefs. For example, the Proud Boys, considered to be an extremist neo-fascist organization, had numerous members onsite, some of whom were seen brandishing weapons and leading chants. Leaders of the Oath Keepers, a right-wing militia, were also present and are believed to have coordinated the storming of the Capitol building. Other far-right organizations and causes were represented by people at the event, including the Three Percenters and the Stop the Steal movement.
The events at the Capitol on January 6 have caused a political rift within the United States. Democrats have used the insurrection to call for increased restrictions on gun control, increased involvement in law enforcement activities related to domestic terrorism and suppression of far-right violence. Republicans, on the other hand, have argued that the attack should be treated as an isolated event and that further laws or restrictions are unnecessary or dangerous to the constitutional rights of citizens.
Despite these differences of opinion from citizens, the federal government has responded swiftly and firmly. In addition to the many arrests and pending charges against the rioters, the Department of Justice has also announced the creation of a new task force called the Domestic Terrorism Prevention and Response Team to “combat the threat of domestic terrorism” in the United States. This team will investigate extremist movements, gather intelligence, and respond to threats as needed.
In addition to the arrests and new task force, the federal government is currently in the process of trying some of the insurrectionists in court. The trials have already started and will likely continue into the near future. These trials will be important in not only punishing those responsible for the attack, but in sending a strong message to the country that acts of domestic terrorism will not be tolerated.
The events of January 6, 2021, will be remembered for years to come and will likely serve as a major turning point in American history. The hundreds of arrests and pending charges, along with the creation of the Domestic Terrorism Prevention and Response Team, are a sure sign that the federal government is taking all necessary steps to prevent and respond to political violence and extremism. It is now the responsibility of all citizens to remain vigilant, support law enforcement activities, and ensure that American democracy continues to be the model for the world.
The ‘Stop the Steal’ movement is a right-wing political endeavour that has sought to overturn the outcome of the 2020 United States presidential election. It has been an effective rallying point for individuals and organizations who have openly sought to overturn the will of the people in order to gain political power and maintain the status quo. This paper will go beyond discussing the movement’s purpose and performance in the 2020 election, and instead will focus on the philosophical and moral implications of the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement. This paper will analyze the movement in terms of justice and fairness, and will discuss the historical roots of the movement and the individuals and organizations that have added energy to it. Finally, it will detail how the movement’s actions align with a broader social justice agenda, and how it has been used by some to strip away certain rights of the electorate and to undermine a legitimate democratic election.
Stop the Steal Movement
The ‘Stop the Steal’ movement began in late 2020 following the election of the Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden. The movement has been a rallying point for right-wing activists and organizations seeking to overturn the results of the election. Individuals and organizations associated with the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement have actively sought to undermine the will of the people, and to do so by promoting unfounded claims and conspiracies. The purpose of this paper is to analyze the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement in terms of justice and fairness, and to discuss how the actions of the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement align with a broader social justice agenda.
II. Historical Overview
A. Origin of the ‘Stop the Steal’ Movement
In the weeks leading up to the 2020 US presidential election, Republican president Donald Trump often made unfounded claims alleging widespread voter fraud. Many of these claims were unsupported by factual evidence or by the opinions of election experts. Following the election, President Trump made baseless claims that the election results should be overturned and that he had won the election.
These claims then gave rise to the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement, which quickly gained popular support among right-wing organizations and individuals. The movement was largely driven by indefensible claims of voter fraud and conspiracy theories. Nonetheless, the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement had some level of appeal to many of its traditional supporters, as it provided an opportunity to reject and invalidate thedemocratic process.
B. Organizers of the ‘Stop the Steal’ Movement
The ‘Stop the Steal’ movement has been driven mainly by right-wing political organizations and individuals, such as Turning Point USA, FreedomWorks, and the Tea Party. These organizations have been active in the past in promoting conservative policies and the ideals of limited government. These organizations, along with individuals such as Donald Trump, Newt Gingrich, and Rudy Giuliani, have been among the most vocal supporters of the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement.
