January 13, 2021
It never surprises me when several days after a horrific event people come together . . . to point blame. That was illustrated with an article I read in the newspaper on Sunday. Right next to an article about the police charging the man who took Speaker Pelosi’s lectern was the result of a poll asking who was to blame for last week’s riot. While I know it is proper legal jargon to call someone a suspect until they have been convicted, I “suspect” the fact he took a picture of himself walking away with the lectern, proudly posted it online, and was then found with it in his possession at his home could imply he had done so.
The adjacent article declared, “Poll: Many in GOP blame Biden for riot”. The story went on to report a majority of Republican voters blamed President-Elect Joe Biden for the actions of the Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on Wednesday. The poll found 52% of registered Republican voters said Biden was at least somewhat to blame for the violence, while only 28% said it was Trump’s fault. This matched the 45% of Republicans who said they approved of the storming of the Capitol while only 43% opposed it. When all voters were counted (not just Republicans), the majority (55%) said Trump was a “great deal to blame,” which splits along the lines of the November election. Both responses seem to say the same thing, somebody needs to be held responsible, but it is not my people or me.
Sadly, I did not find the results of the poll surprising. Fox News and other right leaning broadcasts began trying to shift the blame even while the riot was occurring. Just as Antifa was blamed for the violence of the summer, there are now claims they are responsible for this latest outbreak. One commentator quipped responding to the Fox News claim that the riot was the work of carefully disguised Biden supporters, “It must have been Antifa elements who caused the riot. They were there protesting the fact they had won the election and vowing to block the confirmation of their candidate.” Nobody ever said placing blame had to be based in reality.
Thoughts: Blaming Biden for the Wednesday riot strikes me as like getting caught with freshly baked cookie crumbs on your face and blaming your mother for making cookies in the first place. Blaming others (it is never me) also deflects the part we all play. The protest that preceded the riot had been planned for weeks, and the ensuing march on the Capitol had been known just as long. Rather than take appropriate precautions, no one bothered to establish adequate barricades or deploy enough police presence to deter the riot. Instead, we waited until after the riot to step up and place blame on “others.” There is enough blame to go around. Do the work. Change is coming and it starts with you.