After three years, what’s become of the ‘average’ insurrectionists?
Author: John Casey
It’s hard to believe that the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol was three years ago, and we are still dealing with the consequences. As with an earthquake with hundreds of aftershocks, we will continue to pick up the pieces for a very long time.
Bubbling underneath the cauldron of hate that was released that day is the fact that more than 1,100 – and counting – are facing criminal charges for their role in the January 6 insurrection. Their names don’t elicit headlines, but their acts of defiance and destruction, collectively, are a testament to the fact that the Justice Department is hunting down anyone whose fingerprints were left at the U.S. Capitol on that dark day.
Among the thousand-plus are what you might call normal, everyday citizens from communities across the country, who were swept up by the crowds rushing the Capitol. They were anything but innocent bystanders; in fact, many of the ones facing criminal charges played no role in organizing the insurrection, but they were there, they participated, and they are paying the price.
Do they deserve the benefit of the doubt? Hardly. One of the reasons why is that despite being charged with a criminal offense, getting sent to prison, and being treated like a pariah by friends, family, and neighbors, most still cling to the idea that the 2020 presidential election was stolen and that Donald Trump deserves to be president.
Veteran documentary filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi, daughter of U.S. House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, calls these outsiders The Insurrectionists Next Door, which is the title of her recent film about several of those who have been charged.
For the film, Pelosi engaged in conversations with multiple individuals who participated in storming the U.S. Capitol that day. She explores their motivations for coming to Washington, D.C., for the riot on January 6, 2021, and seeks to determine if the perspectives of these individuals have changed. Watching Pelosi dive into extremism by sitting at the kitchen tables of those she highlights can be jarring.
“It’s naïve to think that you will talk sense into them,” Pelosi said. “There are no changing minds, and that’s because these individuals were indoctrinated by alternate facts presented to them by the right-wing media that they watch. That’s the main takeaway. They consume media like OAN and Newsmax, and they’re not going to flip a switch and start watching CNN.”
Pelosi said when she appeared on Bill Maher’s talk show, he mentioned that there might be something noblea about the fact that, despite everything, these people continue to stick to their guns, so to speak.
“My pushback is the problem is these people were charged and convicted of crimes they believe to be fiction, and there’s nothing noble about that,” she explained. “And that is that they think the election was stolen, when dozens of courts rejected that premise, the secretary of Homeland Security said at the time that the 2020 presidential election was the most secure in history, and that after three years, there’s been no proof the election was stolen.”
Pelosi spotlights a brother and sister who went to D.C. during that period and claim they just got caught up in all the excitement. One young woman said she came because she wanted to “see the area.” However, she was captured on film holding part of a sign bearing the name of Pelosi’s mom. There’s also a Proud Boy rapper whose controversial lyrics might have played a part in his conviction, and Pelosi talks with a gay military veteran.
Some of these people say they voted for Barack Obama previously, and one says she voted for Joe Biden; yet what they all have in common, besides their criminal charges, is their adoration for Donald Trump. And Pelosi, in the film, isn’t afraid to call out their lies and hypocrisy.
“They don’t want to hear it,” she points out. “There wasn’t anything that I could ever tell them. There is nothing that the courts could ever tell them or authorities who have evidence of their involvement could tell them. It doesn’t matter. They will never believe that Trump lost the election. And it just gets reinforced, not just with the media they watch but also the social media provocateurs they follow, including Trump. It is just drilled into their brains.”
Even though her mother is reviled by insurrectionists, Pelosi says that every one of the people she featured welcomed her into their home. In fact, as you watch her in their homes, it humanizes them — to a point. It’s so easy to get frustrated watching Pelosi dialogue with them and see them stand by their actions and Trump’s lies. There’s little sympathy for them.
While they didn’t go so far as to sit in on meetings with the Proud Boys, they were there, they participated in storming the Capitol, and like the young woman with the Pelosi sign, they were destructive. Their actions are on film. One beating a police officer. They were there. They committed a crime. And there’s no remorse.
With all the evidence against them, they remain stubborn. Their cause was anything but noble.
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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: John Casey