WASHINGTON, D.C. — What could be worse than the riot at the Capitol last week? Sadly, the answer is easy: The next one.
That’s partly why some Republicans are calling for Trump to resign, even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is barrelling ahead with another impeachment proceeding against President Donald Trump unless the cabinet removes him or he leaves on his own.
Impeachment won’t stop a mob though, and all the makings for the sequel of last week’s heartbreaking, conspiracy-fueled rebellion remain exactly where they were before Trump poured gasoline on the fire he stoked for at least the last four years. When the next riot erupts, just like the one at the Capitol last week, it’ll be predictable — but only to those who are willing to see it and say something. Sadly, today’s mind-numbing partisanship provided cover for too many for far too long, which is why now the nation is witnessing an assault from conspiracies that are no longer hidden in chat rooms: They’re now spilling into our public buildings.
Many of the rioters knew — not thought, they knew — “our president wants us here,” because they saw and heard Trump more clearly than most Republicans were willing to admit or to even see (tax cuts and judges are blindingly bright lights, it seems).
Below is a rundown of what happened at the Capitol Wednesday, because we all need to be forward-looking if we’re to confront the myths, lies, and conspiracies already swirling around the breach that brought the nation’s first branch of government to its knees, if temporarily, from a riot stamped with the presidential seal of approval.
WARNING: Just as it was terrifying being there, many hellish photos, videos, and harrowing accounts are below. But they’re essential if we want to know the truth. Many myths, equivocations, and conspiracies are already taking root on the internet and in conservative living rooms across the nation. That’s why we all need to try and see as clear eyed as possible.
Transporting ourselves into someone else’s shoes is a start, but we also must remember none of us have all the answers.
Security Was Off, But How Off?
Things moved rapidly. While some officers abandoned their posts during the riot at the Capitol, others were locked in heated battle — some for hours upon grueling hours.
At a certain point, the Capitol Police were overwhelmed with the masses outside on the West Front.
Numerous entrances were breached.
The fight was intense.
Things became insane once masses of rioters made it inside the Capitol.
Lawmakers, staffers, and journalists were bewildered until they were terrified. Capitol Police forced them to safe spaces as the riot raged — but eventually the House floor, the Speaker’s office, and the Senate floor were all abandoned to the mob.
But many officers were witnessed just pulling gates away for officers, and at least one allowed a selfie of himself to be taken with a rioter.
Besides the two pipe bombs found at the RNC and DNC headquarters, molotov cocktails, guns, and zip ties were found amongst the riotous mob.
The confederate flag also flew in the United States Capitol, because what’s a riot without a racist symbol that offends even the majority of southerners?
A noose was displayed outside the Capitol before the mayhem ensued.
“Murder the Media” was on one of the doors that hundreds and hundreds of Trump’s diehard supporters passed through as they raided the symbol of American democracy.
The media was surely targeted during the riot at the Capitol.
It shook many hardened journalists to the core.
There was more than one noose on the hallowed Capitol grounds during the riot.
Nothing was sacred — some smoked weed, many smoked cigarettes (and no one used trashcans, or so it seemed) — in one of the nation’s most sacred spaces: The legislative branch of government, which is preeminent in the Constitution.
The marauders not only impeded the official work of the United States government through forcing every lawmaker on the sprawling Capitol complex to shelter in undisclosed locations for hours, they also upended the official documents needed to keep America and its legislative branch working.
It wasn’t just the protestors who seem to have had it out for the press corps.
Officers detained journalists, even as they only arrested a mere 13 rioters on the day the Capitol was breached.
Nothing was sacred to Trump’s supporters.
After multiple agencies regained control of the Capitol, Trump’s supporters who decided to riot, as opposed to a good ole fashioned get out the vote effort, yelled “Fuck the blue” and “Traitors” in the faces of Capitol Police officers who were still fighting them off.
It’s time we all wake up. This isn’t America. The riot at the Capitol puts the banana in republic.
For generations we’ve — as in America, our nation — flexed the strongest military on the planet as we pretended to be a beacon of hope across the globe, but we’re now laughed at around that same globe.
The gig is up. Other nation’s now see us as we are: A vacuous nation that collectively chose Reality-TV over just about all else.
But it’s seemingly impossible for any of us to hear anyone we disagree with even a little in today’s media climate, because our classless political class doesn’t seem to provide room to breathe and contemplate anything, including last week’s collective national tragedy.
None of us should have been surprised or felt blindsided by the riotous havoc wrought on the Capitol under the mantle of Trump and Trumpism last week. That pent up and misguided rage has been building since Reality TV ‘star’ Donald Trump became President Trump four years ago.
It’s astonishing that less than a month before Wednesday’s attempted coup, self-anointed alt-right storm troopers tore through Washington committing felonies — even as some had felonies committed against them — in the name of Trump. Yet still, the nation’s top cops still fumbled the only football that matters: The heart of our nation.
This is the same president who was silent when white nationalists saluted him with “Hail Trump” after he won in 2016 and who hailed “both sides” after a white-nationalist murdered a promising, young lady in Charlottesville in 2017. Hell, even former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke knew he had an ally in Trump.
As much as our nation is in dire need of self reflection and cleaning house in our security services (or the lack there of), we all need to pause and ask how we’re playing into this pitched atmosphere. If you feel guiltless, good on you.
I don’t have that luxury, and I’ll carry the guilt of being a part of this hyper-partisan shitstorm for years. I can do better, and so can you. And so can we.