TheGrio Daily

What Really Happened On January 6th?

Episode 18

“America ain’t never been no democracy, that is the big lie.” World famous wypipologist Michael Harriot gives us the details on the real reason behind why a mob of White people tried to overthrow the government. 

You are now listening to theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, Black Culture Amplified. 

Michael Harriot [00:00:05] Welcome to another episode of theGrio Daily, the only podcast that can actually sing like Eddie Cain Jr. We have nothing but love for you, baby. We got nothing but love. Oh. Oh. I thought of a boys duck in Choirboy Elmo here, but apparently they must have not made it today. Because, you know, we only have, like, ten, 15 minutes every day to contextualize what’s going on in the news. We’re not necessarily going to regurgitate the news, nor will we tell you what to think. We just want to offer, you know, a little bit of context, give you some information that you might not associated with what’s going on in the world. Like, for instance, like the January 6th Caucasian Ku Klux Klan rally. Right. Like everybody is talking about that. Everybody’s watching the hearings on TV, the investigation with a bunch of people being called to witnesses, including that dude with the this dude right here, you know, to dude with the gray hair and a jean jacket. Like, why do you wear a jean jacket to Congress? That’s crazy, right? My mama would slap the crap out of me if I wore a jean jacket to Congress. But, you know, that’s like one of the whitest things ever cause see look, he got Becky hairdo. It’s like a little bit of Karen and a little bit of Becky and his hairdo, and then he got the jean jacket on, like, I don’t know what that’s about, but, you know, I still think that the congressional hearings are really, really compelling. They better than the stories because my grandma love her stories. The Guiding Light, whew, my grandmother used to love that, with Reva Shayne. 

Michael Harriot [00:01:49] But this is like an episode of like Judge Joe Brown, but with no crack. It’s because, you know, Joe Brown think everybody is a crackhead is like that, mixed with a little bit of Maury. But in this case, we know who the daddy of the Ku Klux Klan rally on January 6th is, but it’s not who you think. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. Right? Today we’re going to talk about who actually caused the Caucasian Unmelanted mutiny on January 6th. And we’re going to delve into some history today on theGrio Daily. I’m Michael Harriot, and let’s get into it. 

Michael Harriot [00:02:33] I’m Michael Harry. We’re all famous wypipologist and this is theGrio Daily. No, no, no, no. I know what you’re thinking. I know who caused the you know, the White people. Mob violence on January 6th. While Donald Trump may be the person who could bear most of the blame. He didn’t really cause the stop the steal, White on White violence, you know, last year. Right. He was just the person who put all of that together. While he and his lesser evils are undoubtedly complicit for pushing the kind of fractured Stop the steal movement that lit the fuse on a Caucasian capital coup. The story is wider, it’s longer, and it’s much less complex than you think. Now, I know you’ve been watching the news and you see that little White girl who came up there and said, Well, I sat there while they were planning it and I sat in there while they were, you know, instigating and funding it. And everybody knew it was going to be violent. And I know I saw Donald Trump choke the Secret Service, but somehow she became a hero. I don’t know how that works. But, you know, White people can be heroes by just, you know, doing what they were supposed to do. Right. 

Michael Harriot [00:03:51] But most media outlets have condensed the narrative of the capital building terror plot down to four points. Right. Trump lied about widespread election fraud. Trump’s intentional falsehoods resulted in a plan to overturn an election with violence. But, you know, that’s how they always do. You know why people are very violent. I’m just kidding. And three, the plan to upend the foundation of American democracy was an attempt to overthrow the government. Therefore, four, anyone who participated in it is guilty of sedition or treason or, you know, White people, terrorism. You know, it’s not like the Muslim kind, because they got a whole different kind of terrorism, according to, you know, White people. But while that narrative is like a tidy conclusion of events placing the blame solely on Trump or Mo Brooks or Ted Cruz or Josh Hawley and all those other White ladies like Marjorie Taylor Greene. It’s like telling the story of America without mentioning the Virginian who approached the captain of the White line in 1619 and asked “Hey, how much you try to put on Black people?” See the story of the Capitol siege can’t be told without mentioning the root cause of the event. And it’s not what you think is not like conspiracy theories. This is actual history, America’s history of suppressing Black votes. Isn’t even part of the January 6th account? According to the media? But it’s the entire story according to reality. Anyone who is recounting the events without mentioning the most important cause, they’re getting it wrong. But today we’re going to get it right. Let’s begin at the beginning. Right. 

