‘Isn’t it time we moved on?’ | Column
Nothing to see here, except danger to democracy in the Jan. 6 insurrection
Protesters storm the U.S. Capitol and halt a joint session of the 117th Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
Protesters storm the U.S. Capitol and halt a joint session of the 117th Congress on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. [ KENT NISHIMURA | Los Angeles Times ]
Published May 23

You didn’t see what you thought you saw.

You got it wrong, you misunderstood. Your memory is playing tricks.

But who can blame you? It was so long ago. We’re talking way back on Jan 6.

That’s four whole months. That’s a third of a year! Who can remember back that far? Goodness, what kind of stuff did people wear? What were the big hit movies? Did they even have movies back then? Boy, those were the days. We were all so young.

Insurrection? Was there really an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol? Broken windows? Confederate flags? Defecation in the hallways? Assaulting police? Raising nooses and chants of murder?

Leonard Pitts
Leonard Pitts [ File photo ]

Are you sure about that? Is that really what you saw? They say memory is the first thing to go, remember? Weren’t the so-called insurrectionists really just tourists filing peaceably through the halls of government, pausing occasionally to take pictures and admire the statuary?

Sure they were. If you don’t believe it, ask Rep. Andrew Clyde. “If you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the 6th,” he said recently, “you’d actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”

And he’s not the only one. Rep. Louie Gohmert said the people who entered the Capitol were “peaceful Americans.”

Rep. Paul Gosar called them “peaceful patriots.”

Tucker Carlson said they were “solid Americans.”

Sen. Ron Johnson described them as “people that love this country.”

If you can’t trust guys like that, whom can you trust?

So what is all this noise about forming a congressional commission to investigate? Do we really need that? There’s nothing to see here. Isn’t it time we moved on? Or if you’re determined to have an inquiry, how about Benghazi? We haven’t done that lately, and we’re so close to proving that Hillary Clinton personally murdered the U.S. ambassador. We could also investigate the massive fraud of the 2020 election. Or the way liberals canceled Dr. Seuss and neutered Mr. Potato Head.

But as to Jan. 6, what is there to say? Nothing happened, and there’s no reason to investigate it. It’s not like we Republicans are scared of an investigation, you understand. It’s not like we think that would tie us to what happened in January. Not that anything happened, but if it had, we’d have had nothing to do with it. We’re not scared. Do we look scared? How can you be scared when nothing happened?

For some mysterious reason, people keep insisting it was more than nothing.

Last week, a group of Capitol Police officers sent an anonymous letter to news media complaining that some of us have downplayed the events of Jan. 6. You’d think officers were beaten with pipes and bats. You’d think they were sprayed with bear spray. You’d think 140 of them were injured, that one lost the tip of a finger, some sustained brain injuries, one lost an eye.

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You’d think we didn’t really believe that Blue Lives Matter.

Don’t be fooled by what you think you heard, saw and remember. Don’t be fooled by what you think you know.

Life becomes much simpler once you learn to only hear, see and remember the things you choose, the things that don’t challenge you, that help you put the world into tidy little boxes. The truth is what you need it to be, and the truth here is that a bunch of patriots had a swell time touring the Capitol. You didn’t see anything else because there was nothing else to see. And if you think you did, you didn’t.

That’s why we should stop all this talk about an investigation, OK? Let’s move on. Not that we’re scared.

Do we seem scared to you?

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Miami, Fla., 33172. Readers may contact him via e-mail at

© 2021 Miami Herald. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.