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Thursday, March 16, 2023

Analysis: What history can teach us about the January 6 denialism of some GOP leaders

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Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who helped lead Saturday’s hearing, focused on the dangers of the January 6 attacks by referring to the violence of the 19th century.

He then describes Abraham Lincoln’s reaction to the murder. Lincoln was a member of the Illinois state legislature at the time.

“If racist mobs were encouraged by politicians to rampage and terrorize, Lincoln said, they would violate the rights of other citizens and rapidly destroy the relationships of social trust necessary for democracy works,” said Raskin. “The mob and the vandals will put us on a path to political tyranny.”

Even a year and a half after the breach, some GOP leaders continue to spread the lie that the 2020 contest was stolen. Consider Ryan Kelley, the hopeful of the Michigan Republican leader who just days before Saturday’s hearing misread the riot he was involved in, as a “First Amendment act” first”.

“We were there to protest the government because we didn’t like the outcome of the 2020 election,” Kelley said during the Republican candidates debate last Wednesday. “The 2020 Michigan election was rigged, and it was stolen from President Trump’s hands.”

The testimony of a former oath-keeper also sheds light.

Jason Van Tatenhove, a former spokesman for the Oath-Keepers, told the committee on Tuesday that the group is a dangerous militia fueled by violence.

“I spent a couple of years with the Vow Keepers, and I can tell you they may not like to call themselves militia, but they are,” he said.

The leaders of the Oath-Keepers were charged with ambitious conspiracy for their alleged actions on January 6.

Van Tatenhove said: “I think we got a glimpse of the Oath-Keepers vision on January 6. “It doesn’t necessarily include the rule of law. It includes violence. It includes trying to overcome lies, deception, intimidation, and through violence.”

When asked why he split from the group, Van Tatenhove said that at one point, the Oath-Keepers started claiming that the Holocaust never happened.

“That’s it for me. I just can’t comply,” he said.

The ongoing effort to distort the attack on multiracial democracy – to smooth out the jagged edges so that all that remains is a compelling tale of patriots – reminded some scholars of the leviathan disinformation campaign that began during the Reconstruction period. Confederate advocates sought to turn the Confederacy’s war around to preserve human bondage as a principled defense of the rights of nations.
To better understand the resonances between this history and our own, I spoke with Sarah Churchwell, Chair of Public Understanding for the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. She is also the author of the new book,”The Wrath to Come: ‘Gone with the Wind’ and America’s Lies“an innovative and powerful blend of cultural and historical analysis.

Our conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

In your new book, you’ll see how America’s history of asthma can help explain contemporary politics, including the reactions of some Republican leaders to the impeachment hearings. Ceiling January 6. In particular, you consider Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel, “Gone With the Wind”. How can this decades-old story help us understand what is happening today?

“Gone with the Wind” gives us a relatively compact and contained history of the Civil War and Reconstruction – except backwards and wrongs. If you unpack it, it gives us a passage into real history and also gives us the story of the myths that formed around that history.

Most important to me, what it added to our understanding were the emotions that fueled my asthma and the collective psyche of American society that made “Gone with the Wind” a its hugely popular version. So it gives us an investment in rewriting history and understanding why it happened, how it happened, and the kinds of emotions it reveals about America. white and the myths about itself.

What I argue in the book is that “Gone With the Wind” chronicles the invention of the white man victim myth in America. It imprints it. I followed the emergence of that story about white victims and that inversion saying that the real victims of Civil War and Reconstruction were not black Americans but in fact white Americans.

I follow that story and the re-establishment of Chastity and Innocence, because that is the emotion that drives Cause of Loss, behind the writing and rewriting of slavery and Reconstruction and Jim Crow that everything What America does is innocent and just, and therefore no one is wrong in this version of the Civil War, and certainly no whites.

For example, that emotion is also clearly fueling some reactions to January 6. We are recognizing denialism, refusing to admit that you might be wrong, and a willingness to rewrite history to ensure that you are never faced with the possibility that you could be wrong.

Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh in the 1939 film adaptation of "Gone With the Wind"

What does “Gone with the Wind” tell us about the link between asthma and going the wrong way?

Asthma is a kind of misdirection. My Asthma is misinformation. And it wrong information, because it’s intentionally deceiving, i.e. pointing at something else and saying, “No, that’s reality.” It serves the dual purpose of convincing you to lie but also distracting you from the truth.

As for how we see some of the same mechanisms playing out in hearings, it’s partly a desire to be united at all costs, not thinking of the victim as an individual or a group. There is also the fact that this desire for unity at all costs seems to have always been racially misled in the United States. There is no way to solve that problem. We continue to crack down on questions of racial justice and equality and white supremacy and then pretend that’s not what we’re dealing with.

So reconciliation is always superficial and artificial because we won’t admit what the problem really is, or at least only some of us will say, “We think this is the problem. .”

Scholars are increasingly warning about potential for new political violence in the United States. What would the civil war look like today?
I think there’s a strong case to be made that the American civil war is like what we’re looking at. It was an undeclared war. We had an uprising in the Capitol, and we also knew that the President (at the time) wanted to lead an armed militia. He wants to Go ahead of your army to cross the Capitol.

We also have armed militiamen roaming the streets. We have skirmishes with the Whites. When the Bloody Kansas skirmishes occurred (in the 1850s), which were the battles that initially became the Civil War, the battles ignited the flames. And of course, Fort Sumter officially said it was war. But we don’t really declare war anymore. It’s very, very rare indeed. We only Go war.

And this is being fought the way a 21st-century war is fought – with disinformation more disorganized than in an organized way, because we don’t have armies rallying across the streets. battlefield. We live in a world where war is not recognized as war. But we are looking at armed militias. We’ve seen it in what I think is the summer of Trumpism, in the uprisings after the murder of George Floyd. We saw that in Trump’s response. We’ve seen it in the military police on the streets of Portland. We’ve seen it in every instance of police military violence against black Americans, and it’s clearly happening.

We regularly see carnage and say we are not in a state of war.

Perhaps we are not. Maybe it was the prologue to the war, and it was Bloody Kansas. But we are certainly seeing battles and militarization.

It’s worth mentioning that at the end of “Gone With the Wind,” Scarlett O’Hara is still living in a world where, as you put it, “resistance and illusion, not reunion and forgiveness.” There are famous ending lines: “Tomorrow, I’ll think of some way to get him (Rhett Butler) back. After all, tomorrow is another day.” What is the lesson for our insistence on fantasy for our time?

Well, there is a fantasy, but there is also a reality that we can recognize in her ending. It’s the most famous sad ending in a romance I can think of, except perhaps “Romeo Juliet.” It’s an iconic sad ending. And yet, you could also argue there’s a happy ending there, because Scarlett gets what she wants most, which is Tara (O’Haras’ cotton plantation). She has to get Tara back. And that’s why “I’m going home to Tara” is such an important line. That’s the last line really. Rhett’s loss, that iconic split, matters less to the story and to the protagonist than to her retention of power. That is happy ending. That is salvation, as far as she is concerned.

What is the lesson? It tells us that the emotional resonance of this story is that maintaining power through property is more important than trying to unite to divide, that we would split if we could claim it. power and property.

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I am passionate about journalism and using new technology to spread news. I am also interested in politics and economics, and I am always looking for ways to make a difference in the world. I am the CEO of Janaseva News, and I am 24 years old.

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