A Capitol under siege
A Nation looks on in horror.
A world stares in disbelief.
The chickens had come home to roost.
America was founded on the principle that All men are created equal was a self-evident truth, while America has never fully realized that noble principle. It has made strides throughout its existence in an attempt to. For centuries racism, bigotry, sexism, religious prosecution have either flourished in the open or simmered beneath the surface. Over the last four years, the Trump administration has tapped into that hate to openly divide our country more so than it has been in the recent past. The mantra of Make America Great and Take our Country back code words to return to the good old days when the 25,000 Ku Klux Klan members marched down Pennsylvania Avenue in full regalia. When women couldn’t vote, had no control over their bodies, and stayed at home barefoot and pregnant. When the LGBT community knew its place was in the closet.
For years communities of color have said that there was racism in the system. This claim is hardly a surprise as any large group will inevitably have a few bad apples in its rank. But instead of addressing the problems, the cries went on deaf ears, shouted down by the blue lives matter crowd, and echoed by right-wing politicians and media as a condemnation of the police as a whole. Now today, a group of domestic terrorists with active and retired law enforcement among them are responsible for the senseless death of a police officer in the name of hate.
The ADL has been monitoring the activities of these groups both on and offline for years. They told Americans that we must take white extremists at their word. That their threats of violence were not just the internet chatter of crazies but a real danger, in 2017 after Charlottesville, a march in which white extremists threw Nazi salutes and waved swastika flags, as they chanted ‘Sieg heil!’ and “The Jews will not replace us.” and carried signs that proclaimed the ‘Jewish media is going down;’ ‘Jews are Satan’s children.’ President Trump’s response? He equated these racist white supremacists with counter-protesters who were there to stand up against hate by saying, “There were good people on both sides.” Subsequently, despite being given many opportunities to so, he repeatedly refused to denounce white Supremacist terrorism. When asked in 2019 when directly asked if there was a growing threat of white nationalism worldwide, Trump responded, “I don’t really.” And then, in his first debate with Joe Biden, he again refused to denounce it; instead, he responded directly to the Proud boys to “stand back and stand by.” Throughout it all, the silence from his defenders on Capitol Hill was deafening, taken as a wink and nod by white supremacists that they were with them. On Wednesday, January 6th, Trump and other right-wing politicians stood on a stage in front of a group of individuals, many of whom proudly displayed their racism and bigotry. They were looking for a fight; they needed someone to light the fuse, and Trump, along with other men and women who had sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, gladly obliged.
But for every action, there is a reaction, and this tacit approval of white Supremacists and their rhetoric has led to radicalizing a whole new generation—individuals who now feel emboldened to display their hate in broad daylight. Individuals who are willing to overlook corruption and believe any conspiracy theory spewed at them as long as those spewing it hate the same people they do, so much so that groups like QAnon, which not that long ago would be dismissed as far-right crazies, now have members who not only run for elected office but are elected. The result? Members of Congress openly state they don’t trust some of their colleagues and, as a measure of protection, have for themselves have instituted the mandatory policy of having to walk through metal detectors to gain access to the Capitol Building.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said:
It is not because the truth is too difficult to see that we make mistakes. It may even lie on the surface, but we make mistakes because the easiest and most comfortable course is to seek insight where it accords with our emotions — especially selfish ones.
It is hard to believe that Trump’s Enablers and his hate-filled agenda did not see the truth. However, it is easy to believe that they choose to ignore it in their selfish greed for power. Whether they ascribed to that hate or not, their silence has made them no less responsible for the hatred that rages through the lifeblood of this country.
As a country, we once again stand at a crossroads. It will take courage and leadership to guide us through this dark period. It will take those we have entrusted with the governance of this noble experiment known as the United States of America to stand up to those who see only what they wish to see, be it right or wrong, as long as it continues their grip on in power.
As Dr. Martin Luther King said, Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ And Vanity comes along and asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But Conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take neither safe position, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.”
It is time the majority of our leaders do what is right before the chickens come home to roost again.