Links am Sonntag, 10. Januar 2021

Zwei längere Artikel aus der Times und der Post, die ich beide abonniert habe; sie könnten hinter einer Paywall sein. Trotzdem Empfehlungen.

Die Post schreibt genauer über die Ereignisse im Kapitol, wie und wo genau die viel zu wenigen Polizeikräfte überrannt wurden und wie knapp einige Menschen dem Mob entgingen – es waren teilweise nur Sekunden. Der Artikel setzt die Attacke in den Kontext der Ereignisse, die diesem Tag vorausgingen.

Inside the Capitol siege: How barricaded lawmakers and aides sounded urgent pleas for help as police lost control

„The growing crowds outside the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon sounded menacing but at bay as senators began to debate challenges to the electoral college vote. A top adviser to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stepped out of the ornate chamber for a short break. Alone in the Capitol’s marble halls, just outside the chamber’s bronze doors, it was suddenly apparent that the citadel of U.S. democracy was falling to the mob incited by President Trump.

A cacophony of screaming, shouting and banging echoed from the floor below. McConnell’s security detail rushed past and into the chamber. The adviser began walking toward the Rotunda and came face to face with a U.S. Capitol Police officer sprinting in the opposite direction. The two made eye contact and the officer forced out a single word: “Run!” […]

House Democrats were also concerned. At a House Caucus meeting before Christmas, Rep. Maxine Waters of California asked where Capitol police would allow people to gather, and if they would be allowed on the Capitol plaza, the brick and paved area immediately around the building that leads to walking paths to the offices of lawmakers.

In the back of Waters’s mind was a 2010 incident when protesters had gathered against a vote on Obama’s health-care plan. Some surrounded and followed then Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) back toward his office, hurling racial epithets. One even spit on him.

In an hour-long conversation on New Year’s Eve, Waters said Sund told her he had a plan for keeping protesters far from the building. They would be corralled beyond the plaza, in a grassy area east of the Capitol, she recalled. If counterprotesters showed up, his officers would form a line between the two groups, and as a precaution for lawmakers, Capitol security would direct all members of Congress and their staffers to travel by the network of underground tunnels that connect the Capitol with House and Senate office buildings.

Waters recalled asking Sund what intelligence the force had about how big the gathering would be. Sund, she said, didn’t have a clear answer. She hung up the phone at her home in D.C. thinking, “They don’t know who’s coming. They don’t know whether any of these are violent groups.” […]

On the morning of the rally, lawmakers and their aides on their way to work passed a smattering of protesters around the Capitol. Many held or wore blue and red Trump 2020 flags and yellow-and-green “Don’t Tread on Me” banners. Homemade signs with QAnon symbols dotted the Mall. Most protesters were walking west toward the White House, near where Trump planned to address the crowd.

Inside their offices, lawmakers prepared for Republicans to force a marathon day — perhaps 12 hours or more of floor debate — before formalizing Biden’s victory. By around 1 p.m., as the joint session began, the mood in the crowd outside began to shift. Trump had just given a one-hour speech to thousands of supporters amassed on the Ellipse near the White House, excoriating his enemies and reiterating his baseless claims of fraud. GOP lawmakers, he emphasized, needed to take a stand.

“We’re going to the Capitol,” he said. “We’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.” The president added: “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

Trump returned to the White House; he did not go to Capitol Hill. But his supporters began streaming east along Pennsylvania Avenue.

They first reached the west side of the building — several blocks away from the area that Sund had told lawmakers was the designated protest area. The crowd grew 10 deep, then 20 deep as the soon-to-be rioters spilled in along all sides of the Capitol. In many places, a line of waist-high, movable metal barriers was all that separated protesters from clumps of police and the building. […]

At 2:14 p.m., Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.) had begun his speech objecting to Arizona’s electoral college results. As he spoke, Pelosi’s protective detail agents hustled her away. Moments later, there was yelling in the gallery, as staff and security details started to move around with a heightened sense of alarm. […]

A video captured by Igor Bobic, a congressional reporter for HuffPost on the scene, shows the officer trying to hold back a few dozen rioters who push him back and up the steps leading almost directly to the chamber.

For almost a minute, the officer held them back — at the exact moment that, inside the Senate, police were frantically racing around the chamber trying to lock down more than a dozen doors leading to the chamber floor and the galleries above.

“Second floor!” the officer yelled into his radio, alerting other officers and command that the mob had reached the precipice of the Senate.

Had the rioters turned right, they would have been a few feet away from the main entrance into the chamber. On the other side of that door, had they made their way into the Senate, were at least a half-dozen armed officers, including one with a semiautomatic weapon in the middle of the floor scanning each entrance for intruders.

Instead, the group — all White men — followed the Black officer in the other direction and met a group of police in a back corridor outside the Senate. At 2:16 p.m., Bobic tweeted a photo of a half-dozen police confronting the protesters. According to the contemporaneous notes of a Washington Post reporter inside the chamber, it was mere seconds of a differential: “2:15 p.m., Senate sealed.”“

Der Historiker Timothy Snyder über „Trump, the mob and what comes next“. Es geht auch um das verlorene Vertrauen in staatliche und kommunale Institutionen, ein Phänomen, das auch in Deutschland um sich greift, siehe die Corona-Leugner:innen, die sich durch ihre irrationale Verbundenheit wieder stark fühlen, wo sie sonst gegenüber der komplexen Lebenswirklichkeit Schwäche spüren. Snyder geht auf die rassistische Geschichte der demokratischen Wahlen in den USA ein.

