The dust is settling on this week’s terrorist attack on the Capitol Building. Rioters smashed windows and assaulted police officers, injuring at least 50, to break into the building and disrupt the U.S. government at work. Many carried weapons. One even had a cooler full of Molotov cocktails.
The march was part-organized by an extremist group. Rioters carried the battle flag of the Confederacy. A topless goon in a Viking hat displayed White Supremacist tattoos from behind the dais where Mike Pence should have sat confirming Biden as the next president. Another man wore a “Camp Auschwitz” hoodie with “STAFF” printed on the back.
Their overt aim was to overturn the U.S. election. And by rights, they were egged on by a sitting President.
Other members of the crowd were setting bombs against a building in which the Vice President and members of the Senate and Congress were gathered.
The poker-world, like the real world, watched with a highly mixed bag of takes. Even Mike Matusow, noted apologist for the fringe-right, couldn’t stomach it.
“Man I want to apologize to people as I actually listened to Trump’s speech yesterday again,” he Tweeted after the event. “And realized whether he meant to or not Trump actually said we need to walk to capital and take our country back!”
One of the central themes of the poker world’s discourse was comparisons with the BLM protests in 2020 where the National Guard was put on the steps leading up to the statue of Lincoln.
Many players wondered at the violence used against peaceful BLM protestors compared to the accommodating response to both a violent riot and a terrorist attack on the U.S. government.
“Imagine how many people would be hurt already if a BLM protest attempted to breach the capital,” wrote Doug Polk.
Daniel Negreanu posted a similar Tweet to Polk and received a message from Layne Flack suggesting the police stopped using teargas because it got people “upset.”
Responding to the argument, Negreanu explained. “People are asking for equal treatment. When black people protested on Capitol Hill they were 6 deep with military. Now it’s a group of white trash actually entering the building while the police help open the gates.”
Trump supporter Todd Witteles expressed some confusion that “the left,” a group of at least 80 million U.S. voters, expressed multiple viewpoints on the subject.
“So do people on the left support force being used against mobs taking over or vandalizing government facilities?” he asked. “I’m getting mixed messages here.”
Laughter in the dark
Others took a more satirical approach. The assault on democracy was, after all, at the very least farcical. Even if it fell short of being funny.
“Who would have thought a @justinbieber concert was more secure than the US capitol while congress was in session,” Bill Perkins tweeted.
Spraggy, from the relative comfort of a post-Brexit Britain ravaged by a new strain of COVID, wrote “It is a little comforting seeing that all of the people breaching the Capitol building look like they could be pacified with an Xbox game pass and a 6 pack of Mountain Dew.”
This seems to be a comment on the number of large, neck-bearded men, in ill-fitting hoodies present in the Trumpian contingent.
Jamie Kerstetter tweeted that it was “pretty unlucky to have used the last of the tear gas on that church photo op.” A reference to Trump teargassing a gathering of clergymen in order to clear them out of a local church for a photoshoot last year.
Other people were just seeking the silver lining.
Matt Glantz for example took the position that this was the dark before the dawn.
“We hit a low point as a country today,” he tweeted. “But things will quickly get better from here. D&R Senators found common ground today.”
We can hope, certainly. And right now we probably need it.
But hope shouldn’t cloud a dire warning.
The Beer Hall Putsch ended the same way in 1923. A smattering of dead rioters and a few dozen arrests.
The Putsch was also a response to a conspiracy theory explaining why a group of losers hadn’t really lost. And it set in motion events that ended German democracy a decade later.
Hope for the best, certainly. But don’t let hope excuse complacency.
Featured image by John Brighenti, sourced from Flickr