What happened at the Capitol.
And why I am not surprised.
How can we be better? That’s the question that is currently on my mind as I lie restlessly awake.
All eyes were glued onto the scene, as “protestors” “stormed” the Senate midday January 6th. All ears heard the denouncement of our elections from our current “President” as a response to the attackers. All of our bodies reacted to the news that riot police and National Guard were deployed 2–3 hours after the vandals had desecrated the capitol, splayed their heels on tables of a venerable public office, rifled through papers of congressmen and women, and snapped selfies without fear of repercussions in the name of their delusional beliefs. And all undoubtedly further emboldened by the almost certain presidential pardon they will enjoy when their party is over.
This is where we are at.
I’m sure we will find out more surprising / not so surprising revelations about what happened on this day. I’m sure an investigation will “answer” many of these questions, but will literally provide no relief from the continuous assaults on our democracy.
First, let’s call them what they are. Terrorists. Webster’s defines a terrorist as: “A person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” Was this not the end goal here?
Yet, on every station I see the phrase, “protestors storming the capitol.”
Where were the water hoses? Where were the rubber bullets? Where was the tear gas that Black Lives Matter protestors faced during many of the peaceful protests?
Most importantly, where were the police when the “protestors,” advanced past the line where they were supposed to stop and entered into the building? This is the U.S. Capitol. One of the securest locations in America. You should not have been able to get an armed fly past security, theoretically.
We’ve seen the videos of men shouting as they push police back, “This is our America.”
A highlight was an officer helping not one, but two older white trump supporters who had stormed the building, down the stairs, by lending their hand. Black women have been shot and killed for less. Breonna Taylor was shot in her own home. And we have just learned that the officer shooting Jacob Blake — seven times, in the back, at point blank range leaving Blake paralyzed for life — will not be charged with any criminal offense.
That’s seven times. In the back. At Point blank range.
A white trump supporter was helped down the stairs of the capitol.
Fredrick Douglas, one of the greatest writers, orators, abolitionists, and social reformers said, “If I had been killed in the presence of a thousand colored people, their testimony combined would have been insufficient to have arrested one of the murderers.”
Looks like times haven’t changed. Tell me, is America great yet?
This reaction at the capitol was not a surprise. Officials were notified that these “protests” were taking place on this historic day to certify our election results and officially give Biden the presidency win. Why was there no extra security?
And this leads me to my realization…not really a realization, but a confirmation.
We are living in 2 separate countries. We have been for quite some time. Where the wealthy and powerful can avoid jail and consequences to actions. Where the ignorant and insidious have the power to tear apart democracy as long as their skin tone affords them that right. And where the rest of us — Black, Brown, Indigenous, Asian, People of Color — who abide by the laws even as we see that justice is denied our people, cling to hope for the reality of the American Dream, but increasingly recognize it as a false hope designed to keep us in line — working silently for the privileged few.
A reporter, Jordan Fischer states in a tweet the day of that, “During the four years of the civil war the confederates never got closer to Washington than Fort Stevens. Until today, when insurrectionist supporter of @realDonaldTrump paraded through the U.S. Capitol Building carrying the Confederate flag.” He’s half right.
But as every Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Person of Color knows, and as so much of recent history proves, confederate level hate still festers and infects our country, and is much more ingrained in many of our leaders than you think.
Again, I quote Fredrick Douglas, “…for they would much rather see us in those degrading sports than to see us behaving like intellectual, moral, and accountable beings.”
Our recovery may not be fulfilled with Biden as President. Nor will it not be completed as the Democrats take control of the Senate and House, a feat not achieved since 2010.
But it is a start. When the body is infected, its survival depends on fighting the infection and allowing time to heal. This means going deeper, treating the causes and not just the symptoms. The cause here is our lingering, but hidden hatred for equality, which in the vulnerable and ignorant festers just below the surface, lying there to be exploited by evil incarnate, as we have just witnessed in the nation’s Capitol.
The treatment is humanity. It is finding it. And it must be ongoing.