Like many American citizens, I was appalled to hear reports and see images of protesters storming the United States Capital on January 6, 2021.
I can only remember four times during my 72 years when I have felt as upset, fearful, angered, and assaulted as an American.
The first time I remember feeling all those emotions was on November 22, 1963 when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. I still remember the feeling of disbelief and the dread and fear in the pit of my 15 year-old stomach. Did the Russians do it, I wondered. It had been drummed into us that Russia was our enemy. They were the biggest danger we had to face! That was a frightening time and we stayed glued to our TVs.
The second time I experienced all those feelings was April 4, 1968 when Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Were we Americans going to destroy each other (those Americans who loved Dr. King and those people who considered Dr. King an enemy of the people)? Riots broke out all over the country. Police and National Guard troops were dispatched to restore/maintain order. I was engulfed with pain, disbelief and dread. Where would we go from here? Who would bridge the gap between minorities and the white majority populations, between the haves and the have nots, between the anti-Vietnam War protesters and our government?
The third time I experienced all those emotions was on September 11, 2001 when four airplanes, hijacked by foreign extremists, attacked us on our soil. Two planes flew into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, one plane flew into the Pentagon outside Washington, DC and the fourth plane, thanks to heroic actions of some passengers, missed its mark and crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. I was at work in a state government building at the time. I was outraged —that anyone would dare come over here and attack us—and I was afraid. In my mind, the people in the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania, and, indeed, in buildings allover the United States were just like me—simply going about their business and working to feed their families. They were people who embraced various viewpoints, ideologies, and religions. People who prided themselves in being citizens of a country where differences were tolerated and change could be effected at the ballot box. Were the attacks going to continue? Were all government offices at risk?
January 7, 2021 was the fourth time in my 72 years that I have felt disbelief, dread, fear and anger, all at the same time, due to terrible events occurring in the United States of America. The United States was under attack by domestic extremists on that day.
Like parents of little leaguers who rush on to the field to beat up the umpires after their child’s team loses the ballgame, a mob of Trump supporters, angered that he lost the 2020 presidential election, rushed the United States Capital in an effort to stop Congress from certifying the Electoral College Votes declaring President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris winners of the 2020 election.
Apparently, these extremists expected to be hailed as saviors. But, it just seems to me that they are, mostly, victims of one of the greatest con-men of our time. Trump has shown, time and time again, that he does not care about people. He seems to only care about being in the spotlight, blind loyalty, power, money —and, maybe his kids (though I am not sure he won’t throw them to the wolves to save himself.). As Maya Angelou said, “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
Now that Trump’s “protesters “ realize that the public is not proud of them, they are offering a strange defense of their actions. They seem to want to compare their breaching of the halls of Congress to the protests waged on behalf of George Floyd, Brianna Taylor, Tamir Rice, et al by Black Lives Matter protesters.
Since I cannot adequately explain the difference between the events of January 7, 2021 and the Black Lives Matter protests, I refer you to the words below of Gerald D. Givens, Jr., President, Raleigh-Apex NAACP, US Air Force, Retired :
“There is no equivocation between the protest in response to the killings of George Floyd, Freddie Gray and Breonna Taylor and so many others as to what these terrorists did in Washington DC. A demonstration is a statement of disapproval or opposition to something. A revolt is a violent rebellion against a government. There is a difference between a demonstration and a revolt. These are not the same.
Why should we have any sympathy for the CEOs, elected officials, law enforcement officers, veterans and everyday citizens who are losing their jobs and being arrested for the planning, attendance, and execution of a rebellion?
They rose up against the American government and captured the Capitol. The rebels shouted “Hang Mike Pence!” The Vice President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and President pro tempore of the Senate, basically the line of succession had to hide for hours in a secured location for their own safety to include the rest of Congress.
Eventually five people would come to die, in which one person was a US Capitol police officer believed to have succumbed to injuries due to being beaten with a fire extinguisher. Some insurgents urinated and defecated in the halls of Congress, not in the bathrooms, but in the halls of Congress. Historical artifacts and congressional offices have been vandalized. They hung Trump flags inside and outside the building and attempted to remove the American flag flying over the Capitol.
A true patriot stands up for our country from our enemies, both foreign and domestic. A patriot does not seek to overthrow a branch government for doing the affairs of the people.”