Speak out for the innocent on Jan. 6

Trump supporters talk with capitol police inside the capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Some fraction of the unknown thousands of January 6 rioters at the U.S. Capitol a year ago assaulted police officers, destroyed federal property and stole things that didn’t belong to them. Those who engaged in such direct criminal dumbassery should be, and most are being, prosecuted and penalized to the full extent of the law.

Others however committed no crime other than walking into the capitol building as part of a peaceful protest – indeed, into a building that literally belongs to them. Yet they’re being figuratively crucified by the failing Biden Administration, its Department of Justice and Leftist culture for nothing short of the crime of daring to espouse their political beliefs. 

Americans who’ve done nothing wrong shouldn’t be treated this way, but they are. It is to them we should pay tribute this January 6.

Thousands of Jan. 6 rally goers who flowed into the capitol grounds after those violent thugs found doors to the capital already open. In some cases those doors – as shown by capitol surveillance video – were actually being held open for them by Capitol Police while those folks meandered into the building.

It’s clear from video evidence some violent rioters are rightfully charged, but it’s also clear the only crime of some of those political activists is that they were there. They should get the same prosecutorial leniency shown rioters on the day of President Trump’s inauguration in 2017 and Black Lives Matter riots in the summer of 2020. And even some liberals are saying so.

But the narrative spun with gusto by the Biden Administration, the D.C. Deep State and their mainstream media allies is working overtime to justify going squirrel hunting with a machine gun. Anyone at Trump’s protest rally was an enemy of the state, they wail; bent on overthrowing the government of the United States by insurrection – albeit the first unarmed insurrection in world history. The picture they want to paint is clear and indelible – the minions and the ring leader Trump need to be locked away in Gitmo and forgotten along with all the other terrorist threats to the United States

 The problem for Biden’s government and for other well-placed Leftists is that half the country isn’t buying it. Not only are the radical Leftist caretakers who now guide the feeble president’s hand confronting blowback from a conservative segment of the country which is unrelenting, now they’re having to make excuses for the record-breaking disaster of Biden’s first year in office and his utter failure to “end” the pandemic. Couple those challenges with the shifty legal sands on which many of the threats of prosecution against Jan. 6 rally attendees are based, and the politics of retreat on many of those lesser prosecutions grows more and more valuable.

At this point more than 700 “Stop The Steal” rally participants have been charged, while thousands more have been threatened and intimidated by FBI agents, “doxed” with their identities and home addresses made public and their reputations and careers destroyed by cancel culture. Many of the 65 people already sentenced in connection with the event were cajoled into plea deals by federal harassment and the knowledge that their own resources to pay for their legal defense were no match for the forces of the federal government which are allied against them. Many in fact were held for months in D.C. jails without bail – a point that even rallied some Democrats to speak in their defense.

The effect on those so far prosecuted has gone beyond enforcing law and order. It’s been precisely what Biden’s Leftists had in mind – to bleed out resistance from the grass roots that support their political opponents.

Legally speaking, many of those who walked through the capitol that day did so after the 2:30 p.m. suspension of the joint session of congress, so they can’t be prosecuted for “corruptly obstructing” a official proceeding as per the statute under which hundreds have been charged (18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2).) A proceeding which has ended obviously can’t be “obstructed,” legal analysts say. There’s even legal precedent from the John Poindexter trial during the Iran/Contra prosecutions of the 1980s which points out the word “corruptly” is too vague a term to be defined within the obstruction statute itself.

What is in fact corrupt are the extraneous outside-the-law motivations for the destruction of any and all who attended the Jan. 6 rally to voice their political beliefs – simply because many hiding within the power structure of our government disagree with them.

The U.S. Constitution provides a framework to prosecute those who break the law, and it also protects those who don’t. January 6 should be a day to pay tribute to both.

– Dane Hicks is publisher of The Anderson County Review in Garnett, Kan.