When several hundred extremists mobbed Capitol Hill on Jan. 6, they engaged in a deplorably un-American act of criminality. It was an embarrassing day for the nation, and a dangerous one for the many innocent people and officials engulfed in the mayhem.
Here’s what Jan. 6 wasn’t:
It wasn’t the “worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.” Nor did it veer anywhere near the vicinity of being as dangerous as 9/11. Nor was it a “coup” or an “insurrection” — not in any way we commonly understand those words. It wasn’t a “putsch.” Nor did it, as the chairman of the Jan. 6 committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, claimed, come “dangerously close to succeeding” in upending “American democracy.” That’s all a myth. It was a riot. Or, as Christopher Caldwell more forgivingly called it in The New York Times, perhaps “a political protest that got out of control.”
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