Seems like a simple question, right?
Maybe not so much.
Was the mob action at the Capitol wrong because it was a violent attempt to change the declared results of an election? Or was it wrong because the election actually wasn’t stolen?
What if Trump had actually managed to steal it? What if Republicans had won Congress and, based on entirely Trumped-up (pun intended) claims of fraud, had voted to throw the election — an election that Joe Biden absolutely won — to Donald Trump?
In other words, what if Trump had actually succeeded in stealing the election, through means that pretended to observe the letter of the law, but in fact invoked the letter of the law as a purely cynical power grab without any actual justification?
Would an uprising have been justified in trying to reverse that? After all, in such a scenario, the people tried voting — and voting didn’t work.
When I posed a similar question on Twitter, some people reacted by comfortably asserting that the Supreme Court would never allow that. Maybe, maybe not. They could call it a political question, with all of them privately thinking that Congress’s action was wholly baseless, but five or more thinking that it’s not their place to step in.
I think this illustrates a larger point that I will likely elaborate on at another time: why you are doing what you are doing matters. It’s not cancel culture to fire someone for their speech; it depends on what the speech is. Overthrowing a government by force is not always wrong either. It depends on why you are doing it.
Would the Russian people be justified in rising up and overthrowing Vladimir Putin by force? Yes. Why? Primarily because elections there are a sham. Nobody can possibly challenge him because Putin will put a phony case on them and arrest them.
Regime change can happen two ways: through elections or through force. If elections are not an option, force becomes the only option left.
What if presidential elections here became a sham, capable of being overthrown by the whim of Congress? The only option left would be force.
I don’t think the people supporting Congressional objections recognize just how dangerous a precedent they have set. We have to make it clear, through consequences. It’s the only way.