From The Washington Post, by Alexandra Petri:
Let me see if I have this straight. I am just trying to organize all the things that I have been told, with a straight face, to believe about the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol. First, this was just a normal tour, full of people with a “jovial, friendly, earnest demeanor.” These “very special” people arrived at the Capitol because the election had been stolen from them, but they meant no harm; the gallows they erected was just … well, we’ll come back to that. These people were going to bring, they tweeted, the Calvary (“a public display of Christ’s crucifixion, a central symbol of her Christian faith with her to the president’s speech, a symbol of faith, love and peace”), not the cavalry. It was in this positive, uplifting spirit that a man went into House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and left her the inoffensive note, “Hey Nancy, Bigo was here biatd,” which wasn’t ominous because it meant nothing at all.
But also, the events of Jan. 6 were all Nancy Pelosi’s fault, because she denied the Capitol Police the support they needed, although they didn’t need the support because it was good that the tourists were there having a pleasant, wonderful, jovial day (except for the antifa provocateurs, who weren’t, but they were only visible to some people who were sufficiently pure in heart), and they barely had any weapons at all and meant no harm.
Do I have it right? It doesn’t matter. The people saying this don’t care. They are just saying these things to see how much we are willing to swallow.
The number of cartoonish things that we have been asked, with apparent seriousness, to believe about the events of Jan. 6 would be comical if we did not have to live here. There is a kind of bleak comedy in people demanding that you see something that is, quite plainly, not there. But not if people start actually seeing it.
Take Rep. Elise Stefanik’s claims, at a press conference Tuesday morning, that Pelosi was to blame for the events of that day. Yes, of course. That’s what it was. Nancy Pelosi sat cackling at her desk and observed that all her dominoes were in line, at long last. It was she who had made Donald Trump organize a “Stop the Steal” rally on the mall, knowing what would inevitably follow. And of course it was she who coordinated the men wandering the halls of the Capitol, calling “Nancy …” in a haunting sing-song.
What do they take us for?
What they are asking us to believe is palpably absurd. And that’s the point.
At the very end of “The Taming of the Shrew,” Petruchio has worn down Katherine to the point that he decides to have a little fun and start obliging her to state that she does not see what she sees. That’s not the sun, he says; it’s the moon. That’s not the moon; it’s the sun. What matters is not any particular of what he says is happening, merely that he has the power to compel her to deny the reality of what she sees. “Be it moon or sun, or what you please,” Katherine says. “…But sun it is not, when you say it is not, and the moon changes even as your mind. What you will have it named, even that it is, and so it shall be so for Katherine.”
The point is not that the Unified Trump GOP Canon for What Truly Happened on Jan. 6 is being continually and contradictorily rewritten. The point is not that what we are being told is absurd, inconsistent and downright goofy. The point is that the specifics don’t matter; what matters is that we are being told, blatantly, repeatedly and without shame, that we simply did not see what we saw, and we are expected to go along with it. This is an exercise in power, to see how malleable our reality really is.
It is because of this that the Jan. 6 commission is so sadly necessary. We did see what we saw. It is too important to let that fact get drowned out.