The people who stormed the Capitol last week are terrorists. Domestic terrorists. Domestic white supremacist terrorists. Domestic christianist terrorists. Like all terrorists, they believe they are heroes. Like all terrorists, they believe anyone who doesn’t agree with them are their enemies. Like all terrorists, they believe that anyone who opposes them are either evil, or fools under the sway of evil forces. If you believe someone is not just your enemy, but also an evil being, you will not listen to the person. Which means you can’t negotiate a meaningful compromise of any kind with them.
Most of the people who stormed the Capitol last week are also cultists, in the sense that they “practice excessive devotion to a person and/or belief system.” Many of them firmly believe that the world is secretly controlled by a ring of vampiric pedophiles, and that the Traitor-in-Chief has been secretly arresting and executing members of this ring for years, for instance. Others simply believe that much is being stolen from them by classes of people they think are inferior who are now getting some civil rights. A whole lot of them believe that the Traitor-in-Chief is somehow just like them, and even more, that he cares about them (despite tons of evidence to the contrary). Like all cultists, they believe that evil people and evil forces oppose them, and that the only way to defeat those evil forces is to utterly destroy anyone and anything that stands in their way. Which once again means that you can’t negotiate any sort of live and let live situation with them.
An unknown number of Republican members of Congress are true believers in the same manifesto of the domestic terrorists and cultists. Many are cynical opportunists who believe that they can somehow ride the tiger that is the mob of domestic terrorists and cultists. Some may finally be realizing that once you’ve jumped on the tiger’s back, you can’t get off without getting mauled. Most seem to think that they can just ride the tiger forever. In any case, they aren’t going to work in good faith with people the tigers hate. Which again means, there isn’t much point in trying to appease them or compromise with them. Today, 10 of them very pointedly got off the tiger’s back by voting for Impeachment of the Traitor-in-Chief.
But I don’t for one minute believe that any of those ten came to that conclusion because people on the other end of the political spectrum compromised with them. My point above is not that everyone of the rioters and their supporters are irredeemable, but rather, that there is nothing we, who they perceive as either enemies or tools of their enemies, can do to change how they feel.
For those that have committed actual crimes (all the rioters, for instance), we have to do our best to identify them and then prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. As to the supporters who merely cheered them on or whatever, we have to shun or boycott or otherwise show them that they have things to lose if they insist on continuing to fight our right to live our own lives.
And it’s okay in the course of these events to occasionally take a moment to enjoy a little schadenfreude…