Flickr – Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Law Enforcement.
Two years ago Donald Trump, refusing to accept defeat in the 2020 election, encouraged his supporters to attack the US Capitol on January 6th, in an attempt to hold onto power. Over these past two years, the foot soldiers who attacked the Capitol, causing mayhem, destruction, and death are slowly being brought to justice. Many have been charged with and convicted of sedition, and are now in prison. Hundreds of “the little people” still await trial or have not been apprehended yet. In contrast, Trump, Giuliani, Flynn, and sitting members of Congress, who all helped plan and organize the insurrection are free to walk amongst us, still spreading the “big lie”. Trump is still holding his hate-filled rallies where he continues to spout his lies and conspiracy theories.
In these past two years, we have had a mid-term election, where some people who have actively participated in the attack ran for Congress, and were elected. People who tried to overturn our democracy are now sitting in Congress. People like Matt Gaetz, Paul Gosar, Scott Perry, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Louie Gohmert, Lauren Boebert, and Jim Jordan, all Republican election deniers, have been implicated in the organization and planning of the insurrection and are still members of Congress! As far as we know the DOJ has not initiated any investigations of their conduct, despite testimony from the January 6th House Select Committee. Why?
Meanwhile, on January 8, 2023, supporters of former and recently defeated Brazilian President Bolsonaro attacked the Brazilian Congress and Supreme Court in response to Bolsonaro’s election loss to Lula Da Silva. As in this country’s insurrection, Bolsonaro and his supporters denied the election and called for Bolsonaro to be reinstated. It’s interesting to note that the scenario in Brazil matches exactly what Trump and his followers executed in this country. Even Steve Bannon had visited Brazil and voiced strong support for Bosonaro in his election fraud conspiracies. Soon after the January 8th attack in Brazil, Brazil’s Supreme Court initiated an investigation into Bolsonaro’s involvement in the attempted coup. The US Justice Department, on the other hand, just recently began to investigate Donald Trump.
It had appeared those law enforcement agencies tasked with protecting the Capitol were unprepared for such an event, but investigations have discovered that the FBI and Capitol police had known well in advance of the possibility of large crowds intent on violence. It was also disclosed that the Trump administration had prevented the National Guard from being called in sooner to quell the attack. In comparison, law enforcement agencies in Brazil appeared to have acted much sooner to prevent further injuries.
While the Brazilian Supreme Court started issuing indictments for the attack within a few days of the attack, the US Justice Department dragged its feet in even starting an investigation and didn’t do so until the January 6th Select Committee unearthed tons of evidence of who was responsible. Still today the major participants are allowed to roam free and continue to spread their anti-democratic conspiracy theories.
Democracy is still in its infancy in Brazil and the country is used to riots and civil unrest, so this attempted coup may not have been unexpected. But the government acted quickly to take control of the situation, most likely realizing this may happen again in the future. The January 6th coup attempt was in no way expected and the government was in no way prepared. Even after two years, the US government still doesn’t know what to do to prevent this from happening again in the future. The DOJ is hesitant to indict a former president because there is no “precedent” for doing so. They haven’t indicted sitting members of Congress because there is no “precedent”. There is no “precedent” of an attempted coup either, so the DOJ does nothing.
Very little has been done to prevent an insurrection from happening again, in part thanks to the very Republicans who took part in the insurrection. Because of the midterm elections of 2022, the DOJ declined to investigate or indict the candidates who took part in the insurrection or those sitting members of Congress who also took part in the insurrection. The election is over and the Republicans have barely taken control of the House of Representatives and the January 6th Select Committee has been abolished. And the DOJ still hasn’t done anything. The very people who took part in planning and orchestrating the insurrection are now in control of the House of Representatives. The attack on our democracy continues.
The presidential election of 2024 is looming ahead and Donald Trump has already announced his candidacy, I’m sure hoping this will protect him from indictment by the DOJ. If Merrick Garland is hesitant to indict candidates for Congress, he certainly won’t indict Trump. Why is the DOJ so slow in going after the former president and his henchman? Are they afraid of MAGA or are they complicit? There is a strong possibility that Trump could be indicted in New York State and Georgia and perhaps Garland thinks that this will take him off the hook.
I don’t know how Brazil’s democracy will fare in the future, but it appears the government is actively trying to bring to justice, those who were responsible and taking the necessary actions to prevent future attacks on her democracy. I am not so optimistic about our country’s democracy surviving. With a Department of Justice that is crippled with fear of going against “precedent” or being involved in the insurrection and a Congress comprised of the very participants in the coup, I see little hope. I fear that the insurrection is not over, but is slowly continuing. As a student of history, I cannot forget Hitler’s first attempt at a coup failed, but because of Germany’s inaction to hold him accountable, he eventually succeeded. And we all know how that ended!