Op Ed

Richard Barnett Epitomizes Trump Mob

Angry, bare-chested and not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree.

By - Jan 10th, 2021 04:40 pm
Western front of the U.S. Capitol. Public domain.

Western front of the U.S. Capitol.

There are scores of photos from the attempted coup on Wednesday that underscore the appalling and utterly disgusting behavior of the men and women who stormed the Capitol. From windows being broken to gain entry to the building and files strewn around office floors, the rampage of angry people threatened elected officials who needed to flee for their safety, or hunkered down in preparation for possible gun violence. It was barbaric and pure insanity.

But there was one photo, more than all the others, that struck me with the most force and produced the highest amount of revulsion. A cretin who had broken the laws of this land to make an entrance to the building was casually sitting with his foot on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office. It was not long before social media put a name to the image and not far behind were the authorities to make an arrest.

Richard Barnett, age 60, from Gravette, Arkansas was later seen on the day of the insurrection with his shirt ripped open and his chest bared. Let me assure my readers he is no Burt Reynolds. Button it up! Outside of the building he brazenly bragged of having broken into the speaker’s office.

Without any reverence for the building, the historical moments that still breathe there, the dignity the institutions contained within demand us to register Barnett uttered the following words.

“I wrote her a nasty note, put my feet up on her desk.” The note he wrote included a curse word for women.

He even flashed an envelope with the speaker’s letterhead that he had taken from Pelosi’s office. He insisted he had not stolen it, adding “I put a quarter on her desk.” Then he followed that sarcasm with more verbal insults.

So it is fitting to hear news reports that Barnett was taken into custody in his home state on charges of entering and remaining on restricted grounds, violent entry, and theft of public property. He is not the only terrorist from this week that will be brought to justice.

I have often posted on my Caffeinated Politics blog about the angry white males who harbor their resentments, are woefully undereducated, and were easily led and swayed by the likes of Donald Trump. When I looked at the troubling image, again and again, of Barnett I recalled a conversation with a friend many years ago about how some white men felt that they were being marginalized and reduced in importance by society.

The idea of angry white males casting their ballots with belligerence so in some way to make a broader statement about the pre-conceived condition of their lives has been an interest of mine over the years. My keen interest in politics, and understanding why certain demographics vote as they do, is a topic I try better to grasp. My friend and I agreed this voting group was not reasonable in their thinking since white men have the power and the means to attain an education and secure good jobs. They do, in fact, sit at the head of the table in our society, and yet they moan about their lives.

Barnett clearly had no regard for the constitutional weight of the counting of the votes from the Electoral College, had no desire to find the place in the Capitol which is marked where congressman John Quincy Adams fell from a stroke, or stood with memories where leaders had lay in state. Instead of taking in the grandeur and historical weight of the building, he opted for stupidity.

So what gives with all the anger and nastiness that has permeated this election cycle? There is no doubt that some of this demographic have not the ability for further education and better jobs. I get it that when economic times turn south all sorts of ugly fissures open in society and oozes stuff that in better times is kept in check. We saw that in truckloads this week with the terrorists! And yet the volume of their disgusting actions and words make that simple attempt at an answer inadequate to what we all have witnessed.

Beyond the basic economics is the fact that when white America sees diversity they see the future, and they revert to their core assumptions and base instincts. For some such cultural diversity is most unsettling. At some point white men will just need to get a grip of reality. After all, a white majority population in America is not the future. The world is brown, and the trend lines have this country moving in the same direction. And quickly. There is nothing wrong with that. Embracing what makes us diverse has always been the way for our social progress, and it also allows for personal enrichment.

At such times of social transition, it is necessary for leaders to create policy moves that can positively impact those who need help. That, however, is not the way Trump talked to these people in his base over the past years. One of the tools used by Trump was the undermining of facts. We have witnessed, time and again, how the continued use of lies was used as a partisan tool. When Trump was called out for his lies he worked to smear the Fourth Estate. The efforts were aimed so that some of the electorate–the ‘Barnett’s of the nation’– would be uncertain if what they read and heard from professional journalists were indeed facts.

Such attacks on the foundations of democracy, first with Trump abusing his office during the past four years, and then the attempted coup underscore that rhetoric is having a detrimental effect on our nation. We saw this week what happens when a sizable number of under-educated and highly unstable people are swayed by reckless language from the White House.

When it comes to what results from such rhetoric Richard Barnett is the epitome.

Gregory Humphrey writes for the Caffeinated Politics blog.

Categories: Op-Ed, Politics

One thought on “Op Ed: Richard Barnett Epitomizes Trump Mob”

  1. dmkrueger2 says:

    Attempted coup?

    Otherwise, well said.

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