Stokely Carmichael is the angriest person I’ve ever met in my life. He was going by Kwame Toure by the time I crossed paths with the former Prime Minister of the Black Panther Party. I was in college and he was on campus to give a lecture to the black students union. There were only about twenty people in attendance. The event was held in a utility room not a lecture hall.
We had been told before his arrival that Stokely had been ill and hospitalized recently so I was expecting a few stories and a hokey exhortation to fight the power. I was there to see a Civil Rights Movement relic and to hear from a defanged Panther. We were seated when he ambled shakily into the room. He was so thin. I remember hoping he had brought a nurse with him and that this “lecture” would be over in ten minutes.
Stokely took to the microphone and unleashed 45 minutes of intense, bitter fury that nearly peeled my skin from my bones. His anger was supernatural. His zeal for what he thought was right radiated from his body. I was not more than 15 feet from him. I should have been wearing a lead vest to protect me from his waves of anger.
He challenged our manhood, our intelligence, our courage, and our understanding of what the true stakes were in this life. Either you were a revolutionary or you were a traitor to your people. Either you were willing to kill and die for the complete dismantling of the U.S. government or you were just a poseur with suspicious motives. He didn’t ask us to join him. He demanded we outdo him. He demanded we build bigger organizations than his. He demanded we get started immediately. He urged us to use our privileged positions as university students to overthrow the administration and to turn the campus into our base of operations. He implored us to use our intellect, standing, and youth to rally the masses to destroy America and bring it under the heel of Pan-Africanism.
What was scary about Stokely is that he wasn’t crazy. He was obviously sane, serious, and of the highest of IQs. When years later I read he died of cancer I knew what anyone who spent any time with him knew: cancer didn’t kill Stokely Carmichael. The unquenchable rage that possessed him had finally consumed him.
I thought about Stokely Carmichael today after watching a video of one of the mob members who stormed the Capitol yesterday. She had just been pepper sprayed. She was not quite in her right mind but one could sense the high of acting out was starting to wear off. She was asked a question along the lines of “Why are you here/Why did you do what you did?”
She replied, “I’m here for the revolution.”
I thought: you poor, pitiable, misled fool. What kind of idiot shows up for a “revolution” unarmed? This woman (and apparently many, many others) thought they were going to topple the American regime – which was founded by guns – with . . . what? A Trump 20202 banner? Recitation of righteous Facebook posts? Another poor, dumb woman under the same delusion was shot and killed [note: that cop ain’t losing his job. Believe that.].
Who are these people? I, too, believe this election was dishonest. I’m probably not going to vote again. I know when I’m beaten. I’m resigned to what’s coming politically and I’m vexed by the lawless Left that holds power in our society but I’m not angry enough to lose my mind and rush at armed officers of the law. Maybe it’s because all of what happened in November was so easily predictable that a nobody like me out here in the hinterlands could predict it. The Claremont Institute built an entire website this summer around the coming election fraud they predicted would occur. I think we saw disaffected people who took a flier with their trust on the the only dude who was somehow not prepared for vote shenanigans even though he was one of the two men running for President.
Back to the rebellion. There was no message other than Stop the Steal. Okay. There were people in the building the mob overran who were there to make an effort to do so. A feeble and insincere effort but all politicians come with a lifetime supply of feeble and insincere. If those efforts failed, then what? From the footage I saw it appeared the mob was only prepared to elbow and shoulder block its way to victory. They broke into Nancy Pelosi’s office when Nancy Pelosi was long gone. If she had been there they would have only taken selfies with her before making rude comments. And after a few minutes she would have told them to leave and they would have complied. It was not a serious crowd.
You want a revolution? Guns are required. Demands are required. Leaders are required.
None of those people in the crowd were there to kill and they certainly were not there to be killed. I watched them walk in single file and stay between the velvet ropes in Statuary Hall.
None of the people present had any faith their voices (amplified through their elected representatives) would be heard. They would have been at home or at work if they believed their demands would be delivered forcefully and taken seriously.
I watched the men watch a woman be the first through the breach and take a bullet from close range to her chest for her foolhardy bravado. So much for right wingers being against women in combat.
What we all saw yesterday was the modern Right painted onto the largest canvass in the world. It was a masterpiece of rudderless, cynical, and unserious political actors who don’t understand how politics works.
Contra the pundit class led Right, the Left is driven by serious and angry people like Stokely Carmichael. They believe their cause is just and they will train their fury on any who oppose them. Politics is life and death for them.
For all his saccharine charm, Joe Biden is the ideological brother of Stokely Carmichael. You will notice that in all his calls for unity he never called for a commission to get to the bottom of the claims of election fraud. He didn’t concede one Electoral delegate even as an act of good faith to heal the nation. He knows his role. He is the lead wolf now in a land of wolves. All the bleating from the sheep wandering in D.C. yesterday had to be mouthwatering. Because one thing wolves and shepherds know is that sheep are too stupid to survive in the wild on their own.
What the mob in Washington D.C. wanted yesterday was not a revolution but a miracle. What they needed was a leader who would have told them to stay home and to dig in and to build. What they needed to know was that angry, nihilistic men do not live long and are best combatted by patience and hope.