The ‘Stop the Steal’ movement has also been bolstered by far-right organizations and prominent individuals, such as Laura Loomer, Mike Cernovich, and Jack Posobiec. These individuals are associated with the “alt-right” and have histories of making provocative statements, spreading false information, and engaging in disinformation campaigns about prominent political issues.
Finally, the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement has received support from some members of the Republican Party, such as Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, and Marco Rubio, who have joined in President Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results and further their own political aspirations. These individuals have sought to challenge the validity of the election and to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the democratic system.
A. Fairness of the Election
III. Social Justice Issues
The ‘Stop the Steal’ movement directly challenges the fundamental principles of democracy. The movement seeks to do away with the popular mandate as expressed through the electoral process and to insert its own subjective standards in its place. This is patently unfair, as it would disregard the sovereignty of individual voters and discount the decisions they have made in favor of a predetermined set of criteria set by the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement.
Furthermore, the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement has sought to sow confusion among the public, as well as to manipulate the election and stop voters from being properly recognized and fully represented. The movement has also led to unnecessary and disproportionate intimidation of poll workers, and has demonstrated an overall lack of respect for the democratic process.
Origin of the ‘Stop the Steal’ Movement
The ‘Stop the Steal’ movement originated in late October 2020 among conservative circles, with the intent of discrediting the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. The main goal of the movement has been to invalidate the election by baselessly claiming that it was fraudulently conducted. The ‘Stop the Steal’ campaign was largely motivated by the President and his supporters, as they sought to discredit the results of the election that were in opposition to the President’s own re-election. It has been widely reported that President Trump was the one who first coined the phrase, as he tweeted out that the “there was massive voter fraud” and that he would “Stopping the Stealing”. Following his initial remarks the phrase quickly gained traction and was commonly used among conservatives and Trump supporters to rally behind the President in his attempt to reject the election results.
The individuals and organizations that have promoted the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement have relied on conspiracy theories and false claims in order to push their agenda and discredit the election. A major part of their strategy has been to target swing states that voted for President-elect Joe Biden, such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Georgia. There, they have used threats of violence in order to challenge the election results or prevent the certification of the election.
Notably, the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement relies on the propagation of unfounded claims about fraudulent elections in order to instill fear and mistrust amongst a large portion of the population. These claims have been widely shared on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube by prominent conservative pundits, including President Trump, his allies, and media personalities such as Sean Hannity and Breitbart News Network. Furthermore, the movement has been endorsed by various conservative groups, including the Tea Party Patriots, the American Guardians of Freedom, and the Patriot Coalition.
Wrongness of the ‘Stop the Steal’ Movement
The ‘Stop the Steal’ movement has posed a serious threat to the legitimacy of the 2020 United States Presidential Election. Through a number of legal challenges and lawsuits, it has attempted to alter the election results or prevent the voters from being properly recognized and represented. The movement has also sought to sow distrust in the electoral system by pushing unproven conspiracy theories and baseless claims of voter fraud.
Moreover, the movement has resulted in undue intimidation and disruption of the election process. In particular, there have been reports of ‘Stop the Steal’ supporters intimidating poll workers at various polling locations. This intimidation has come in the form of verbal and physical threats, as well as in the form of vandalism and other forms of property damage. It has also been reported that ‘Stop the Steal’ supporters targeted certain mail sorting centers in an attempt to impede the delivery of mail-in ballots.
At its core, the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement runs counter to the core values of the United States. The election is the cornerstone of the democracy, and any effort to interfere or manipulate it goes against the fundamental principles of the country. Furthermore, it is a blatant violation of the public’s trust in the electoral process. By attempting to invalidate the election through false claims, unproven conspiracy theories, and other forms of manipulation, the movement is ultimately disrespecting the will of all American citizens who participated in the election.
Overall, the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement is wrong, as it goes against the fundamental principles of democracy and disrespects the will of the people. It has sought to discredit the election results and manipulate the outcome of the election, as well as has led to unnecessary and disproportionate intimidation of poll workers. Furthermore, it has demonstrated an overall lack of respect for the democratic process by pushing unfounded conspiracy theories and attempting to invalidate the election. All of these actions are antithetical to the values of the United States, and should not be tolerated.
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