It would have been unremarkable had the events of January 6 been called simply a lawless and disturbing spectacle — an intrusion into the chambers of Congress by a mob with violent loss of life. That, however, would not have served the political ambitions of those inwardly rejoicing at the event. They called it instead an insurrection and an attack on the “citadel of democracy.” Now they use it to justify what seems to be a program of political repression, still in its incipiency.
The Antifa and BLM riots that caused many more deaths and billions in damages were not called attacks on the citadel of democracy. They decimated only the lives, homes, and businesses of inconsequential persons. No massive military contingent comparable to that which occupied Washington on Inauguration Day, and still occupies it, was dispersed to quell the carnage in the nation’s other cities. It was allowed to run its course, day after day and night after night. The few law enforcement officers sent to quell it were reviled, and the few private citizens who tried to resist, if they lived, faced prosecution.
The home or business of the humblest citizen is more a citadel of democracy than the stone edifice in which the powerful make laws for him. What sustains his life and those of his loved ones is as worthy of the law’s protection as what flatters the great. The domed and spired edifice in Washington where laws are written may symbolize representative democracy, but only insofar as those making the laws sustain, not symbolically, but in practice, its constitutional essence. It is not the architecture, but the fidelity to republican principle of those within that associates the place with our political creed. They are to be faithful to the prescribed purpose of government in this country — to secure the “unalienable rights” with which even those without prominence, influence, education, wealth, or power are “endowed by their Creator.”
If it is in hope of securing those rights that the people give consent to be governed, then democracy has its initiating moment in their volition and exists for them, the true rulers of themselves. Their freedom and security under law are democracy. In a similar vein, if in a different context, it was said once in the British House of Commons:….[ ]
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