On NPR the other morning, the commentator, a researcher on the January 6, 2021 insurrection, suggested that the data show that the majority of arrested January-6’ers hail from blue counties in the North and Midwest—counties and districts where white-run governments are increasingly becoming minority-run. He, like others who have reported similar findings, seemed surprised; however, he also interpreted the data as ominous. Ominous indeed.
Since last January 6, podcasters, President Biden, politicians, and talking news heads have all railed against the continuing threat to democracy. But why did it take an insurrection to figure out that the threat was endemic, and that it has been festering since the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s? It’s not some uber-evangelicals or even southerners who, for the most part, have protected their white supremacy. It’s not just the white supremacists, or the anti-abortionists. They still believe in democracy. And, it’s not just the Neo-Nazis. It’s the Rust Belt factory workers whose jobs are gone, or the white family whose child did not get into the college of his/her choice because of affirmative action. It’s the white-collar worker who was passed up for promotion because of equity issues in the workplace. It’s the regular guy and gal next door who feel victimized by the success of civil rights legislation and let down by their government.
This backlash has been festering for sixty years, and now we are worried? As I said in earlier blogs, “We have met the enemy, and it is us.”