Who are the Real Crisis Actors in Our Democracy?

The only crisis actors during the Capitol insurrection were the domestic terrorists posing as patriots.

The unthinkable crisis they created in our democracy was all too real.

Worst Performance

Fox News Laura Ingraham

Fox News Laura Ingraham gives “Best Performance Awards to Cops who testified about Capitol riots.

Shame on you Laura Ingraham.

How dare you Tucker Carlson for continuing to smear and refer to the four heroic officers who testified in Congress as crisis actors. These brave police officers are the true patriots who risked their own lives on January 6 while self righteous talking heads sat smugly and safely in their heated, well appointed TV studios at Fox News.

I’m Not Just Whistlin Dixie

These so called American patriots that the right wing media have idealized, this angry, violent mob who stormed our capitol destroying public property in their wake, their so called freedom-loving faces distorted with rage, entitlement and hate all while waving good ol’ American Confederate flags.

Nothing says patriotism like the old stars and bars!

No, they were not camera toting tourists, but baseball bat bearing, wooden club weilding, bear spray spritzing men and women emboldened by Donald Trump, a consummate actor himself. With his battle cry of fake news, this pseudo president and pseudo patriot who thrives on chaos and crises, sent out a casting call to the basketful of deplorables that Hillary Clinton warned us about.

U.S. Capitol Police Pfc. Harry Dunn wipes his eye as he testifies during Tuesday’s House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack. During his testimony, Dunn said rioters hurled racial epithets at him and other Black officers.

These good citizens, fine people, God fearing-bible-quoting- neighborly folk, clinging like a life raft onto outdated privileges arbitrarily assigned in another century when whiteness was deemed superior, addressed an officer of a law in the hallowed halls of our Capital as a “nigger.”

Not as a man trained and committed to protecting the seat of our democracy and our elected officials.

Nigger the slur spewed with such ease, such familiarity from their self righteous mouths, its very sound evoking its dark history, the word reeking of racial hierarchy and  powerlessness.

Sure Blue Lives Matter except when they are black.

The rest of us choked on that stench of the word’s legacy, an assault to our ears and common decency as we listened to Police Officer Harry Dunn recount his experience that day. Yet to the fine folks at Fox and the right wing media, the mob were the true patriots.

The emotional, gut wrenching accounting of that horrific day by the four officers couldn’t possibly be real, Tucker Carlson sneered. His loyal listeners lapped it up.

The tapes we all saw of the violent mob, was indeed drama of the highest level. A Shakespearean tragedy. But this was no theatrics. The injuries sustained by these officers both physically and emotionally were tragically real, evidence of their courage.

But no sooner had they emerged as heroes than they were branded as phonies by the right wing media. Crises actors.

Imposters

But this is not the first time in our history this has happened.

Cries of crisis actors isn’t a new smear.

Courageous Americans have long been undermined by conspiracy theories. It’s what happened in Parkland, Florida and in Sandy Hook. This belief that somehow those witnessed to a school shooting who saw friends die could not be motivated on their own to protest and need outside direction to be labeled crisis actors.

And it happened 61 years  when the none African Americans teens who sustained racist crowds to enroll in Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas in 1957 were also accused of being imposters.

Not unlike today, Little Rock was a moment of turmoil a lightning rod for American values and democracy. When the brave black teens integrated Central High School   many segregationists insisted they were paid protesters who had been imported from other states. Fake news.

False rumors that the Little Rock Nine were paid protesters even forced the NAACP to issue a statement condemning the stories as “pure propaganda.” The students were not, in fact, “imported” from the North, said the NAACP’s Clarence A. Laws, but rather the children of local residents, including veterans.

But the practice of dismissing witnesses to major historical events as mere paid crisis actors goes back even further than Little Rock. It is a theme that crops up in history especially civil rights history.

The crisis actor slur dates back to shortly after the Civil War, when former slaves who testified before Congress were slandered by Southern politicians as stooges paid to lie about their experiences.

In December 1865, six months after the war’s end, Congress convened a special Joint Committee on Reconstruction to “inquire into the condition of the States which formed the so-called Confederate States of America, and report whether they, or any of them, are entitled to be represented in either house of Congress.”

