2020 was a year of protest. Black Lives Matters marched all summer. Police were out in riot gear and tear gas, defending government buildings and police precincts. Black men and women were shot and killed for no reason other than existence. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Jacob Blake, the list goes on and on and on. During this time, police in riot gear defended the steps of the White House while Trump incited violence and called the National Guard into Democratic mayor led cities for not stopping the violence. He had armed guards tear gas peaceful protestors in front of a church so he could hold an upside down Bible for a photo op.
He lied about coronavirus, he lied about the elections. He lied about every little thing that he could to turn his cult of supporters against the rest of America, who could only watch in hopelessness as over 360,000 Americans died of a pandemic that could have been handled and dealt with early on. But come November, his lies weren’t enough. Biden won the White House. Georgia had turned the Senate blue. Six days into 2021, I was hopeful the year would be more normal, but as it turns out, 2020 lives on.
Yesterday, there was an attempted coup at the US Capitol building. Armed Trump supporters stormed the building, broke windows, vandalized offices, stole mail, and 4 people ended up dead in a last ditch attempt to support the Republicans who were contesting the electoral college votes. They were, once again, incited by Trump. He himself said nothing while the coup was going on. And when he did finally speak to tell them to go home, he also told them he loved them. And after this, while many Republicans decided to withdraw their objections to the electoral college votes, 121 House members and 6 Senators still voted for the objections. They are equally to blame for supporting a megalomaniac in his delusions of grandeur and attempted overthrow of American democracy.
They brought in guns. They brought in bombs. They came draped in Nazi and confederate flags and were covered in other hate symbols. They literally brought fascism into the White House and then falsely blamed Antifa, all the while spewing fascist propaganda. This was not a protest, this was sedition against the United States of America.
And only four people died. Three from medical emergencies. There was no tear gas, there were no rubber bullets. There was no police in full riot gear beating them back. It took four hours to get them all out of the Capitol building, while they looted and stole, possibly national security secrets, and then posted on social media because they were white men and women who had the backing of the President of the United States and won’t face consequences.
If black people had invaded the capitol, they would have been beaten back and shot. If it were Muslims, they would have had snipers up on the roof shooting them down. We’ve seen that America. We’ve seen it all summer at protest after protest. We saw it in 2017 when disabled people were dragged from their wheelchairs for protesting healthcare changes. We saw it in 2020 when peaceful BLM protestors were tear gassed and forcefully removed from Lafayette Square so Trump could have his photo op. We did not see it in 2021, when rioters attempted to end democracy and were largely allowed to leave on their own.
Not all Americans are created equal. That was never more clear than yesterday.