The last 48 hours have been [nothing short of] something that you would see in a movie streaming on Netflix or Hulu; but unfortunately this is our reality. With a new president being sworn into office less than two weeks away, democracy is literally on its axis. And that office is the United States Capitol building – location of the presidential inauguration; congressional meeting place for the creation of laws for our nation. With everything that building represents, the Capitol became ground zero for what can only be described as domestic terrorism.
The ongoing debates on whether or not President Elect Biden legitimately won the 2020 Election, came to a climax yesterday at Capitol Hill. ‘Protestors‘ fueled by current President Donald Trump’s speech at the National Mall to go to Congress to protest headed to The Capitol. Trump had also mentioned how Vice President Mike Pence was not helpful in the process of overturning the results to what he still believes is a stolen election. Now, it is within everyone’s right to [peacefully] protest as we’ve seen with the current Black Lives Matter movement, but what I witnessed was nothing short of anarchy.
When you think terrorism, you immediately think of “9/11” or the the Islamic terrorist attacks in Europe, but what if I told you that what you watched on the news/social media last night was just that: terrorism. It may not be to the extent of previous attacks by foreign countries, but it is still using violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. We label it domestic terrorism because these acts are being committed by those who are literally from this country. They could be your neighbors, co-workers, and even worse your family members. Domestic terrorism is very real and we all witnessed it yesterday.
When I initially heard the story, I was at work and had no clue about what had transpired. Currently, I am a bartender at an Irish pub in Hoboken where we refrain from putting any news channels on. Sports, movies, and the Game Show Network dominate all of our screens. And on occasion, the Weather Channel if there’s an impending snow storm. But what I had noticed was that sports channel ESPN was breaking the story about what had happened at the Capitol. As I watched with world, I saw a Trump Rally turn into a MAGA mob storm a federal building, trespass, vandalize, with the malicious intent to “take back what’s ours?!” Rioters yelling, “where’s Pence?” in an attempt to confront him with potential violence. This story was far too big for even a sports outlet not to address it; especially with sports teams that play in the DC area (Washington Football Club, Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards). Within the last few years, current social events and sports have slowly intertwined for the reasons of awareness and with the hopes of making positive change. Although there are those who would rather just “watch the game,” athletes are aware of their platform and have a voice that can reach the masses due to their celebrity. The main sport that was airing during the Capitol riots yesterday was NBA Basketball. Players all over the league at the beginning of their games took knees, interlocked arms, and put their heads down in prayer to show their solidarity because of not just what had happened, but how it was handled. As disgusting as these images and videos were, what bothered me even more was the visual lack of police presence.
When the BLM protests were at its height stemming from the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmad Aubrey, Breaana Taylor, etc. on any given day there were multiple arrests made. On one particular day in June, there was 430 arrests made during a BLM protest in the DC area. How many arrests were made during the attack on the Capitol? 52. I understand that people were injured, and 4 were killed, but they were also breaking into a federal building performing acts of terrorism. During this riot, there was a police presence but nowhere near its BLM protest counterpart. On any given day during the BLM movement you had armed guards and military personnel surrounding Capitol Hill, for this however they were non-existent. There’s clearly a double standard that still exists in this country when it comes to systemic racism, proper police procedure, and police brutality. The benefit [if any] from these riots is that it shines yet another light on how we need to eliminate these double standards. The other benefit is how some people are finally starting to see how Mr. Trump perpetuates this type of behavior.
Donald Trump perpetuates groups like the Proud Boys, and QAnon. He perpetuates the type of behavior that defaces BLM murals, racism, misogyny, and what we witnessed yesterday afternoon. Trump was quoted saying “this month will bring to end the greatest first term in presidential history.” Unemployment at an all time high, racial divisiveness, and now acts of domestic terrorism. This is Donald Trump’s legacy. And now that his presidency is coming to an end, changes to need to be made. Biden was the first step in bringing change. Let’s continue to grow and learn so we can create positive changes not just within the system but within ourselves.