The committee took testimony from 144 witnesses, including former slaves who described in detail the decades of horrors they had endured. But there was a problem getting their testimony as many African Amricans  couldn’t afford to travel to Washington or take time away to testify. Congress realized they had a problem. So they began to pay the people testifying before the committeea per diem and they helped pay their travel expenses.

The Dixie Democrats saw this and cried: “This is outrageous. You are paying them to lie to keep yourselves in power and to force policies down our throats that we hate.” And with their logic they argued that obviously  these people are lying about what happened because they are getting a payoff.

The same thing happened in the 1870s when African Americans again testified before Congress about the Ku Klux Klan.

Hundreds of black women and men played a remarkable role, coming forward to testify during the hearings. Outraged Democratic committee members tried to discredit their testimony, equating the two-dollar-a-day allowance that witnesses received to bribery and accusing local Republicans of coaching them.

With the rise of the civil rights movement half a century later, black voices were again shouted down with baseless claims.

When three civil rights workers went missing in Philadelphia, Miss., in the summer of 1964, “segregationists said, ‘Oh, this is all a hoax. They were paid to do this, this was their plan all along, they want to draw sympathy to the plight of blacks down here.” They claimed they were off laughing it up in Communist Cuba.

In fact the 3 men had been murdered by the Klan.

This need to undermine and control the collective response to tragedy runs deep in our country and the narrative of the Capitol insurrection is just the latest example fanned by the right.

With the flag of the Confederacy waving in the halls of Congress it is all too eerily familiar.

And that is tragic.

 

11 comments

  1. Pierre Lagacé

    Powerful post Sally getting what is happening in perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Pierre. Witnessing this travesty in real-time has been just gut-wrenching. Knowing the long history makes it heart breaking.

    Like

  3. Pierre Lagacé

    The sad part Sally is this is far from over. It doesn’t take a PHD in history to know what is coming.

    Like

  4. Sally, voting to not seat a nonpartisan committee to investigate what happened on January 6 and the period before and since is extremely poor stewardship. My wife and I watched the four officers testify and were both moved and impressed by their courage. Their comments were both believable and pertinent. While I disagree with Republican Liz Cheney on many policy issues, her opening remarks were dead-on accurate.

    As an Independent and former Republican and Democrat voter, we must get to the bottom of this and never let it happen again. It matters not which party gains and which one suffers. Full stop.

    And, there is a reason Jim Jordan was denied being part of the committee – he may need to be called as a witness, so he would have conflict of interest. As Cheney told Jordan on the floor when those “tourists” were besieging the Capitol, she would not take his arm and said curtly “You caused this.” Keith

    Like

  5. Reblogged this on Rcooley123's Blog and commented:
    Another awesome post from Envisioning the American Dream blog. We need to make sure that both the perpetrators and those who urged the violence in the Capitol on 1/6/21 are held accountable for the harm done on that date as well as the even worse consequences that would have come about if the coup attempt had succeeded.

    Never again should a group be allowed to steal political power in this country by force – negating the voice of the people as expressed by the results of a legitimate election. This nation must send a message to those contemplating similar attacks on our democracy – starting with those a the top of the trash heap (Does the name “Donald Trump” ring a bell here?)

    This coup attempt has not succeeded in attaining its main goals of forcefully and Unconstitutional replacing a freely elected President with a soundly defeated charlatan seeking to become an unrestrained autocratic dictator.

    Trump is certainly not alone in his criminal culpability that resulted in the events of January 6th. The vast majority of elected officials – those who have excused these events and sought to convince the American People to accept the lies being put forth by the white supremacist and undemocratic fascist right wing extremists. They are, in fact, the worst of the worst domestic terrorists facing us today. The House select committee charged with brining the facts of exactly what happened, who did it and why. The GOP needs to reverse its compliance with the Trump agenda. If it will not do so, it must be soundly defeated in all future election by those among us willing and able to truly represent the interests of the people they seek to govern.

    Thank you for writing this timely and insightful essay. I urge all who do not currently follow your blog to consider doing so. -rjc

    Like

    • Thanks Rick for the shout out and support and for your always astute observations and clarity. Although all roads lead straight back to Trump, there is plenty of culapability to go around and this coming election will be crucial in defeating anyone remotely sympathetic to sympathizing with these traitors.

      Like

  6. Reblogged this on Redvince's Weblog and commented:
    Thanks Sally, good work!

    Liked by 1 person

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