Guest column: Commemorate terrorist attacks, don’t celebrate them

The Daily Ardmoreite
Tony Choate

Americans mourned as one on September 11 as we commemorated 20 years since the horrific terrorist attacks that shook our nation to its core.

In contrast, one week after that solemn commemoration, hundreds of American extremists are planning to celebrate the January 6 domestic terrorist attack on the U. S. Capitol.

It is hard to overestimate the significance of the fact that January 6, 2021, marked the first time in history that we have failed to conduct a peaceful transfer of power in the United States.

At best, that day’s violent attack on our legislative process is a disgraceful stain on our nation’s history. At worst, the attack signals significant damage to our democratic foundations caused by unfounded claims of election fraud.

While some continue trying to downplay the significance and violence of the attack, prosecutors have documented about 1,000 assaults on federal officers.

“Based on a review of the body-worn-camera footage conducted by our Office, the footage displays approximately 1,000 events that may be characterized as assaults on federal officers,” Emily A. Miller, Capitol Breach Discovery Coordinator, wrote in a U.S. District Court filing

Despite that fact, or possibly because of it, former Trump campaign manager Matt Braynard is planning a celebration of the domestic terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Planned for September 18 in Washington D.C., demonstration organizers characterize the violent criminals caught red-handed illegally inside the Capitol as “political prisoners.”

Promoted as a peaceful protest, there is concern the protest will turn violent. Republican members of Congress, such as Representative Madison Cawthorn, appear to be encouraging violence as a justifiable response to their unfounded claims of election fraud.

In a recent video posted on social media, Rep. Cawthorn said, “I’ll tell you, anybody who tells you that Joe Biden was dutifully elected is lying."

Cawthorn is calling a lot of people liars. Those people include the FBI, at least 86 judges from the United States Supreme Court to low-level state courts, every top election official in all 50 states, every Trump administration federal agency that had anything to do with elections, U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, thousands of state election workers, and an overwhelming majority of Americans.

Cawthorn made it clear that he is willing to back up his verbal attacks with armed attacks on fellow Americans.

"If our election systems continue to be rigged and continue to be stolen, it's gonna lead to one place, and it's bloodshed," said Cawthorn on the video. "And I will tell you, as much as I'm willing to defend our liberty at all costs, there's nothing that I would dread doing more than having to pick up arms against a fellow American."

Possibly more disturbing in light of the September 18 demonstration is the fact that Cawthorn also implied there may be a need for a violent jailbreak. It is reported that more than 570 have been arrested in connection with the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol.

"The big problem is we don't actually know where all the political prisoners are," Cawthorn said. "And so, if we were to actually be able to go and try and bust them out — and let me tell you, the reason why they're taking these political prisoners is because they're trying to make an example, because they don't want to see the mass protests going on in Washington."

Meanwhile, as Republican members of Congress are becoming the de facto leaders of extremist groups, Republican “leaders,” such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, remain silent regarding calls for violence.

Of course, McCarthy may have been too busy threatening tech companies who choose to cooperate with the investigation.

As an American, it is difficult to see leaders of fringe alt-right and White supremacist hate groups glorifying the domestic terrorists who attacked the U. S. Capitol,

It is bone-chilling to watch a sitting member of Congress try and justify what these domestic terrorists did and refer to them as political prisoners.

A friend told me a couple of years ago that people he knew who supported Trump joked about waging a Civil War. They went on to tell him he would be first on their list of people to capture.

We laughed about it at the time because it seemed so absurd.

This week, Capitol Police are preparing to brief Congress on the increase in violent online talk surrounding the September 18 demonstration.

A social media post promoting the demonstration included designs similar to the Ku Klux Klan Blood Drop Cross as well as other White Supremacist imagery. Online discussion threads include demonstrators saying they are bringing assault rifles, as well as threats against Jews and liberal churches.

In light of all this, jokes of another Civil War no longer seem funny.

— Tony Choate has lived in the Ardmore area for more than 50 years. He earned his master's degree in political science from Purdue University after earning a bachelor's degree in legal studies from East Central University. He worked for several years as an adjunct instructor for Murray State College, teaching courses in American history and American government and politics.