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Jan. 6th Anniversary: What Now?

We’ve begun to live in this bizarro world where internet trolling culture has blended seamlessly with events of historic consequence.
January 6, 2022
Tim Miller's Not My Party: The Danger Of Not Taking January 6 Seriously

[Editor’s note: Watch Not My Party every week on Snapchat.]

Tim Miller: It’s been one year since these rioters stormed the Capitol because a bull****-spewing egomaniac lied to them about fraud rather than taking his loss like a man.

Donald J. Trump: We will never give up. We will never concede.

Miller: So what’s changed?

Angry Jan. 6th guy: America!

Miller: This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark.

We’ve had a year to step back and think about all the political turmoil. Five dead. Over a hundred injured. Capitol police mauled—

Another Jan. 6th guy: You better run, cops!

Miller: —called the N-word. The seat of government used as a urinal by Confederate-flag-carrying Trumpers. All of this because of one boomer’s hurt feelings.

Trump: That was a rigged election.

Miller: When it all went down on January 6th, 2021, it felt like most of the country was united in rage and disgust over the despicable scene. Even these guys.

Sen. Mitch McConnell: January 6th was a disgrace.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy: The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters.

Miller: With a year’s distance, the scene can start to feel less real—and to some, even kind of silly.

Junior Soprano: You think this is funny?

Kimberly Guilfoyle transforming into Ursula: The best! Is yet! To come!

Miller: That shaman guy with the horns.

Madison Madison (Tracey Ullman in Death to 2021): Come on, the bison guy was hot. He was hot.

Miller: Rudy, with the hair dye dribbling down his face and the urine stain in his pants. The president hosting a meeting with the meth-head-turned-pillow-salesman in the White House.

Beck Bennett as Mike Lindell on SNL: Crack addict and adviser to a former president.

Miller: The Trump kid’s girlfriend dancing around like she’s at a KKK cotillion.

Coach Beard: She seems fuuuun.

Miller: It’s all just so stupid.

The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan in Watchmen): It’s a joke. It’s all a joke.

Miller: And I deeply worry that the stupidity of it all has led people to underappreciate the seriousness. And that may be the most important lesson from 1/6, a lesson that I fear will become increasingly relevant in our future politics.

Watergate “Deep Throat” (Hal Holbrook in All the President’s Men): These are not very bright guys and things got out of hand.

More angry Jan. 6th guys: Overran the Capitol! We’re in the fucking Capitol, bro!

Miller: We’ve begun to live in this bizarro world where internet trolling culture has blended seamlessly with events of historic consequence, where stupid message-board memes become reality.

Det. Jake Peralta: That’s a disturbing revelation.

Miller: Some neckbeard decides that the word “pizza” in Hillary’s emails is code for child sex trafficking, so another guy drives to D.C. to shoot up a pizza parlor.

Bruce Brazos (John Malkovich in Transformers: Dark of the Moon): WTF to that.

Miller: A brain-damaged pig farmer pretends to be a Deep State whistleblower and the next thing you know, scores of people are gathering in Dallas waiting for JFK Jr. to come back to life.

Darryl Philbin: Yeah, that’s crazy.

Miller: Some blowsy, jaundiced podcaster is ranting about stopping the steal and then hordes of people are spearing cops as they charge the Capitol.

Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper in American Sniper): Dangerous, feeling dangerous.

Miller: Our brains are having trouble processing. The things that feel like obvious jokes are actually our era’s version of the uprisings that seem so serious in history books.

Yet another angry Jan. 6th guy: This is our house. This is our country.

Miller: We still want to separate what happens on here [i.e., on our phones] from what’s happening out there. For many of the participants, the memes and the posts are part of some big game. They feel disconnected from their real life. But that’s not how the world works. Actions have consequences even if they take place on your screen. This concept has ramifications outside of politics.

Mr. Big Record Producer (from South Park): I’m above the law!

Miller: You don’t think some real live people are getting f*** over when Gamestonk crashes?

Vinny Daniel (Jeremy Strong in The Big Short): I don’t talk about that.

Miller: Worrying about that feels less fun than talking about diamond hands and rocket ships to the moon.

Kid on computer: Hold! Hold!

Miller: So, while this Very Online right-wing coup might not have been successful, it’s a prime example of the threats that are in front of us.

Still another angry Jan. 6th guy: Can I speak to Pelosi? Yeah, we’re coming, b***! Oh, Mike Pence? We’re coming for you too, you f*** traitor!

Miller: Cause right now, as we speak, a bunch of not-very-bright guys who are desperate for power are already planning to try to do it all over again and they are counting on all of us to treat what happened last year as some silliness that should be dismissed or ignored cause it feels disconnected from our real-life problems.

Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.): The House floor was never breached and it was not an insurrection.

Capitol Police officer, off-camera: Any chance I can get you guys to leave the Senate wing?

Miller: And if we keep doing that and treating this as some trolling gone awry, we will be blindsided when the next coup, or riot, or domestic terror attack, bubbles up from the dark corners of the internet and once again we have to experience it in front of our very eyes.

Trump: We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not gonna have a country anymore.

Miller: See you next week for more “Not My Party.”

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large and the author of the best-selling book Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump and communications director for Jeb Bush 2016.