We Need a Congressional Investigation Into the 2020 Riots | Opinion

Nancy Pelosi's Democrats clearly hope the January 6 hearings will prevent them from drowning at the ballot box this November. But conservatives should view the panel as prologue for a different investigation into a series of disturbances that have had a dramatic and deleterious impact on our lives.

Congress needs to look into the 2020 riots, the Black Lives Matter organizations that coordinated them (not the concept that black lives matter, which is unimpeachable), and their founders. We can call the hearings the Joint Action for Congressional Knowledge hearings, or JACK, after Jack Del Rio, the NFL coach who was fined $100,000 simply for drawing the common-sense comparison between the 2020 riots and the events of January 6, 2021.

Americans live in a changed country today because of 2020. Since then, every institution, from school to the office, houses of worship, the military, sports leagues and the corporate world, has been tinted with a heavy dogmatic hue that was mostly absent before.

The hundreds of riots that took place in the second half of that year also left immense property damage, assessed at up to $2 billion, and at least 25 people dead. Moreover, the murder rate went up by a record 30 percent in 2020, leaving open the question of whether some kind of "Ferguson Effect"—the phenomenon of police pulling back after BLM riots or after deadly force goes viral—was at fault.

Since several prominent Black Lives Matter organizations that coordinated the 2020 disturbances were set up by individuals who have embraced violent action, and called for the "complete transformation" of America and the "dismantling of the organizing principle of this society," one can't be faulted for asking whether violence and the called-for dismantling are linked.

The BLM leaders want to break up the nuclear family, ditch capitalism, and adopt "participatory democracy." That is because BLM co-founders Alicia Garza and Patrisse Cullors were trained in both Marxist doctrine and praxis by theoreticians who want to destroy the United States.

All of this calls for a congressional investigation, one of our society's self-defense mechanisms. Congress has a responsibility to ask questions of those who organized and carried out the disturbances of 2020.

A committee looking into the 2020 riots must of course avoid the credibility shortcomings that have plagued the Jan. 6 panel. Both parties must be allowed to appoint members, because cross-examination is indispensable in eliciting the truth.

January 6 Committee hearing
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 21: Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, swears in Rusty Bowers, Arizona House Speaker (lower right); Brad Raffensperger, Georgia Secretary of State (lower left) and Gabriel Sterling, Georgia Secretary of State Chief Operating Officer (obscured) during the fourth hearing on the January 6th investigation in the Cannon House Office Building on June 21, 2022 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The architects of BLM are Americans with constitutional rights, even if they want to overthrow the constitutional order. They are free to try to peacefully persuade their countrymen to dismantle society, abandon capitalism, eliminate the police and courts systems, and embrace the central planning called for by LeftRoots, a revolutionary group for which Garza is a member of the coordinating committee.

But society also has the right to know what their goals are, and society has a right to be safe. The BLM groups cannot unconstitutionally use violence or intimidation to make their arguments.

The January 6, 2021, invasion of the Capitol was a stomach-turning event, a national embarrassment. Participants who broke the law must be prosecuted. But it would be fatuous to pretend that they have had anywhere near the social, cultural, financial, or political clout that the BLM organizers enjoy.

Our schools do not teach children material that originated with the Jan. 6 rioters. Americans are not forced into training sessions at work to instill the worldview of the Jan. 6 rioters. Our foreign policy is not crafted to comply with the tenets of the Jan. 6 rioters, whatever they might be.

BLM organizations, whether the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) or the more loosely organized umbrella Movement for Black Lives, have real power. BLMGNF says it sent out 127 million emails in the second half of 2020, out of which 1.2 million "actions" were taken.

Today, everywhere they turn, Americans hear that we live in an "oppressive society," that we have "systemic racism," that "white supremacy" reigns, that certain individuals are irredeemably "privileged," and that "capitalism is racist." These are absurd claims. Yet they have become holy writ. The organizing principles of society are being dismantled.

These are the messages that form Black Lives Matter's ideological platform. Our media have amplified them since BLM was first formed in 2013 with the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the killing of Trayvon Martin, and when it added political muscle after the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. Since 2020, these messages have entered every nook and cranny of American life.

All this has been based on the claim that police use lethal force more often against blacks than against whites. But studies of the issue, such as this one from Harvard, found no detectable racial differences.

It is time for the riots' leaders to be dragged into Congress and asked under oath what coordinating role they played, what their intent was, and what else they mean to do to American society.

Mike Gonzalez is a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation and the author of BLM: The Making of a New Marxist Revolution.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.

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