By SUSAN K. SMITH
Crazy Faith Ministries
In the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol Building by MAGA enthusiasts, Trump supporters, there has been a repeated comparison voiced between the Black Lives Matter movement and the Capitol insurrection.
It bears mentioning that in addition, there have been accusations from the Right and from some MAGA members themselves that the violence that day was rendered by Antifa, not by MAGA, an assertion which has some MAGA members angry. While some are backing away from responsibility for what happened, others are criticizing them, saying that MAGA, who are this nation’s true patriots, absolutely did cause the violence in an effort to save “their country” from leftists who they believe stole the presidential election from the former president, as reported by The Atlantic.
In light of the troubling images of what happened on that day, it is not surprising that the perpetrators of the violence would want to shift responsibility on some other entity. But the justification of what they did voiced by some because of “what the Black Lives Matter” protesters did is wrong and totally disingenuous.
The unfortunate comparison was birthed by the former president himself, who said, in light of a BLM protest that was held in New York in June, that if BLM can protest against police violence, then he could hold public events, too, according to the New York Daily News.
But the comparison is dead wrong. BLM, though called now by a different name than in the past, has been an ongoing fight to bring attention to the injustice Black people suffer at the hands of police. The movements have been largely peaceful, although there have been spates of violence, but in general, these protests have been nonviolent. In light of the pandemic, participants in their protests have worn masks. In spite of their being nonviolent and complying with the law for the most part, they have been met by police in full riot gear who have not hesitated to use force in efforts to keep these people from walking, chanting and singing. They have thrown rocks and other items at police, true, but their intent was to make people see them and the situation that is common to all Black people. They had no intention of or desire to destroy or overturn the government. They desired to make the government do its job and be what its United States Constitution and Declaration of Independence says it is about.
And they were not, nor have they ever been, called into rebellion by the president of the United States.
The MAGA insurrectionists, in contrast, were called into action by the former president, who stoked their racial anger, hatred and fear from the moment he began his quest for the presidency. In his rallies, he encouraged violence; it was an expected part of his extemporaneous
remarks. His goal was to speak to their fear and he met that goal. On Jan. 6, following two months of spreading the lie that President Biden had not won the election, but that he had, by a landslide, he encouraged his people to fight in order to save their country and democracy. In spite of the large crowd, largely armed, there were few police on site and none in riot gear. There were no tanks, no tear gas (until later), no rubber bullets. Instead of challenging the rioters, the police were seen later on video helping them get inside the building, and helping to relieve some of their discomfort caused by tear gas.
This, in spite of the fact that the rioters were heard to say that they wanted to “kill the cops” and attack and murder Vice President Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
There is no comparison between BLM and MAGA. BLM is fighting to end white supremacy; MAGA is fighting to maintain and preserve it.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. She is available for speaking. Her latest book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: The Bible, the Constitution, and Racism in America is available at all booksellers. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.