Defining Insurrection Grossly Downward Just to Get Donald Trump
If you want to see what an actual insurrection looks like, read Klan War with all of its gritty and disturbing details of what occurred for eight years when thousands were killed.
The Left’s zealous mission to take down Donald Trump has no boundaries. From 2016 through today, we’ve seen them use and abuse every possible means to stop, undermine, remove, impeach, bar, and imprison him. “By any means necessary” has come to mean everything short of assassinating him—though several on the Left have said that part out loud, too. Tucker Carlson genuinely believe the Left will try to or succeed at assassinating Trump before allowing him to regain the White House in 2024. I’m not quite as fatalistic, but, as someone who has been and whose family has been explicitly threatened with death by the Left on two occasions, I know what level of crazy comes out of the Left’s nihilism.
I raise this issue because I just finished reading a very interesting book covering the Reconstruction Era. Before I get to that book, let me layout for you the legal bases of insurrection under U.S. law. First, Public Law 9-39 enacted on March 3, 1807 and known as the Insurrection Act of 1807 states:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That in all cases of insurrection, or obstruction to the laws, either of the United States, or of any suppressing individual state or territory, where it is lawful for the President of the United States to call forth the militia for the purpose of suppressing such insurrection, or of causing the laws to be duly executed, it shall be lawful for him to employ, for the same purposes, such part of the land or naval force of the United States, as shall be judged necessary, having first observed all the prerequisites of the law in that respect.
Over our nation’s history, it was invoked to deal with Native American uprisings, labor unrest, the Civil War, Reconstruction, desegregation, riots, and lawlessness after national disasters. Other sections deal with insurrection similarly reference empowering the President using the law against those engaged in insurrection (see 10 U.S.C. sections 331-335; 10 U.S.C. section 254; and Title 10, Chapter 13).
Criminally, 18 U.S.C. section 2383 contains broader language that clearly would include the President if he ran afoul of the law. It states:
Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
With all of his unchecked power, Special Counsel Jack Smith still didn’t charge Trump under section 2383. Though the Left casually dismisses or ignores this irrefutable fact, Trump has not be charged with insurrection or rebellion under this statute by any prosecutor (i.e., not one of the 91 counts against him in the four indictments is for insurrection). I don’t believe any of the 1/6ers have been charged with insurrection either. This failure is key to why state action removing Trump from the ballot in 2024 ultimately will fail.
That omission brings me to the book, Klan War: Ulysses S. Grant and the Battle to Save Reconstruction, by Fergus Bordewich. We do our kids and Grant an enormous disservice by our failure over the last 150 years to teach about what happened AFTER the Civil War ended in 1865. When it comes to civil rights, other than Democrat President and pro-eugenicist Woodrow Wilson’s support for the Klan as evidenced by him screening the pro-Klan movie,The Birth of a Nation, at the White House, we largely skip to the late 1950s and pick up with the Little Rock Nine followed by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s valiant fight for civil rights. Klan War goes into great detail about the decade we all know as the Reconstruction Era when the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were added to the U.S. Constitution which were supposed to provide citizenship, equal rights, and the power to vote to black Americans (both those who were free before 1865 and those enslaved up until 1865).
The Reconstruction Amendments did do what they were supposed to do, but only until the U.S. Supreme Court egregiously gutted them, Grant left the presidency, and the northern states lost interest in fixing the former states of the Confederacy. The next 100 years proved to be very hard ones for black Americans, especially those south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
After watching Andrew Johnson undermine the rights of black Americans after the Civil War and ignore the rise of the Ku Klux Klan across the American South, Grant used the full force of the federal government to defeat the Klan. The fact was that the insurrection of the confederate states in 1861 that led to the Civil War and the death of over 700,000 Americans was shortly followed up after the Civil War by the insurrection of large numbers of citizens in those states who birthed and populated the Klan.
