One week ago, Trump supporters took over the Capitol. Many of the insurrectionists were there to protest the 2020 election results and the inauguration of Biden/Harris, which is scheduled in a week on the same Capitol steps that were flanked by white nationalists on the Sixth of January.
Many others, considered fringe but growing in number and visibility, were there because they believe that white U.S. citizens are under attack by a vast Jewish cabal that rigged the election and is working everyday to decrease their standard of living. Anti-Semitism is an old but incredibly dangerous and effective tactic, used by those in power to misdirect the people who they are taking advantage of, to focus on a different, made-up villain.
Because bankers and the uberwealthy hoard resources and dictate political policies, hundreds of millions of everyday people of all backgrounds are suffering. Instead of their rage being directed at those in power, it is directed towards conspiracy theories, like the one that says Jewish people are the reason they are not thriving in the United States. A country that promised them vast wealth and fame, but never really intended on delivering to the majority of the population.
Watching images of people invading the Capitol and giving each other the Nazi salute sent chills down my spine, but I was not surprised. Donald Trump sent out anti-Semitic dog whistles for the entire duration of his presidency and failed to condemn people like Matthew Heimbach who helped revitalize the Neo-Nazi movement in America. Heimbach was seen at the Capitol on the Sixth of January, but was not arrested.
My breath, however, was taken away when I saw a man in a “Camp Auschwitz” hoodie that said “Work Brings Freedom,” the words (in German) that were ironed onto the gates of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, where more than one million Jewish people were murdered by the Nazis. It was said on Twitter that “STAFF” was printed on his back.
Many of the white national insurgents were wearing enough gear to hide their identity. Much of their insignia is also code. It is insidious because they are able to communicate through hand gestures and acronyms.
What we witnessed on the Sixth of January was not only a four hour white nationalist insurrection, it was also the warning of a subsequent coup attempt on January 20th. Threats have been made on all 50 State Capitols in the United States, starting on Saturday January 16th and running all the way up until the 20th. The National Guard has already deployed 15,000 to protect Biden and Harris on Inauguration Day. With their show of force on the Sixth of January, the white nationalists and Neo-Nazis ushered in a new era of martial law in the United States.
Meanwhile, the day before the insurrection, Mary Miller, a newly elected congressperson, addressed the same people who would go on to storm the Capitol and she decided to invoke Hitler.
Did Miller choose the most innocuous Hitler quote? “Whoever has the youth has the future,” she sure did, but why invoke Hitler before a crowd of white nationalists at the Capitol the day before Trump’s “Save America Rally” other than to get them riled up and ready to storm the halls? Many of her colleagues are now asking for her resignation.
Trump had been promoting the Sixth of January on Twitter (before he was kicked off) since Christmas, and his followers got to work almost immediately making propaganda videos on right wing social media channels. On January 5th, the same day Mary Miller evoked Hitler, Trump tweeted: “I will be speaking at the SAVE AMERICA RALLY tomorrow on the Ellipse at 11AM Eastern. Arrive early—doors open at 7AM Eastern. BIG CROWDS!”
When the insurgents got to the Ellipse — a park just outside of the White House — the posters read: “Save America March.” The fact that Neo-Nazis were in the crowd should not come as a surprise to anyone. At the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, all different forms of white supremacy; white nationalists, Klansmen, Neo-Nazis, and alt-right groups came together under the flag of Donald Trump. A flag that will continue to fly long after January 20th.
Just before marching to the Capitol and breaking down the doors, Donald Trump told the crowd:
“We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore . . . Now it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy. And after this, we’re going to walk down and I’ll be there with you. We’re going to walk down, we’re going to walk down. Anyone you want, but I think right here, we’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them. Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong . . . We have come to demand that Congress do the right thing and only count the electors who have been lawfully slated. Lawfully slated . . . I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard. Today, we will see whether Republicans stand strong for the integrity of our elections. But whether or not they stand strong for our country — our country, our country has been under siege for a long time.”
The Sixth of January showed us once again that we are indeed under siege. Under siege by a scurge of white nationalists manipulated by their anti-Semitic sensibilities, their white entitlement, and their deeply entrenched fear based on nothing but rhetoric. So, not only must we stay vigilant on January 20th, we must also be informed about the proliferation of Neo-Nazis, white nationalism, and groups based on anti-Semitism and white supremacy within our communities.
In a void of silence on the subject, it was Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Austrian-born son of a Nazi, who compared what he witnessed on the Sixth of January to the uprising of the Nazis in Germany.