The bloody power of symbolic gestures

The events of Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 were not an attempted coup.

Words mean things, and it’s extremely important that we get our concepts right. A coup is an elite action, when people near the seat of power (usually senior members of the military) defy the law to overthrow a government and install another in its place.

In the current context, one example of a coup would be a faction of the armed forces intervening on Jan. 20 to prevent the Biden administration from taking power. We are, thankfully, nowhere near something like that happening. The upper ranks of the American military have very different sympathies.



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