Borrok: We need to talk about the attempted coup

Ben Borrok, Opinion Editor

Over two weeks ago, in an attempt to overturn the will of the people, Trump supporters forced their way into the U.S. Capitol, prompting members of Congress to enter a lockdown. With seemingly no resistance, protesters helped themselves to pictures in the Senate chamber, trespassed into the offices of politicians, and stole items of national importance.

In the immediate aftermath, we learned two things: the media — and Capitol Police — were massively underprepared for an event of this magnitude, and that it would take time to truly understand the ramifications of what transpired.

If you spend a regular amount of time on the internet, you have inevitably run into the cult-community of QAnon and their hyperfixation on January 6th after the election results were announced. QAnon is hard to understand, but it seems to be a summation of all the conspiracy theories that have floated around social media.

The entity Q, a 4chan moderator who claimed to have ties to the government, had prophesied that Donald Trump would uncover a deep state cabal intent on sexually abusing children and destroying America. The cabal was allegedly composed, uncoincidentally, entirely of Democrats and demands complete dedication to the Trump administration.

Initially a fringe group with little support, QAnon started to garner support in forums across the internet. Rather than distance themselves from a conspiracy rooted in racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and xenophobia, many Republicans welcomed it with open arms in an utterly pathetic attempt to win over more voters. Those Republicans aided in legitimizing and spreading QAnon to the party’s mainstream platform. On multiple occasions, former President Trump also retweeted QAnon influencers and other Republicans had made or been seen in merchandise featuring symbols of Q.

The signs for an attempted insurrection were there, in the rhetoric of these online-turned domestic terrorist groups. So many of the details surrounding the planned coup were readily available to the online public, that Twitter journalists and other popular users notified the Capitol Police about the QAnon groups.

So many of the insane beliefs and ideologies floating into the Republican party platform have originated in online forums for Q and other right-wing hate groups. If respected media institutions had just taken the time to properly investigate and alert the American public to hate speech and threats to our nation, we may have been able to end this movement long before we arrived at the situation we have today.

A growing portion of our country is utterly convinced that President Joe Biden and the Democratic Party will reign in an era of Satan worshipping to rid the nation of Christian values. As arrests roll in, unveiling plans that were in place to take in hostages and steal government secrets, there still doesn’t seem to be enough coverage of what really took place. Pictures of those arrested are often adjoined by humorous captions, rather than properly vilifying those who wanted to overthrow the government.The usual press coverage given to white mass-shooters and domestic terrorists is in action yet again, almost downplaying the coup as a tour of the Capitol that just happened to get out of hand.

U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) who had been on the frontlines of delegitimizing the election results in a blind pledge to their president-king Trump, are now working on distancing themselves from their actions, as expected. Now, as Hawley and Cruz attempt to gaslight the United States into forgetting that they supported threats ahead of the disorder on Jan. 6th, they need to be punished, along with those who stormed the Capitol.

Claims that we need to move past the coup for the sake of unity is nonsensical. How could we possibly reconcile with a group that has so brazenly threatened our nation? Why should the rest of us look past this, while insurrectionists continue to move the goalposts of their conspiracy and plan further action?

These next four years will be defined by the Democrats ability to push forward with meaningful legislation, but more importantly, it will be defined by Republicans and their efforts to rid their party of hate groups and conspiracies.

Ben Borrok is a School of Communication junior. He can be contacted at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this op-ed, send a Letter to the Editor to [email protected]. The views expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect the views of all staff members of The Daily Northwestern.