Revolution, Or Insurrection?

The rioters breaking into the nation’s Capitol called it a revolution. Multiple government officials called it an insurrection. Which label can truly be used to describe the Capitol Hill uprising?

On January 6, rioters descended upon Capitol Hill, resulting in the deadliest U.S riot in two centuries.

Antonia Zong on

On January 6, rioters descended upon Capitol Hill, resulting in the deadliest U.S riot in two centuries.

 There certainly have been revolutions and uprisings against democracy before. In fact Egypt became the first nation to revolt against its democratic government in 2013, though the protesters’ efforts failed to succeed. 

   In this newly born democracy, military leaders attempted the coup d’état against President Mohammad Morsi, who was the elected president of the people of Egypt. It’s well understood that military coup d’états weren’t all that rare, especially in the face of a new form of government in Egypt. 

   However, that so-called “revolution” arose in a nation that was foreign to the principles of democracy. 

   So what would the world think if the heart of democracy and popular sovereignty were to have a “revolution” against the results of the people’s election? 

   Not by power-hungry military officials or politicians, but by the U.S’s own citizens who led a vicious attack on Capitol Hill just two weeks before the presidential inauguration. 

   On January 6, 2021, Trump supporters nationwide decided to lay siege upon the U.S Capitol in what was described as the deadliest U. S riot in two centuries. 

   A sea of “TRUMP” flags rippled across Capitol Hill, while rioters cheered when they heard any sound of destruction. 

    It also should be mentioned of the irony of this Capitol uprising. The people are rioting against the election results of a democracy

   Half of the nation called the event an insurrection. The other half called it a revolution. 

   But what exactly counts as a revolution? Of course violence has played a crucial factor in past revolutions, but violence without a clear purpose couldn’t be described as a revolution. 

   Well, it turns out the rioters did in fact have a motive, and that was to make the American people choose America again. Ashli Babbitt, the woman shot and killed while attacking the Capitol, tweeted a video while shouting “Our economy is going to take an absolute tank because you guys refuse to choose America over your stupid political party.” 

   With the message seemingly directed towards the upcoming leadership of President-elect Biden, hundreds of rioters shared the same sentiment. 

    If it truly is a revolution they intend to bring, perhaps we should take a look at Crane Brinton’s four common stages of a revolution. 

   He donned the first stage as the incubation stage, with symptoms such as economic crises, government injustices, or weak rulers. Let’s factor out the economic crisis first, since Trump supporters especially seem to be so passionate towards this subject. “Our economy is going to take an absolute tank.” Babbitt said. 

   However, the U.S economy might not be as weak or as strong as she thinks it is. It is assured that the U.S economy truly wasn’t weak during the Trump administration, with GDP trends showing that the economy prior to the Covid-19 pandemic was very strong with an average 2.3% growth during his first three years. 

   But when the pandemic raged across the nation, the economy inevitably took a major hit. And although President Trump has boasted about the quick recovery of the economy, it would be a lie to say that the U.S’s recovery is up to par with the rest of the world. 

   From July to September of 2020, the U.S economy grew by 7.4%, which is less than Germany and Italy. Even though the U.S has fared better than European countries long term, the American economy still fell short from Asian economies such as China or South Korea. 

   With Trump out of office in January, the U.S won’t lose its economic reputation easily, especially since the recovery period was never as grandiose as Trump had projected. But because Trump did indeed raise the average economic growth substantially, the U.S economy won’t be as vulnerable as Trump supporters think it will be. 

   Revolutions to overthrow corrupt governments are well-known throughout history, but revolutions in support of the current government leader don’t frequent history textbooks too often. As Trump supporters are known for their pride and devotion to their president, there’s not enough factual drive for a revolution, so their recent “protest” can only be identified as an angry uprising against unfavorable election results. 

   While stage one has been achieved to some biased extent, the Trump revolutionaries seem to have skipped over stage two, the moderate stage where protesters try to compromise and reform. 

   President Trump certainly allowed no room for discussion and compromise when he voiced his support to the protesters out on Capitol Hill moments before the riot. Like their president, avid Trump supporters can often be brazen with both their actions and words. 

  With the possibility of peace thrown out the window, rioters skipped straight to stage three of a revolution, the crisis stage. Violence increases, radicals take control, and the implementation of harsh justice upon a government body. 

   With 5 deaths and Washington D.C under a state of emergency, the violence and dangerous determination of these Trump supporters have been evident. 

  But this event couldn’t be called a revolution. After all, the purpose of the break-in that day was irony in its truest form. 

   Rioters forced their way into the nation’s Capitol, all to override the sole decision that makes the U.S at the heart of democracy. 

   They say that they fight for America, but do they truly? 

   No respect for the elected House representatives, no regard for the unruly image of the U.S that has been projected to the world, and no respect for the very country that they’re claiming to protect. 

   A revolution needs attainable and reasonable goals. Revolutionaries allow for compromise and a chance at peace before destruction. Revolutions for the people have the people’s best interests in mind, not just the best interest of one specific group of people.

   The U.S is a diverse nation, a melting pot of cultures and sentiments. The siege upon Capitol Hill violated the American people’s popular sovereignty, by the president and his people no less.

   2021 has started with a bang, not with a revolution, but by an insurrection.