Insert Foot: On Donald Trump’s ‘rebels’ in the U.S. Capitol

U.S. Capitol, sedition, Washington D.C., capitol riot, coup attempt

Insert Foot Vs. the mob in the U.S. Capitol. Original photo: Supporters of President Donald Trump roam under the Capitol Rotunda after invading the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Saul LOEB / AFP via Getty Images.

Anyone else wonder why so many of the half-drunk morons marching around the Capitol this week were more than happy to be videotaped and even occasionally give their names to the people recording them?

I suppose I could be talking about some members of Congress. And they probably were also half-drunk. Why do you think they didn’t come back out to try burning the city at night? They were all sleeping it off in their trucks.

Sorry if that sounds flippant. This has just become tiresome. The blowhards are actually out killing people now and looting American institutions. That any of us let it get this far will go down as one of the most shameful post-slavery periods in our history.

There’s very little I can say that someone smarter hasn’t already said about the attempted coup in Washington, D.C. And it was a coup attempt. Maybe they looked a lot like the crowd waiting for Lynyrd Skynyrd to start its headlining set on the Southern rock cruise out of Florida, but the intent was clear: To subvert the will of the voting majority of the United States.

President Trump is right about one thing. The 2020 election wasn’t really close.

There’s no way around calling it a coup. An armed mob directed by the president marched to the Capitol where the second, third and fourth officials in the line of succession were about to ratify an election taking said President out of power is nothing if not a coup.

But we like rebels, right?

I saw a couple of the more literate folks wearing the insignia of the Rebel Alliance from Star Wars. James Dean only made three movies, yet the “Rebel Without a Cause” star is still a pop culture pillar. He lived fast and died young. We idolized Marlon Brando in “The Wild One.” and Al Pacino in “Dog Day Afternoon.” We buy cheap T-shirts with Che Guevara’s face on them (glossing over all those inconvenient murders). “Braveheart!” Punk rock! Ruth Bader Ginsberg! Collarless shirts at the office!

The U.S. began as a bunch of rebels, or so the story goes. Never mind it was a bunch of elites who had their wigs in a bunch over taxes (sound familiar?). We are the rebels, right? This is just like our forefathers dressing up as wild Indians–woohoo!–and lofting barrels of tea into Boston Harbor! Who drinks tea in America? Screw tea! Our ancestors drank Pabst and bragged about it ironically. They were influencers.

The U.S. even has a long history of supporting rebellions … the right rebellions. The rebellions that coincided with our interests. Otherwise, rebellions were bad. Look up the difference between how we dealt with El Salvador and Nicaragua rebellions back in the ‘80s.

So, flipping the bird to the man has been viewed favorably as least as much as not in the good old US of A. What’s the big, damned deal?

It’s a big deal because we’re supposed to be a democracy (we’re actually some form of a constitutional federal republic, but never mind that for now). We’re supposed to be for the little guy, not rich entitled white men with unspeakable hair. Those are the guys against whom we’re supposed to rebel.

Our red, white and blue system allowed Donald Trump to win the presidency without the majority of voters saying so. He got four years as head honcho, despite Hillary Clinton getting nearly 3 million more votes. This time he lost by about 7 million, and a clear electoral majority. Yet he and the people who look like him have such a severe problem with that, they attacked the capitol. The last time that happened was more than 200 years ago and the attackers wore red and had funny accents.

Maybe not the best example.

But that brings us back to why those “patriots” were OK with showing their faces to the world. Because they honestly believed they were right? Perhaps. But I think they honestly thought there’d be no consequences. They believed the people in power wouldn’t do anything to those who mostly look like them. It’s a well-worn argument that happens to be true: If those weren’t white people trying to destroy the democratic process because they felt entitled doing so, some police wouldn’t have unlocked those barriers. The government would’ve had the National Guard in place the previous night. Cops wouldn’t have been taking selfies with thugs overrunning the U.S. Capitol.

You know who should’ve been crawling through the windows long before Jan. 6? Everyone who actually cares about concepts like freedom and democracy. For four years we celebrated incompetence and stupidity and enabled white supremacy. We let Donald Trump happen. So, for as awful as the Capitol riot was, maybe it needed to happen. Maybe we needed to be shocked and scared and see the face of racism and enabled ugliness. Because it looked a lot like a lot of us.

Follow music critic Tony Hicks at

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