On Jan. 6, I sat in front of the television to watch the counting of the electoral votes that would declare the winner of the 2020 Presidential election.
Historically, this parliamentary procedure is a rather dull and uneventful process, but this year an ominous cloud hanged over this particular event. Perhaps sparks might fly and the show might be less boring than usual?
I felt that fear and violence were in the air.
I am pretty sure that my gut feeling was shared by many people. In the United States and around the world.
If that was the case, why was the security so lax? In contrast, why was the Capitol so heavily guarded just a few weeks ago, when supporters of Black Lives Matter came before the building to protest? What is the truth behind it all?
Was it, maybe, because the apparently improvised but dangerous masses that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 were—mostly—white European American?
In the eyes of the police and in the eyes of a nation that seems to avoid looking at a different truth from what it is being served historically, an armed and belligerent adult White man is deemed less dangerous than a 12-year-old Black boy holding a toy gun while sitting peacefully on a park bench. Thus, the Black boy dies. The White man lives. He gets to attack the Capitol.
The events that took place on Jan. 6, 2021, culminating with the spectacularly unimpeded assault of the Capitol Building by supporters of the losing candidate, were not boring at all. And they were announced and predictable.
The clear loser of the elections, still-President Donald Trump, refused to concede. Instead, he claimed that “the system was rigged,” an assertion that he had even used to describe his own victorious election in 2016.
From 2016 on, he constantly attempted to erode democratic institutions such as the press, Congress, various “unsympathetic” judges and anyone who would not kneel before his whims. Jan. 6 of this year was just the cherry on top for his white supremacist cake.
On Jan. 6, in front of the White House, Trump warmed up the invading troops by saying “I will be marching with you!” Of course, yet another untruth to be included in his extensive collection. As soon as the seditious harangues were over, he made a U-turn and went to watch the attack on television.
Damn, dude! At least Nero played the lyre while Rome burned. You only tweeted!
When the inflammatory speeches were over, the masses marched to storm the Capitol.
It was ugly, but it was also revealing of a different version of the truth. This “revolution,” unlike Gil Scott Heron’s poem assertion, was televised. That, perhaps, makes it less ugly, because the wound is exposed and a healing might begin. The truth shall make you free? Hopefully.
A few days after the unimpeded assault on the Capitol, described as many as “the most sacred site of our democracy,” (silly me, I thought that title belonged to Wall Street!) this divided country is ablaze with contending comments and analysis in reference to that spectacular event. Many call it “a dark day in America.”
A dark day? Well, I must be in a different reality. To me, it looked more as one of the whitest days in the United States. Nothing dark about it. I mean, it was a mob full of Vikings, Pilgrims, Confederate soldiers of little fortune, solicitous police helpers (with honorable exceptions) and enablers and collaborating members of Congress. All White, with very few sprinkles of other colors among the heroes and heroines of the assaulting hordes.
For any clueless Black, Brown, Latino/a (or even a Latinx) who might have been caught in the pandemonium, it might have felt a bit exhilarating. This assault made those Black Fridays riots seem lame in comparison. Here they were, attacking the Capitol, surrounded by friendly White folks, who treated them as equals. They were getting into the building for free. FREE! Only in “America.”
Allow me a little related digression.
Why call it Black Friday? Although that particular commercial/cultural tradition is a big hook for the working-class masses of all colors, the hook is set-up by lily-white CEO’s and other semi-gods of the capitalist system. Oops…too “socialist” for you? OK. Digression over. I don’t want to shock anyone.
But…another little point: I will not say “America,” because I do not want to support the appropriation of that name by this country. Last I heard America is a continent. A Bolivian is an American. The same goes for a Cuban or a Venezuelan, countries that right now are considered “enemies,” or at least adversaries of the United States.
Enough of that, for now. Back to scheduled program.
I am pissed. Yeah, I know that you might also be pissed. Right now, everyone seems to be. On all sides. Let’s not forget, as one ex-president said, that “there are good people on both sides.” All pissed “patriots.”
In the search for a different truth, please stop saying that ugly lie: “This is not who we are. This is not America.” This is and has been this country.
Like Steve Kerr, coach of the Golden State Warriors said: “This is who we are. You reap what you sow.”