Michael Harriot [00:05:33] So in 1870, the United States ratified the 15th Amendment, declaring that the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude. That means slavery. Like they couldn’t say slavery, but you know they did it. Although most historians focus on the formerly enslaved Black voters of the South, see before the 15th Amendment, states like New York and New Jersey, they forbid African-Americans from voting even if they were free. Right. Like New York, they rescinded its ratification of the 15th Amendment when legislators realized, oh, when you say citizens, you mean Black people, too. Oh, we don’t want to do that. But then they eventually had to ratify it. See, millions of Black men registered to vote, see women weren’t allowed, we’re gonna get to that, too. After the passage of the 15th Amendment, Mississippi’s voting eligible population was suddenly majority Black, and the Black voter registration rate was more than 90% in states like Virginia and Louisiana and South Carolina. And remember, South Carolina was majority Black. And remember that this was after the Civil War. So anyone who was involved in the Confederacy, they were technically guilty of treason, and they couldn’t vote until 1872 when, like Congress restored Southerners right to own land, to vote and to hold office. So until then, like White people really couldn’t vote. So in a lot and many of the states in the south, there were majority Black electorates. And in the meantime, because those electorates had become majority Black, Black people briefly took over. Right. Like we were in charge. Like Black people actually wrote South Carolina’s Constitution. That’s right. Out of the 126 delegates and the South Carolina’s 1868 Constitutional Convention, 76 of them were Black. And they created a. America’s first constitutionally enshrined education system for the public that was publicly funded and 90% of those Black delegates voted to allow women to vote. And then after reconstruction, they kicked all the Black people, especially the Black women, out of the suffrage movement. Never forget that. But getting back to this Caucasian coup thing, so many Black people voted that like White people really couldn’t believe it. And they wend HAM. Right. They tossed out Black votes, they use racial terrorism to intimidate Black voters. This was the cause of what we call reconstruction, Black political power. And the election of 1876, the White voters actually created the first Stop the Steal movement. That’s why, like, this thing started a long time ago. They petitioned Congress to throw out certain votes. And guess what? It worked. The compromise of 1877 made James Garfield president, and in exchange, southern states would be allowed to disenfranchize Black people with what they came to know as Jim Crow laws like Louisiana. They created a White supremacist constitution that excluded Black people. And I’m not just like describing it as White supremacy. It’s like they actually said that in the opening and the closing to the Louisiana State Constitutional Convention, like we’re doing this to ensure White supremacy. But since they couldn’t say Black people can’t vote in Louisiana, anyone whose grandparents voted, they could vote. Right. So they excluded the slaves. And that’s where we get the phrase grandfather clause. 

Michael Harriot [00:09:34] Mississippi initiated poll taxes, a literacy tests and a grandfather clause. By 1892, the state’s Black voter registration dropped from 90%, where it was right after the 15th Amendment was passed to 6%. So this is why the highest turnout in the history of presidential politics happened in 1876, when Black voter suppression tactics were not yet enshrined into law. So you need to remember that that it has never been that Black people don’t want to vote. It was always that legal voter suppression tactics keep us from voting. And since then, a complex web of voters purges, voter I.D. laws, poll closings, misinformation. All of that is combined to form a barrier that specifically targets Black voters. And it’s not a coincidence that voter purges disproportionately contain Black and Hispanic voters and toss out their voting ballots. Wisconsin’s voter I.D. deal, or the affected 8% of White voters and 27% of Black voters. States also closed thousands of polling places in poor and minority neighborhoods, which is why it takes 29% longer to vote in a Black neighborhood than a White neighborhood, according to a UCLA study and a 2018 study, so that it’s more difficult to vote in states with Republican-controlled legislatures. So to justify these laws designed to uphold White supremacy and maintain power by decreasing the Black votes, conservatives created this myth of widespread voter fraud. And because the American education system doesn’t teach really like anything, they don’t teach logic. And they encourage the widest version of this to be possible. White people actually believe that Black people just don’t want to vote. The actual history of this country is inconsequential to people who think Black people are simply too lazy in waiting on our government handouts to vote. Right. But instead of incremental changes to court cases, protest and a sheer unstoppable will Black people. What if there was a single incident that removed all of these artificially manufactured barriers to voting? What if what if Black people got the chance to vote just like White people? What would happen if something like, I don’t know, a global pandemic ushered in sweeping changes like online registration, absentee, online voting, early voting. What would happen if Black people had equal access to the polls? I’m sure something like that will lead to more unfounded conspiracy theories. It’s easier to believe a disputable lie than to believe that you have been waving a flag for a country that stepped on their necks and Black people for four centuries. It’s easy to believe that a big old lie. Has taken place across the country. Then to admit that your beloved nation duped you into upholding a White supremacist regime that involves your teachers, your grandparents, your parents, your political party, and a president you love with all your heart. 

