Saturday, January 8, 2022

The Enemy is the System

Interesting NY Times focus group, bringing Democrats together to talk about January 6. While the participants are angry with or disgusted by the Republican leadership, many of them are somewhat sympathetic to the rioters, because they think the system is so broken that rioting is at least an understandable response:

Susan (from Texas): I’ve gained a more nuanced view of what led to that. So all of this stuff that’s happening — what Harold refers to as all the lawlessness. It’s an inevitable boiling point of flawed systems that were put into place and have only gotten worse over the years. And with all these flawed systems that are put into place, everybody’s got to find an enemy. And some people might realize that the true enemy is the system which keeps us all in a harsh place unless you’re the top of the top. But some people, they buy into these lies that they’re told by people in order to keep their power, such as, oh, it’s the immigrants coming in and stealing jobs. It’s the blue-haired liberals and all that. It’s like, no, that’s not who the enemy is. The enemy is the system that needs either a complete makeover or severe reform in order to protect the livelihoods of the people, not the rich who are just gonna run the planet into the ground and move on to the next one.

 And this:

Tracy: I think it was the frustration of the American people. I’m not saying it was right, but I believe it was more of the American people fed up. People are fed up with politics, telling you lies, and this, that, and the other. They stormed the Capitol for different reasons. But it was mainly the frustration of the American people.

Right vs. left divisions obscure it, but there is a sense in which the dominant theme in American politics is a populist revolt against the system.


David said...

Or the right vs. left divisions are the dominant theme, and pretending we're all just folks in revolt against the system is a lame attempt to bridge the divide.

Shadow said...

I'm no statistician, but I doubt randomly selecting (or not) 9 democrats from around the country constitutes a valid sample size. Plus we don't see everyone's answer to each question. Focus groups sound cool -- they certainly look cool -- but how accurate are they at representing the views of the larger population?

David said...


I think in both the Rep and Dem cases the NYT may have looked for people who would bridge the divide. That was the impression I got from skimming the Rep group article.

Shadow said...


Maybe that's why they found only 9 and 8 participants :-)

G. Verloren said...


"Or the right vs. left divisions are the dominant theme, and pretending we're all just folks in revolt against the system is a lame attempt to bridge the divide."

This feels far more accurate. After all, how many of the rioters were on the political left?

If this was about Americans in general rebelling against the system, then how come the only ones storming the capitol with clear and stated intent to take hostages and seize the electoral college ballots in order to prevent the ratification of the election's outcome were conservatives?

If "everyone" is upset with the system, then why is it that only one side of that system spent months fabricating claims of electoral fraud, for which zero evidence could ever be produced, and which spawned literal dozens of meritless legal challenges in the courts that were invariably thrown out by judges across both sides of the political spectrum?

Our elections are by every measure free and fair. International watchdogs confirm this. The only threat to our electoral validity comes from conservatives who constantly work to introduce blatant voter suppression, and who ultimately resorted to a literal armed coup (albeit an inept and failed one) in order to seize power rather than allow our free and fair election process to succeed unhindered.

This is just the most recent example of the decades long trend of spinelessness in Democrats - afraid to hold literal traitors fully accountable, for fear of offending the other side who have potential sympathies for said traitors. Instead of impartially upholding of the law, Democrats help undermine the foundational structure of our entire democracy in order to play popularity politics.

And this is part of why this country is so insane. One side is engaged in wholly unacceptable acts, and the other side refuses to hold them accountable. Hitler illegally remilitarizes the Rhineland, and his critics bend over backwards to excuse it as merely "Germans walking into their own backyard". Every time the Republicans cross an uncrossable line in the sand, the Democrats - like clockwork - begin the process of appeasement. It's sickening, and it will inevitably lead to catastrophe.

John said...

@G-people on the left spent a whole summer rioting over police violence, with tend of millions of dollars worth of looting and property destruction, including burning a police station. There is plenty of lust for violence on the American left.

G. Verloren said...


...except we're specifically talking about the January 6th coup.

You commented on the remarks of people who specifically came together to discuss that particular event. And the Democrats in question are saying absurd things about "the American people" being dissatisfied about "the system" in the very specific context of Republican rioters attempting to literally overturn a democratic election with violence. They are not talking about anything else.

I'm honestly stunned by your response.

You are not only engaging in wildly inappropriate "whataboutism" - you're also making an astoundingly insultingly false equivalency. You are comparing delusional psychopaths who couldn't accept their preferred candidate losing an election so they literally staged a coup... to localized race riots sparked by racist police getting away with literal murder yet again, for the umpteeth time this decade, which is only the latest decade in over a century of systemic racist abuse and the consequence-free state sponsored slaughter of minorities.

To my shame, I must confess I am... struggling... not to accuse you of gross disingenuity here, and to instead to give you the benefit of the doubt of simply having said something I personally find ill considered. Suffice it to say, I think you are very off the mark on this, and comparing apples to oranges at best.

G.H. said...

No. The enemy is not the system. The enemy are PEOPLE who created the system. Which are primarily people from the “The 2 Married Pink Elephants In The Historical Room" assembly ...

Anonymous said...

After all, how many of the rioters were on the political left?

Which rioters? The Antifa rioters? The BLM rioters? The riots that happened in Portland over Floyd? The ones over Rittenhouse? The other 97 days of rioting in Portland?

Portland’s grim reality: 100 days of protests, many violent