Spenser Withans/Unsplash

About the Siege of the US Capitol

, Senior Climate Justice and Health Scientist | January 7, 2021, 5:48 pm EDT
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I want to make sure that everyone realizes that what passed for Democracy before the January 6, 2021 events was already under fire. Because systemic, toxic racism runs through our nation like blood in the body. But yesterday was so much more. It touched us—it touched me—on a soul-deep level. More importantly, it did something else…

It finally revealed what was meant by the statement “Make America Great Again.” Most people already had a sense of its meaning, but no one knew it would go this far. For us, it meant genocide, anti-Black, anti-immigration, anti-people of color, anti-anything that was non-Trump. But there’s more…

Yesterday revealed just how deeply entrenched racism and hate and ignorance are in some people (well, there were really a lot of people there and many more eagerly cheering them on from afar, not the least of whom was the president himself). The extreme actions of yesterday lacked one thing—white hoods. Well, maybe masks too because not everyone wore them despite yesterday also being a day when COVID-19 cases hit new highs in the United States.

But most importantly, by yesterday, if there were still people saying that racism and injustice and unfair treatment didn’t exist in the United States, if they still say that, then they are truly lying to themselves and worse—enabling these harms to persist. Look at the way people were treated yesterday—during a coup attempt by domestic terrorists—compared with those who participated in peaceful demonstrations and marches to finally end the endless open season on Black people, on people of color, on Indigenous people, on people who choose to be their authentic selves, on people who just want to live and be treated fairly and with the respect and dignity they deserve.

For some reason, I started thinking about “the Wall” that has been a big topic of conversation for this administration. For me, the Wall symbolizes the activities of yesterday and the meaning behind MAGA. I think about the physical policed wall to keep people out of this country, to imprison people—children—at the border, the wall of police to keep Black people from engaging in peaceful protests, the wall of police on the Capitol steps then, the wall of police cars that we see when one person of color is pulled over, even if it was just a ‘routine’ traffic stop (is it ever routine though?), the invisible wall that keeps people out and keeps white privilege in, that separates races and ethnicities, socio-economic walls delineating the Haves and the Have Nots, and the tangible wall of hatred and prejudice and racism—all used to symbolize US and THEM (only US is not all of us, just some).

Yesterday, I did not see a wall keeping the domestic terrorists from entering the Capitol. Instead, I saw the plexiglass or bullet proof, transparent wall that the outgoing #1 terrorist stood behind while he incited and condoned violence. I saw the flimsy metal barricades at the Capitol steps, easily tossed aside by the terrorists as they simply walked through them, mostly unimpeded by the police. I imagine walls in homes in DC, behind which people gathered and hoped and prayed for protection from these vigilante terrorists, some of whom were renting homes or rooms for yesterday’s events in their very neighborhoods. I saw photos of makeshift walls in the Capitol itself, built by people trapped there, to hide and protect themselves from whatever horror was occurring outside—walls of chairs and desks and whatever material those fearful people could find.

There is my main takeaway. The sheer audacity to hate has always been present, the determination to not only keep the walls up but to fortify them. That hate has been fueled over time by the greatest hate monger of all and all the despicable people around him who have and continue to enable him, and it became yesterday’s inferno. But through all of that, I saw the wall that separates how those people, those terrorists are ‘handled’ by the authorities compared with law abiding people who happen to be, for the most part, Black people and other people of color.

Today my heart hurts. And I can feel my own protective walls slowly going up.


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  • Healer

    January 6, 2020 will be remembered as long as there is open exchange of information. It could be that people in power will want us to forget it, but that is not going to happen. I am still wondering how we explain it to our children and grandchildren. We have so many problems in this country that need to be addressed: white privilege, climate change, COVID, overpopulation, and I could go own for at least a page; however, education systems that actually promote critical thinking might be a step in the right direction. I know people are attached to both superstitions and religions, but both have done so much harm to so many people. If children are born into situations where they are not given the opportunity to think for themselves, the result is a mob that wants to hurt anyone who does not think the way they do. A step in the right direction after January 6, 2020 is to promote well-educated citizens who are secure enough in their own lives to allow others that same freedom.

  • Kathy Rigby

    Look, I despise Trump and his retarded minions as much as the next person, but your hyperbole is ill-fitting of the UCS. This brief attack was not a “seige” by any stretch (a dictionary is a wonderful thing), and it clearly was not an “attempted coup”, nor was it an “insurrection” – as is plain to anyone with eyes who looked at the images. It was a bunch of idiots committing (for the most part) acts of minor vandalism and taking selfies, and who then disbursed themselves. As for being “anti – immigrant” (etc), you need to remember that the number one cause of the destruction of this planet’s ecosystem is an overpopulation of humans – so plenty of people simply dont want any more humans coming to the US to compete for resources here, regardless of their skin color. You would be wise to take that into account. We are living in a plutocracy/corpocracy. Soon it might be you and me as the “mob” that has to take down the government that seeks to control us all as serfs – as happens periodically throughout human history. http://rodama1789.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-triumph-of-guillotine-in-hell.html

  • Average Joe

    Lmao you guys Are so arrogant and snobby that you actually screen everybody’s comments as to not allow any contrary comments to be viewed which is why this comment probably won’t be seen just like my last one

  • My sentiments exactly !! Thank you for a well expressed Reality.

    • Average Joe

      Have another sip of that Kool-aid, sheep

  • Anthony

    Thank you UCS, for your continued efforts to educate us about our most fragile resource, our “environment”. My heart aches in so many ways from events leading up and to include that awful insurrection at our most sacred Capital. First, I would like to thank the brave military men and women who voluntarily serve our Nation.
    Secondly, I will not thank those who swore an oath to serve, that incite and agree to what POTUS and his terrorist are trying to do! May God help us ALL!
    -Proud Disabled US Army Veteran
    Anthony S. Martin

    • Average Joe

      So when Trump supporters protest they are terrorist but when antifa and BLM protest and destroy city blocks all over the nation they’re still referred to as protesters? You people are disgusting

    • Average Joe

      And trust me buddy our government is so far from “sacred” both sides are full of liars cheaters warmongers thieves and yes murderers. Are you even talking about the same US Government as I am????? Or are you drunk on the kool-aid???

  • Biologyteacher101

    Yes, the evidence for racism in law enforcement and among politicians is on open display.