Forget about red or blue states and left or right wings this time. Wednesday, January 6th, 2021 will forever be a day of disgrace. An anniversary that will carry shame. Make no mistake, America was attacked. When Pearl Harbor and 9/11 occurred, the country was attacked by foreign governments. This week the fabric of our democracy was attacked by citizens of this very nation. Do not glamorize the actions from these rioters. Do not confuse nationalism for patriotism. In one day, these Anti-American radical rioters stripped the country of its dignity. While imperfect, the United States is a symbol of democracy, which requires respect and protection of the democratic system of governing. Without these principals, this country does not exist.
The main person to blame for inciting the rioters is the President himself. Two big supporters of the President have been Senators Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell. They both enabled and encouraged his outrageous behaviors the last four years. Late Tuesday evening on the senate floor Graham says, “but today all I can say is count me out. Enough is enough.” Oh really – this finally got your attention? The toxicity had to reach this extreme before you had enough. Doing the right thing when it is convenient v. not convenient is a huge difference. You missed that boat a long time ago! You cannot be an arsonist and a firefighter.
During this horrendous day, the amount of privilege that oozed out caught my attention. Honestly, it was a slap in the face for people of color because we have seen this episode before. White America screams the “do as I say not as I do” message to minorities regularly. This day was no different, except this time a white woman died. I believe life is a gift and whenever it is taken away it is a tragedy. Ashli Babbitt, a 35-year woman from San Diego lost her life during the riot. She was a 14-year veteran, serving in the Air Force. What struck me as so confusing is that shouldn’t someone who dedicated 14 years of their life to preserving the institution of democracy know better than to slap it in the face? Shouldn’t they strive to preserve law and order? It is the heartbeat of this country. The armed services teach discipline and cause and effect. If you break the law, there will be discipline, and if you use violent tactics, there will be forceful consequences.
Some may argue this was peaceful because these people did not have weapons. Stop – we know the element of danger can exist without guns. A mob that numbers in the thousands waving confederate flags, showing off swastikas, and wearing Q (QAnon)1 symbol attire does not instill warm and fuzzy feelings. You are not inviting these folks to a child’s birthday party anytime soon. Though you may not have agreed with their message, they were exercising their constitutional right, one of the freedoms we enjoy as American’s living in the United States. Had the group decided to protest the remainder of the day on the streets, the story would have ended there.
But the story did not end like that. These people decided to play a dangerous game of chicken with the Law and breached the U.S. Capital Building. What would have happened if a group like Black Lives Matters had bull rushed a City Hall building? Or decided to overtake a police station? It would have been a completely different outcome. Those rioters knew their white privilege would give them access to something as unimaginable as the Congressional halls. Even more, they felt confident enough to feel their lives would not be endangered. Heck, rioters were even safely escorted out. The double standard. The entitlement. The Privilege. That is why the white dominant society was so shocked by the shooting of Ashli Babbitt, because that is not what was supposed to happen. That is not the narrative we are accustomed to.
We need to understand this country treats people very differently based on skin color. Institutional power cannot be tolerated anymore! Kyle Rittenhouse, the 18-year-old who shot three men (killing two) in Kenosha, Wisconsin at a protest, was spotted last weekend drinking at a bar while wearing a t-shirt that said “Free AS F**K.” This after people donated over $2 million dollars to cover his bond. Even though there are plenty of videos of him killing human beings, Kyle has the luxury to enjoy his day in court to defend himself. We cannot say the same for Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber (victims of the Kenosha shooting), Gorge Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Sandra Bland, Eric Gardner, and the list that unfortunately carries so many more names. How does a minor offense like a traffic stop, supposedly using a fake $20 bill, selling loose cigarettes, equal death? These victims did not have any weapons on them, yet they did not have their day in court. It is unfair and racist. We see what is happening – do you? Sometimes the stories we want to hear the least are the ones we need to hear the most. When it comes to the fight for “All Lives” and equality and respect for all citizens… why does it feel like we are losing both the battle and the war.