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GREG HARTON: A self-exam worth taking in wake of the insurrection

by Greg Harton | January 17, 2021 at 1:00 a.m.

Self-examination is hard for everyone.

Sometimes events transpire, though, that make it difficult not to question one's own perspective, motives or actions.

Jeff Foxworthy, the comedian, developed a pretty good system of self-examination, a process that involves answering a series of questions. His routine was focused on questions that, if answered a certain way, indicate "you might be a redneck."

For example, if the family business requires a lookout, you might be a redneck.

So, with apologies to Foxworthy, I wonder if a series of questions might provide some insights into some of current events and attitudes affecting our nation. These won't be so funny.

Did you smile when you saw pro-Trump marchers violently push through barriers meant to protect the United States Capitol, representative government and the democratic processes happening inside?

When you saw the marauders getting inside the Capitol, did you justify the behaviors by declaring it "the people's house?"

Do you wish the invasion of the Capitol building has turned into a long-term occupation so your guy could remain in office?

Do you believe justice would have been served if the invaders had been able to steal the certified Electoral College results sent in by the states?

Are you convinced the Jan. 6 events were blown out of proportion by the media or the fault of Antifa?

When the invaders scrawled "Murder the media" on a door inside the Capitol, did you find yourself nodding in agreement?

Would it have an acceptable sacrifice to the future of our nation if some of those chanting "Hang Mike Pence" and who descended on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi's office had found these two duly elected American political figures, marched them to the "gallows" constructed outside the Capitol and lynched them?

Does your measure of approval for similar violence flip 180 degrees based on the race or perceived ideology of those engaging in those actions?

Is it frustrating the crowd gathered in Washington on Jan. 6 wasn't treated as patriots?

Then yes, friends, you might be an insurrectionist.


Do you feel it's an injustice that those who participated in the attack now face criminal prosecution or negative reactions by their employers?

Do you believe it's an assault on conservative values and free speech that social media companies have removed Donald Trump's ability to use them?

When you witness criticism of an egregious act by those you agree with ideologically, are you tempted to respond, "Yeah, but what about ...?" and insert some past, unrelated event that let's you off the hook for embracing the current atrocity?

Do you embrace the Confederate battle flag as a current-day expression of your values?

Given the opportunity, would you enjoy screaming profanity at and threatening a reporter attempting to do his or her job?

With just days left in Donald Trump's presidency, do you still hold out hope he can figure out a way to remain in office?

Are all Democrats evil, communists or socialists? Is it assumed that they all hate America or stand ready to destroy it?

Do you somehow reconcile declaring "Blue Lives Matter" with deadly attacks on Capitol Hill Police because you've decided it serves some greater purpose? Or is "Blue Lives Matter" just a handy retort when you want to deflect the concerns of Black Americans about the way they're sometimes treated?

When you're on social media, do you hijack the comment section on even innocuous posts by turning the discussion to some political issue you're outraged about?

Do you think there is a more perfect America in the rear view mirror, back when all "those people" knew their place, and yearn for a return to those days?

Then you might be a ... oh, never mind.

Greg Harton is editorial page editor for the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Contact him by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @NWAGreg.


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