What would you do if the world was ending? I suppose I would be somewhere drinking. At least, that’s what I did when members of the Stop the Steal movement rioted at the Capitol on January 6. I attended the rally earlier in the day with some friends to get some color for an article. We were actually quite disappointed by how boring it was — at the time it seemed no different than your average Trump event. We left early to snag some lunch and restore feeling to our frigid digits. Plenty of Trump supporters had the same idea, even though they had traveled from all around the country to see their president. We rode the Metro back to Virginia with two men from the Buffalo area who needed some assistance figuring out the WMATA map.
It wasn’t until after a Bloody Mary and some crab dip at a local watering hole that I read on Twitter that some rally attendees had decided to storm the Capitol building, clashing with police and smashing windows to gain entry into the ‘People’s House’. Scenes of the chaos popped up on CNN next to an ESPN rerun of last year’s Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans playoff match. One of the bartenders put her head in her hands and started crying, which prompted me to order a double vodka soda rather than a single.
We ended up chatting with a very sweet couple from Kansas that had come into town for the rally and who were disheartened by how the day was shaping up. ‘This is only going to make all of us look bad,’ they said. Quite right. But I suspect the rioters were acting more out of sheer desperation and rage rather than thinking about the consequences their actions would have on the larger Trump movement. We ordered a round of pickleback shots — Jameson, chased with pickle juice — and toasted the very fragile future of the country. Our commiseration was short-lived, as Gov. Ralph Northam implemented a 6 p.m. curfew at the last minute. The barkeeps scrambled to close our tabs and sent us home.
I have since heard the argument that what happened at the Capitol was far worse than what happened during the antifa and Black Lives Matter riots over the summer because the Capitol is a symbol of democracy and our country’s founding principles. As a cynical DC-area resident of eight years, I am not sure I agree. I have seen the swamp up close. The Capitol is just as much a symbol of corruption, elitism, bureaucratic bloat and hypocrisy. In fact, I think it is far more wicked for protesters to smash, burn and loot the businesses and homes of their fellow citizens than it is to direct their anger at the people or institutions actually responsible. Of course, all forms of violence, regardless of the underlying ideological bent, are wrong.
The good news is that I am getting physically prepared for the coming civil war. I’ve joined a new gym and shelled out a disgusting amount of money for weekly sessions with a personal trainer. Unfortunately, I tweaked my knee while jogging, so I won’t be able to outrun the mob when it comes for me. I also tragically lost all of my firearms in a boating accident last year. To compensate, I’ve been focusing on lifting weights and doing circuit training. If it comes down to hand-to-hand combat, I will be ready.
My 2021 overall has been going much better than my 2020. In September of last year I was hit by a car while crossing the street. I do not recommend it. The accident resulted in two trips to the ER, appointments with a neurologist and an orthopedist, and two months of physical therapy. It is also extremely embarrassing to tell people that at the age of 26 you’re already suffering from lower back pain. Luckily I have some sharp lawyers in my corner and am hoping to get the case resolved soon. It turns out the young man who hit me is an employee at Enterprise Rent-a-Car. We’ll Pick You Up? More like We’ll Run You Over.
Every Tuesday night I play in a trivia tournament with a group of fellow conservatives. We started the weekly tradition over the summer and it has remained one of the few ‘normal’ things I’ve been able to do during the pandemic. Not to brag, but we’re pretty damn good, too. We’ve won three straight games and hardly ever finish lower than third place. Of course, this constant dominance has led to some pretty aggressive feuds with the other teams. Let’s just say I have never identified more with the Tom Brady-era Patriots. The entire bar cheered and clapped one week when we got the final question incorrect, just like when New England’s perfect 2007 season ended in a devastating Super Bowl loss.
Another bright spot during the second lockdown is being able to spend time with my nephew, who just turned two. He is becoming more intelligible by the day and his motor skills are constantly improving, which means he has a greater capacity for getting into trouble. He is also decidedly not woke. For Halloween, he dressed as a character from the TV show PAW Patrol, the controversial show that depicts law-enforcement in a positive manner. When his grandmother asked him what he wanted the other day, he replied ‘juice’ instead of ‘fweedom’. How could I not be proud that he is set to cancel himself before the age of three?
This article was originally published in The Spectator’s February 2021 US edition.