Ich musste dabei an Hedwig Richters Demokratie denken, das ich gerade lese. Bei jeder US-Wahl wundere ich mich über die 1000 Hindernisse, deren Wählende begegnen, aber das war von Anfang an so und hat sich anscheinend nicht groß geändert. Der folgende Absatz beginnt Anfang des 19. Jahrhunderts:

„Zum Aufbau eines effizienten Staates gehörte auch die Erfassung und Durchdringung des Raums. Das mit Grenzen klar definierte Territorium nivellierte die Unterschiede und formte Adlige und Bauern, Herren und Untertanen zu ‚Einwohnern‘. Der Staat hatte nicht mehr lediglich ein Territorium, sondern er war wesentlich Staatsgebiet. […] Auch hier erwiesen sich Wahlen als ein Teil des Veränderungsprozesses. Ein modernes Wahlrecht erforderte einen klar definierten Wohnsitz. Meistens kam eine Mindestdauer hinzu, die der Wähler am Ort der Wahl und zudem in dem größeren Staatsterritorium gelebt haben muss. Die Kontrolle des Wohnortes aber gilt als zentrales Instrument moderner Staatsmacht. […] Die Kontrolle der Wohnsitzregelung bedurfte einer modernen effizienten Bürokratie. Ein Land wie die USA mit nur rudimentärer Bürokratie besaß keine feste Wählerregistratur und verlangte zunehmend – häufig während großer Einwanderungswellen –, dass die Wähler selbst vor jeder Wahl ihre Wahlbefugnis bei einer Registratur nachweisen sollten. Die Unfähigkeit der Staatsmacht, den Wohnort der Wähler zu registrieren, eröffnete zahlreiche Möglichkeiten der Wahlfälschung.“

(Hedwig Richter: Demokratie: Eine deutsche Affäre, München 2020, S. 53/54.)

The American Abyss

„When Donald Trump stood before his followers on Jan. 6 and urged them to march on the United States Capitol, he was doing what he had always done. He never took electoral democracy seriously nor accepted the legitimacy of its American version.

Even when he won, in 2016, he insisted that the election was fraudulent — that millions of false votes were cast for his opponent. In 2020, in the knowledge that he was trailing Joseph R. Biden in the polls, he spent months claiming that the presidential election would be rigged and signaling that he would not accept the results if they did not favor him. […] People believed him, which is not at all surprising. It takes a tremendous amount of work to educate citizens to resist the powerful pull of believing what they already believe, or what others around them believe, or what would make sense of their own previous choices. Plato noted a particular risk for tyrants: that they would be surrounded in the end by yes-men and enablers. Aristotle worried that, in a democracy, a wealthy and talented demagogue could all too easily master the minds of the populace. […]

In this sense, the responsibility for Trump’s push to overturn an election must be shared by a very large number of Republican members of Congress. Rather than contradict Trump from the beginning, they allowed his electoral fiction to flourish. They had different reasons for doing so. One group of Republicans is concerned above all with gaming the system to maintain power, taking full advantage of constitutional obscurities, gerrymandering and dark money to win elections with a minority of motivated voters. […] Yet other Republicans saw the situation differently: They might actually break the system and have power without democracy. […] For some Republicans, the invasion of the Capitol must have been a shock, or even a lesson. For the breakers, however, it may have been a taste of the future. Afterward, eight senators and more than 100 representatives voted for the lie that had forced them to flee their chambers. […]

Post-truth is pre-fascism, and Trump has been our post-truth president. When we give up on truth, we concede power to those with the wealth and charisma to create spectacle in its place. Without agreement about some basic facts, citizens cannot form the civil society that would allow them to defend themselves. If we lose the institutions that produce facts that are pertinent to us, then we tend to wallow in attractive abstractions and fictions. Truth defends itself particularly poorly when there is not very much of it around, and the era of Trump — like the era of Vladimir Putin in Russia — is one of the decline of local news. Social media is no substitute: It supercharges the mental habits by which we seek emotional stimulation and comfort, which means losing the distinction between what feels true and what actually is true. […]

The force of a big lie resides in its demand that many other things must be believed or disbelieved. To make sense of a world in which the 2020 presidential election was stolen requires distrust not only of reporters and of experts but also of local, state and federal government institutions, from poll workers to elected officials, Homeland Security and all the way to the Supreme Court. It brings with it, of necessity, a conspiracy theory: Imagine all the people who must have been in on such a plot and all the people who would have had to work on the cover-up. […] On the surface, a conspiracy theory makes its victim look strong: It sees Trump as resisting the Democrats, the Republicans, the Deep State, the pedophiles, the Satanists. More profoundly, however, it inverts the position of the strong and the weak. […]

When Senator Ted Cruz announced his intention to challenge the Electoral College vote, he invoked the Compromise of 1877, which resolved the presidential election of 1876. Commentators pointed out that this was no relevant precedent, since back then there really were serious voter irregularities and there really was a stalemate in Congress. For African-Americans, however, the seemingly gratuitous reference led somewhere else. The Compromise of 1877 — in which Rutherford B. Hayes would have the presidency, provided that he withdrew federal power from the South — was the very arrangement whereby African-Americans were driven from voting booths for the better part of a century. It was effectively the end of Reconstruction, the beginning of segregation, legal discrimination and Jim Crow. It is the original sin of American history in the post-slavery era, our closest brush with fascism so far.

If the reference seemed distant when Ted Cruz and 10 senatorial colleagues released their statement on Jan. 2, it was brought very close four days later, when Confederate flags were paraded through the Capitol.“

Von all den Bildern, die ich vom 6. Januar gesehen habe, hat mich dieses auch mit am meisten verstört, weil es sehr viel mehr transportiert als eine spontane Entladung von Gewalt – es setzt diese Gewalt in einen historischen Kontext: Die Flagge der aufständischen Südstaaten hat es auch im Bürgerkrieg nie bis in das Herz Washingtons geschafft. Das schafften erst Trump und sein Mob.