The post-Civil War insurrection by the Klan involved, among other acts,:
The assassination of politicians;
The whipping of blacks and Republican whites;
The burning down of homes of blacks and Republican whites;
The castration of black men;
The raping of scores of women and children;
The beating of men, women, and children;
The forced exodus of blacks and Republican whites;
The deprivation of the right to vote;
The killing via hanging, shooting, beheading, or beating of roughly 2,000 blacks; and
The acquittal of guilty Klan members for the above acts.
These acts occurred all over the American South from 1868 to 1876. Only after Grant went to war with the Klan did it largely end with the conviction of Klan members by federal officers in courtrooms comprised of mixed juries. Roughly, 1,150 Klan members were convicted between 1870 and 1877. Sadly, the northern states grew tired of this fight, so all of the advances made by Grant, which included the election of hundreds of blacks to political offices ranging from mayor to U.S. Senator, crumbled once he left office. Many of those convicted by Grant were released or granted clemency—despite hard proof they murdered Americans. Shortly thereafter, the Jim Crow Era came roaring in, which functionally rendered blacks as second class citizens with few real rights for the next 100 years and with another 4,400 blacks being killed.
This history is important because we must not allow the extreme radical Left of this era to paint with the same broad brushstrokes that what happened on January 6, 2021, was an insurrection like the eight-year Klan War in which thousands died. January 6 was a peaceful protest aimed an ensuring a few states could review and possibly re-certify their Electoral Votes (i.e., a delay in certifying the election was the goal) that turned into a riot by some bad apples, but the vast majority of Americans at the Capitol that day merely trespassed, many unknowingly. There were no guns. There were no bombs (until the two useless pipebombs at the RNC and DNC are definitively tied to a perpetrator I will continue to believe it was a poorly timed federal exercise aimed at testing responses). The only murder was of an unarmed protestor, Ashli Babbitt, by a Capitol police officer. It was over in less than six hours.
As for Trump, in addition to telling the protestors to “peacefully and patriotically” make their voices heard during his speech, he tweeted at 2:38pm for protestors and rioters to respect law enforcement, as the Right supported them unlike the Left. The tweet read:
Please support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement. They are truly on the side of our Country. Stay peaceful!
Roughly forty-five minutes later, he again tweeted:
I am asking for everyone at the U.S. Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!
The Left conveniently ignores these tweets.
Moreover, Trump offered federal assistance the day before the protest, which was turned down. Only a partisan hack who lies for a living would claim Trump was guilty of insurrection. Not one shred of evidence has ever been produced showing that Trump took any action to rebel against America. The only evidence that exists is that he believed the Electoral Count Act allowed him to contest the slate of electors sent by the states due to fraud he believed occurred in those states, which Democrats invoked in 2000, 2004, and 2016 (i.e., every time a Republican won the presidency since 1988). As many have noted, if he was wrong about that, why did Congress then pass the Electoral Count Reform Act in 2022 to clearly state a president could not challenge the states’ slates?
When all is said and done, the Left must stop breaking every norm in its pursuit to destroy Trump. Defining insurrection so grossly downward to include the riot on January 6 (but conveniently NOT the riots against law enforcement and federal buildings by the Left throughout 2020) makes a mockery of the actual insurrections we have experienced as a country, especially the Reconstruction Era insurrection by large swaths of the American South. If you want to see what an actual insurrection looks like, read Klan War with all of its gritty and disturbing details of what occurred for eight years when Americans defied federal law to harm and kill other Americans. High school and college students should be required to read Klan War.
P.S. If you had any doubt as to why Ohio needs to replace term limits, which career politicians figured out how to evade, with a 20-year time limit as I’ve proposed, Republican Bill Seitz should have crushed that doubt this week. Seitz, having managed to spend twenty-one years in the Ohio General Assembly, proposed with a Democrat colleague to pay K-12 students $500 per year to….wait for it…to go to school. As in, show up as they are required. Seitz’s absurd bill also would pay kids for graduating. Instead of paying kids to go to school as they are required, how about deducting earned income tax credits or other government benefits if a filer’s kid does not go to school? Why is the answer from career politicians always to spend more rather than to make noncompliance financially unattractive? Thankfully, Seitz is finally retiring after racking up a nice gold-plated government pension, with Ohio no better off from his two decades of service.