The Daily Gamecock

Column: Conservatives should condemn actions of Capitol Hill rioters

Protesters storm the Capitol and halt a joint session of the 117th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Protesters storm the Capitol and halt a joint session of the 117th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Conservatives should understand the profound ideological hypocrisy that was at play the afternoon of Jan. 6 on Capitol Hill and accept the results of the presidential election instead of baselessly claiming them inaccurate. 

As a conservative, I was not only appalled and confused at Wednesday’s events, but ashamed and disappointed that those who claim to share my values were the ones to carry out the assault on democracy inside the Capitol building. The complete abandonment of the tenets which otherwise define conservatism was, at best, embarrassing and, at worst, un-American.

The hypocrisy ran deep, with the first and most egregious example being the protesters’ reason for gathering: to object to certified election results, with no evidence they were fraudulent or inaccurate. For all that conservatives claim to value truth over emotional response, touting that “facts don’t care about your feelings,” Wednesday’s movement was definitely not one concerned with the truth; its entire premise was based on false and unfounded assertions made by the president.

If there were any truth to Trump’s cries of election fraud, we would have seen his campaign’s many lawsuits bear fruit. However, as the Washington Post reported, “His campaign and others have gone to court in six states, where Biden's total margin is more than 312,000, to challenge certain ballots or the certification of the vote — and have lost more than 50 cases, including at the Supreme Court.”

Republicans and Democrats alike have noted there is not a single piece of substantiated evidence to support Trump’s claims of fraud, and yet the many thousands who flooded Washington, D.C., on Jan. 5 and 6 were there to assert the opposite, in a ridiculous desertion of conservatives’ commitment to truth.

The protesters’ methods were no less hypocritical. All year the political right chastised the left for its protesters’ inclinations to burn, loot and destroy, calling these actions unpatriotic and referencing the behavior as justification for police action against them. The right called Black Lives Matter protesters terrorists for the damage that had been done to the nation, yet when a cause of their own called them to action, they too clashed with police and forcefully entered the U.S. Capitol, halting a congressional session and quite literally disrupting the democratic process of our country.

It was the same people who denounced the violence of BLM protesters that were so quick to jump to violence on Jan. 6; conservatives should note this, and condemn these actions as contradictory and irresponsible.

The protesters’ disregard for the truth and their interrupting of a congressional session clearly display their neglect of that democratic process which they claim to value so much. Conservatives are and have been staunch supporters of both the Electoral College and the American democratic process at large, and ironically are doing the most to undermine the stability of both at the present moment.

Their objection to the Electoral College decision, and more specifically their desire for Congress to interfere with that decision, not only acts against the body they support but violates a foundational principle of conservative legal thought.

Called Federalism, the principle describes the separation of power among the states and federal government. In a joint statement criticizing the many Republican objectors, seven Republican representatives asserted on Sunday that “with respect to presidential elections, there is no authority for Congress to make value judgments in the abstract regarding any state’s election laws or the manner in which they have been implemented.” 

It is vitally important that conservatives recognize the events of the last few weeks, and of Jan. 6, to be completely reprehensible, despicable and shameful. I cannot in good conscience support any of the happenings at the Capitol on Wednesday, or any of the election fraud sentiment in the weeks prior, when both fundamentally contradict my values and beliefs as a conservative person.

If you care about conservatism and the values it promotes, condemn this faux political theater. There is no virtue in dying on this hill, and the sooner the election results are accepted and the actions of Wednesday’s protesters condemned as unpatriotic, the sooner we can focus on unity, real solutions and true conservative values. 


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