Yesterday afternoon, a militia of Americans invaded Capitol Hill — holding confederate flags, Trump 2020 banners, and MAGA picket-signs — and stormed through a line of police into the U.S. Capitol.
Inside, they took over the building — -some manning the main hall, others vandalizing the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi’s office, and a group breaching onto the U.S Senate floor — one caped in a Trump flag taking a seat in the Vice President’s chair.
“Stop the Steal,” they cried in and outside the premises. More shouting, “U-S-A, U-S-A” in their harmony — -believing their protest, is “what democracy looks like.”
Later in a public statement via video, President Donald Trump told his supporters to “Go home” and that “We love you. You’re very special.” Then in a tweet, he placed blame on Mike Pence for not “having the courage to do what should have been done.”
Like most Americans, I was disgusted by the breaching of the Capitol. A complete desecration of civility and democracy in the name of #VoterFraud. But because I am sick of our divisions as a Black American. Because I am sick of the mishandling of news as a journalist. I have forced myself to listen.
These individuals were not advocating for Republican principles — -they were in worship of Donald Trump — the only man who’s heard them.
While many political figures denounced these events — -like former Vice President stating “We condemn the violence that took place here in the strongest terms.” And from President-Elect Joe Biden, “I call on President Trump to defend the Constitution by demanding an end to this siege.”
Some online posts shared strong sentiments with the rioters — even one stating, “Well, riots are the language of the unheard.” A quote stated by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — -where he did not advocate for rioting, and condemned all violence, but merely expressed riots are inevitable when aggravated people stay ignored.
After reading this tweet about Trump supporters, I instantly hearkened back to this past summer where this quote was often spoken by some #BlackLivesMatter supporters in regards to the riots in Portland.
And ironically, their main opposition came from #MAGACountry— who’s team invaded the Capitol in “protest.”
There’s no coincidence that Trump said, “We love you. You are special,” to the mob — -because he knows what they are craving, the same reason why they’re physically fighting for the Election— -to be counted in.
The ironic part is how polarizing these sides are, but how they share distinct similarities. Both sides are called, “extremists.” Both sides are called, “racists.” Both sides are called, “the problem,” and both sides express that, “their unseen.” What if these incidents have exposed how political megaphones further callous the individuals on the fringes.
Because they “feel” like the main targets of the “other side,” and believe they need to bulldoze the stage in order to be recognized, included, and taken seriously.
Our country is not simply divided. Our country is brutally bashed. And as difficult as it is, especially right now, the weapons have to drop. As much as we vehemently differ, we need to closely observe the riots in Portland and the invasion on Capitol Hill — -and see what it’s telling us about ourselves.
I might have an idea, but I’m not sure yet. Though, I am no longer overlooking desperate agitation.
I’m judiciously pressing my ear to the madness.