The ‘Insurrection’ Label Is Proving Empty

The 'Insurrection' Label Is Proving Empty

( – In the wake of the January 6 riot, politicians turned to heated rhetoric to make claims, point fingers, and score political points. Almost immediately, Democrats labeled the riot as an insurrection and those involved as insurrectionists. However, there’s a problem with that narrative.

On August 20, the FBI announced they had found little evidence that the January 6 event occurred because of an organized plot to overturn the presidential election. Based on the facts, the incident doesn’t meet the definition of an insurrection. Additionally, the politicians once again fail to establish a consistent standard. If the rioters on January 6 are insurrectionists, what about rioters on the streets of America during the summer of 2020 who set fire to federal buildings or hijacked police departments?

What Is an Insurrection

Let’s consider the definition of “insurrection.” According to Cambridge Dictionary, an insurrection is “an organized attempt by a group of people to defeat their government and take control of their country, usually by violence.” According to the FBI, there’s little evidence of an organized plot other than some one-off small groups of people.

Second, those protestors who turned into violent rioters weren’t seeking to overturn the government. They wanted a fair election and seemed to believe Congress was ignoring millions of people who wanted them to slow down and ensure there was no election fraud.

The protests developed into a runaway riot, and law enforcement was woefully inadequate to deter or handle it. Many of the people who entered the Capitol building illegally meandered around the halls and took selfies while sharing what was happening on social media. Does that sound like an insurrection?

After months of investigations and arrests, authorities charged no one with insurrection or sedition. The police charged most with simple trespassing. Prosecutors charged some rioters with assaults on police officers, destruction of government property, and conspiracy. Insurrection and sedition are absent. Of the tens of thousands of people in Washington, DC, on January 6, law enforcement only arrested 570 people and charged 170 with actual crimes.

Is the Label Political?

Politicians are adept at changing the meaning of words, and the media is all too complicit in aiding them. Take, as an example, “Infrastructure.” Since when did the term refer to paid leave, child care, or caregiving? It doesn’t, but Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand tweeted it to make it so, and the entire Democratic apparatus repeated the claim.

What about political violence?

In 2020, Black Lives Matter and other social justice groups tore cities apart. They attacked federal buildings and courthouses. However, the Democrats and the media refused to call them rioters. Instead, Liberal media characterized those who tried to burn down federal buildings as simply participating in “fiery but mostly peaceful protests.”

It’s fair to equate rioters on January 6 with those in the summer of 2020. However, it’s not right to lump peaceful protestors along with them and then label them all as insurrectionists. Despite that truth, the contrast is surreal. Those who rioted after George Floyd’s death across the country were not declared insurrectionists after they burned federal buildings, seized police stations, created autonomous zones, or occupied city halls. They were simply protestors whom the prosecutors set free after arrests and brief detentions.

The characterization of the January 6 riot as an insurrection served a variety of political purposes. Politicians labeled anyone who questioned the 2020 election as an insurrectionist intent on overthrowing the country. The Democrats impeached then-President Trump for inciting an insurrection that didn’t exist. A riot and an insurrection are very different things.

It’s time to drop the “insurrection” label. It’s not accurate, appropriate, or responsible rhetoric.

Don Purdum, Independent Political Analyst

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