Michael Harriot [00:12:59] Well, that happened in 2020 when COVID hit absentee ballots and mail in voting basically equalize access to the ballots. And for the first time since, I don’t know, ever, Black people were able to vote, basically, there was still some voter suppression, but we were basically able to vote kind of like White people voted. And I know you’re wondering, well, what does this have to do with Donald Trump and stop the steal movement and a conspiracy to destroy democracy? Well, here’s where we get some facts in. According to the US Elections Project, the percentage of eligible voters who cast ballots in the 2020 election, 66% shattered the modern record for voter turnout. More people voted in 2020 than ever before, and a greater percentage of the population voted in that election than at any time in the last 40 years. That’s why magically, for some reason, the two highest vote totals in the history of this country magically happened when White people just got out of Black people’s way and let us vote. See, there is no widespread voter fraud that never has been. And the proof is this. When Black people were allowed to participate in the most secure election in history. They changed the entire political makeup of America’s government. And they did it without bloodshed. They did it without violence. They did it without building a gallows on the lawn of the Capitol building or smearing dookie on pictures of Abraham Lincoln or organizing a lynch mob after a political rally. 

Michael Harriot [00:14:43] See, this ain’t Trump’s fault, Ted Cruz ain’t had nothing to do with this. Mo Brooks, the Republican Party or Q’Anon didn’t attempt to destroy American democracy. If this whole hullabaloo has taught us anything, it’s this America ain’t never been no democracy. That is the big lie. See, the story of the Capitol siege is that there was an election where finally voter suppression was erased and Black voters voted in the same percentage that White voters did. And the only way most of America could explain this shit was to believe that state legislatures, secretaries of state, voting machine companies, invisible voters, dead voters, Hugo Chavez, Democrats, and the sequential nature of the numerical system all conspire to steal the election from Donald Trump. It was easier to believe in that than it was to believe that America was racist this whole time. And that’s the story of January 6th. I mean, the hearings are cool. Investigations are cool. And I would love, love, love for Donald Trump to go to jail. But that’s the real story of January 6th. And if you want to make sure nothing like that ever happens again, all you got to do is stop suppressing Black people’s votes. You got to send them to jail. You don’t got to investigate. You all got to spend millions of dollars. You ain’t got to watch White women cry. You ain’t got to sit through some dude with a swoop jean jacket hairdo and listen to him tell how he used to be racist, but now he’s not no more. All you got to do is let Black people vote. All you got to do is stop being racist, and the rest will take care of itself. And that’s the lesson of January 6th. I want to remind you, download theGrio app. Subscribe, tell one friend about this podcast. I don’t care which one, but tell one friend about this podcast. And as usual, we’ll leave you with a great saying from Black America and today’s saying has everything to do with what we talked about earlier, because as we say, “a lie don’t care who tell it.” Peace. 

Michael Harriot [00:17:02] If you like what you heard, please give us a five star review. Download theGrio app. Subscribe to the show and share it with everyone you know. Please email all questions, suggestions and compliments to podcasts at theGrio dot com. 

[00:17:19] You are now listening to theGrio Black Podcast Network. Black Culture Amplified.