What is 6MWE?
6MWE! The first time I became aware of that acronym, and what it meant, was Wednesday, January 6, 2021. A reporter, covering the attempted coup at the Capitol pointed it out on the shirt of a MAGA supporter. 6MWE stands for “6 Million Wasn’t Enough,” a reference to the 6 million Jews murdered by Hitler during the Second World War. Obviously, these four characters had meaning to the group of insurrectionists storming Congress. In their eyes, the slaughter of 6 million men, women and children wasn’t enough to satisfy their blood lust. Though they refuse to acknowledge it, these hate-filled, evil people are losers, like their leader, but extremely dangerous in their desperation and fury.
They’re a large part of the Trump base, sharing the ideologies of the very fine people Trump cited after the Charlottesville protest. There, on an August evening, they carried blazing torches and wore Swastika armbands shouting, “Jews will not replace us.” The next day one drove through a crowd of counter-protestors and killed a young woman. These very fine people are indistinguishable from Hitler’s Nazi supporters of the 1930’s, who marched through the dark streets of Berlin with torches blazing. It was an ominous proclamation of what was in store for Germany’s Jewish citizens. Trump’s coalition of white supremacists and Nazi descendants is making the same declaration.
Tragically, it’s the message many of those storming the Capitol wanted us to hear. But it’s not just Jews whom these racists hate. Blacks, Muslims, and other non-whites are also among the hated. However, that day, neither Jews, Blacks or Muslims were their targets. Instead, these white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Nazis, Proud Boys, Boogaloo Boys, militias, Q-Anon supporters and other alt-right groups led the charge against the Capitol, intending to overthrow the democratic government of the United States. With misguided logic and a might-makes-right mentality, they believed they could prevent Congress from certifying the results of the election making Joe Biden President. However, that was not their only objective.
As this mob of thugs and terrorists rampaged through the halls of the Capitol, they chanted, “Hang Mike Pence.” His crime: refusing to violate his oath to defend the Constitution by declining to certify Electoral College results. To confirm the seriousness of their harrowing intent, they erected a gallows on the exterior grounds. One Capitol intruder had a megaphone, repeating instructions on how to find specific members’ offices. Others, including a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, carried plastic zip-tie handcuffs, intending to take members of the U.S. government hostage, whom they planned to kidnap, restrain, or execute.
This group of supposed proponents of law and order attacked the Capitol Police with American flagpoles and fire extinguishers, some shouting, “Kill him with his own gun!” Indeed, they did manage to kill one Capitol Policeman, military veteran Brian Sicknick, though not with his own gun.
Trump’s Cult Naivety
While everyone who participated in storming the Capitol must and should be prosecuted, their individual motives were not uniform. Some, apparently suffused with naiveté and bearing personal grievances were seduced into Trump’s cult of personality and believe the election was stolen because of massive fraud. As instructed by the President, they decided to exercise their patriotic responsibility by coming to the Capitol to take back their government. An example of one such person appeared on television in the midst of the insurrection. A reporter approached a woman with eyes tearing and obviously in pain as a man led her away from the crowd. Here is a rough transcript of their conversation.
“Ma’am, What happened to you?” the reporter asked.
“I got maced,” she said in anguish.
“You got maced? And what happened? You were trying to go inside the Capitol?”
“Yeah. I made it like a foot inside and they pushed me out and they maced me.”
“What’s your name? Where are you from?”
“My name is Elizabeth. I’m from Knoxville, Tennessee.”
“Why did you want to go in?”
She looked at him incredulously, unable to understand why the reporter was asking such a stupid question, and replied, “We’re storming the Capitol. It’s a revolution!”
Clearly, she believed she was doing her patriotic duty and acting responsibly. She was not the only brainwashed one who felt that way. Though such individuals may not be charged with committing more serious crimes, they deserve punishment. Perhaps a wide range of convictions and jail sentences will send the message that insurrection is unacceptable in a democracy and that our laws provide for holding perpetrators accountable.
The Need for Justice
Now some argue that with the existing divisiveness in the U.S., pressing for penalties will only inflame passions further. Those opposed to the second impeachment of President Trump progressing to a Senate trial float that argument. In my view, his action directing the actual storming of the Capital on January 6th negates any possibility for consideration of an alternative, less damning outcome. I put myself on the side of those who contend that the Senate must proceed with Trump’s trial. If the new Attorney General deems Trump has committed Federal crimes, he should take appropriate action to prosecute him. Law enforcement officials in cities and states who deem Trump has committed crimes in their jurisdiction should do the same.
This action should also apply to any politician, media personality, business, political organization or other persons who committed criminal actions relating to the Capitol insurrection.
Continuing Militant Attacks on Democracy
In saying this, there must be recognition that the more militant and aggressive groups cited above will not cease their attempts to create unrest, including attacking government property and individuals they consider enemies of their movements. But the alternative to resisting such groups and holding them accountable is to surrender our democracy to an authoritarian government where our Constitution is worthless and the law is that of the leader, not the people.
When authoritarian governments take hold, and an authoritarian leader is the final word on all things, we have persecution, extermination, ethnic cleansing, debasement and unleashed sadism at the whim of those in power. It is blood chilling to consider that we are engaged in such a struggle in the United States of America.
Truth and the Path Forward
To be clear, like Joe Biden, I prefer reconciliation and unity. But this country is infected, and before we move on, it has to be cleansed so the healing process can begin. Truth is what’s needed. The Trump base needs to hear the truth, and they need to hear it repeatedly and convincingly from Republican politicians, Fox news and other right wing media supporters. Of course, the one they really need to hear it from is Donald Trump, but he is incapable of admitting the truth because that would seal his reputation as the loser he is
We are looking at a difficult future with these militant white supremacist and militia groups intent on overthrowing the government. But there really is no alternative to resisting that effort using all available tools of law enforcement. History tells us what happens otherwise. And remember, those who fail to understand history are once again doomed to repeat it.