With the release of some 40,000 hours of surveillance footage from January 6th came hysterical responses from the usual suspects. Adam Kinzinger and Jamie Raskin were quick to weigh in, decrying the move toward transparency. Then there was Liz Cheney.
Cheney spent the waning years of her political career obsessing over January 6th until voters finally sent her home for good. In the aftermath of her Wyoming primary defeat, grand predictions that Cheney would become more powerful than ever graced airwaves and front pages. In the end, though, she quickly fell into obscurity having lost the one thing that made her relevant.
Like a crack fiend getting a lead on a new score, though, Cheney jumped back into the fray following the release of the January 6th footage.
Here’s some January 6th video for you.
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) November 17, 2023
Yes, Liz, we’ve seen that video dozens of times at this point. It was played during the January 6th hearings. It was played over and over on cable news networks. It’s been posted thousands of times on social media sites. And yet, it is completely irrelevant to the broader revelations of the newly released footage.
Why? Because one act does not denote another act. Just because someone outside a building punched someone does not mean a different person inside the building punched someone. As is common with chaotic situations, there are often a large number of people present who have no intention to commit violent acts and ultimately do not do so despite being in the vicinity.
In essentially every other riotous situation that I can recall, that distinction has been made both rhetorically and practically. Who can forget the “firey but mostly peaceful” riots during the Summer of 2020? In that case, thousands of people were not arrested or pursued despite being adjacent to violent acts and looting. Just a few days prior to this writing, pro-Hamas protesters tried to storm the Democratic National Committee. A single person was arrested.
Yet, when it comes to January 6th, we aren’t allowed to say that there is a difference between those who fought police officers and those who wandered aimlessly taking selfies. What exactly is Liz Cheney so afraid of? Why is she so terrified of and triggered by the American public having a fuller picture of what occurred at the Capitol that day?
The answer is simple. Cheney and others see January 6th as a political bludgeon, and for it to be effective, their narrative must be airtight. There can be no nuance. There can’t be any participants who just got caught up in the chaos. Instead, every single person who approached and entered the Capitol Building must be painted as an insidious insurrectionist with that express intent. Otherwise, the day becomes just a little bit less significant, and we can’t have that, can we?