When I first heard the news, I wanted to cry. I was working when I saw my phone light up, so I opened NPR and I was immediately floored. I went out to my wife in the living room. She was watching Law & Order reruns and I said, "put on the news". We both watched in shock and then we hugged.
These protestors were committing an act of sedition on live television. They did not like the election results and they were trying take fair democratic American institution away from us all in a blatant coup.
This election was as fair as any other election, maybe more so given the recounts and recertifications. The disinformation online fed this conspiracy theory that the election was stolen. FoxNews is now considered to be tame (and to some it is Liberal biased) compared to One American News Network, NewsMax, 8kun, and the QAnon conspiracies.
Trump is a man who cannot accept the word "No" and he proves this point all the time. This spoiled infantile man goaded his extremist supporters to be in DC and disrupt the electoral college count. Trump committed a crime when he called the Georgia's Secretary of State and tried to get them to "find the votes" and overturn Biden's win. Trump had a rally and gave speeches calling for people to flood DC on the 6th of January.
Thus, people like the Proud Boys and White Nationalists showed up. Also, many under-educated rednecks and extremely radicalized conservative followers who only read or watch OANN, NewsMax, and 8kun for their information.
This was clearly an attempted coup.
President-elect Biden came out and admonished the protestors and called on Trump to do the same. Other legislators (Republican and Democrat) did the same. Mike Pence even made the announcement that the protestors will be charged to the full extent of the law.
Meanwhile, Trump tweeted weak calls for respecting the police. After everyone else admonished the seditious attack on the capital, Trump finally made a speech filled with him whining about the election being stolen. He also emboldened the protestors by calling them “very special”. This the same tactic he took when he refused to denounce white nationalists and racists. Trump also repeatedly said "we will never give up; we will never concede".
Those “very special” people knock on every door in the Capital building and called out Democrats and Rhinos (I am paraphrasing here). Had they come across some unfortunate legislator, who knows what they would have done. I saw a picture of someone setting up makeshift gallows. Was it meant to be symbolic or was it to be used if a legislator was “captured”?
A lot of people I know support Trump. They are not all morons or radicalized. Some of them are wealthy and they think fiscally first. Some of them are sick of the laissez-faire - status quo bull shit in Washington (which has now become so partisan it is dysfunctional at best). Some of them just hate all Democrats, Liberals, Progressives, Socialists, Atheists, RHINOs, or any other label that is not lock step with their views (not radicalized but have given in to the propaganda). My point is that not all Trump Supporters are the radicalized terrorists we saw yesterday. I have also heard some friends say several times that they “cannot believe that many people voted for Biden, I just don't buy it".
I know that disillusionment. I felt it in 2016.
I recognized Trump for what he was back in 2016. I knew that this day would come. I watched as the schism in our political discourse worsened in the last four years. I weathered insane insults (cuck, libtard, commie, etc.). I have been accused of watching only CNN and MSNBC (I do not watch either). I witnessed every bill that dissent always along party lines. This happened under Obama and was made worse under Trump. I also lost friends over this. Not the way you may think (I imagine you see me hollering at people and shaking my fist prompting them to walk away shaking their heads). Just disagreeing or saying that I planned on voting for Biden was enough to have them unfriend and block me from not only Facebook but other forums too.
This morning I heard from a few people who claim that yesterday’s coup attempt was an infiltration of Antifa and BLM to make Trump Supporters look bad. Already the rationalizations are happening and spurred on by the online radicalization machine.
What does this mean for America going forward? One of two things will happen:
One possibility is that we will see what happened yesterday and recognize that we must work together as a country. Who knows, this may bring in an era of more cooperation and understanding in Washington and no more radicalized candidates coming into office. Discourse may become more congenial. Maybe we will take a hard look in the mirror and implement some policies that soften our capitalist structures. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how broken our systems really are.
The other possibility is that as we move forward, Trump will continue to stoke those flames. Disinformation will continue to prevail in certain circles. And eventually that powder keg will explode into a civil war. I saw some videos of people in DC calling yesterday’s protest a revolution.
I am hoping for the former.
We will need some key reformation to make this happen. We need to bring back civics’ classes in school. We should also offer free civics classes to adults. It appears far too many people do not understand how our government works. We also need to teach children how to discern disinformation and think critically about the information they are given. We may even need to have some level of censorship with warning labels and fact-checking services for online sites and television shows. Admittedly, this is a dangerous idea (think of the George Orwell book 1984). All of this will take time before we see results. Again, I am hoping for the best. I love America and want to protect it from insurrection, fascism, populism, etc.
All of that said, I noticed something else. There were a few people of color in the crowd, but most protestors were white. How did the capital police react? They did set up perimeters (after the capital building was infiltrated). They eventually showed up in force.
I know they had their hands full ensuring the safety of the Vice President, legislators, aides, staff, and reporters who were in the capital. However, I did not see them wholesale beating, shooting, and pepper-spraying the protestors, even as they destroyed property and committed Federal crimes.
Had those protestors been people of color or identified as BLM protestors, we would have seen a different response from the capital police. a lot more people would be dead. That is a fact. I saw video of protestors pepper-spraying the police yesterday. There were white protestors walking into the Capital building with weapons and not being confronted.
As disgusting as yesterday was I am appalled that we are ignoring the double standard. I saw far too many BLM protests where people were beaten, pepper-sprayed, and shot even when they were not acting violently. Maybe we will be able to usher in equality as our country learns to cooperate and communicate better.
Yesterday was a sad day for America and I can only hope we can do better tomorrow.