Yesterday I had a very interesting conversation with a longtime friend in Chicago. Personally, she lives a very conservative life and is very successful at her career. But she’s also a lifelong Democrat. We spoke at length about the Jan 6th events at the U.S. Capitol. She informed me about this woman who was fired from a real estate firm in her city for attending the Trump rally.
I listened attentively and she was clearly supportive about this firing. I then asked her, “Did the woman break into the Capitol building?”
“I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter,” she responded.
“I’m curious, if you had attended a BLM protest in Chicago last year, which later broke out into a riot and looting, do you think it would have been fair if you were fired for attending the protest?”
She then went on to inform me that “something very strange occurred” with the Capitol Police allowing protestors into the building. She surmised that there must have been some “right-wing collusion” between some officers and some Trump supporters.
I paused for a moment and then shared with her another conspiracy theory which I’ve heard from several people. The essence of it is that high-level Democrats instructed the heads of the Capitol Police to ensure there were insufficient officers present to handle such a large crowd and to allow anyone posing a threat into the building … knowing fully well how negatively their presence inside the Capitol would be perceived..
I had to explain to my friend, who is a bright woman, three times this alternate theory to hers. When she finally got it, she was exasperated, saying, “There’s no way that’s remotely possible! Democrats aren’t possibly that smart to think up such a plan!!!”
In no way am I making any assertion of why all of this actually happened. It might have been as simple as incompetence and poor training on the part of the Capitol Police officers. But I was struck by how effective the programming of narratives is into my friend’s mind that it took major effort on my part to get her to process other possibilities.