Too many conservatives across social and traditional media are trying to compare the violence that happened in the wake of George Floyd’s death to the assault on the Capitol and democracy that took place last week. Some even try to claim that the riots last summer are to blame for the violence in Washington. It’s a bullshit comparison.  

The riots that broke out last summer resulted from the televised death of an unarmed Black man, Floyd, at the hands of police, following years of similar videos and protests that seemed to bring no change. The response was a collective scream of anger and frustration at the perceived injustice and continued racism that treats minorities differently than Whites. The political movement that emerged demands a change of culture within law enforcement. They want more prevention and less violence by cops. They want to be treated like people in predominantly White neighborhoods and their grievances are rooted in historical injustice that goes back to the founding of our country.

In contrast, the riot at the Capitol is rooted in conspiracy theories and inspired by the grifter in the White House. They believed they could take over the government in a coup. It might have been clownish, but was no less frightening. People attacked our democracy with a goal of using violence to strip power from duly elected officials. They wanted to kill the Vice President of the United States and the Speaker of the House. And, in the their fever world of Fox News and right-wing media, they are proud of what they did and are making plans to return for the inauguration. 

Republicans who claim Antifa is part of the Democratic coalition are just lying. Democrats, at all levels, have condemned the anarchists and Antifa does not see itself allied with Democrats. They are the illiberal left who use vandalism as a political tool and violence to combat neo-Nazis and other White supremacists groups. They are anti-authority, not pro-Democrat.

In contrast, those neo-Nazis see themselves as fully vested in the Trump coalition. The Proud Boys consider Trump their leader. When he told them to “Stand down and stand by,” they took the command as acknowledgement that he’s with them. They were at the Capitol to defend his conspiracy theory of voter fraud and undermine the will of the voters. They had no cause that is rooted in justice or any other core value of our country. They were there to destroy our government for the sake of a grifter.  

Condemn the vandalism of the George Floyd riots, fine. Argue that Democrats who run cities should have done more to control the destruction and reel-in the bad actors. But do not compare what happened in Washington last week to the protest movement of Black Lives Matter. The assault on the Capitol was an assault on our government. It was seditious and treasonous. The BLM protests are attempts to force the government to act, not to destroy it. They are not the same. 

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