Like all Americans, I was disheartened by today’s events at the Capitol. As a Black American, I was deeply disturbed by what can only be viewed as the preferential treatment reserved for some Americans and denied to others.
This past summer, peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters arrived in the District and were met by a battalion of police and military determined to protect the city, the government, and the people from these savage marauders. I remember those protestors—Black, White, old and young, but mostly peaceful—being bulldozed along by police in full-body armor as they were peppered with teargas and shot with rubber bullets so that that man could lumber across Lafayette Park to St. John’s Episcopal Church holding someone else’s bible. As I recall, there was absolutely no possibility that they might breach Capitol Hill thanks to the phalanx of armed police installed around its perimeter.
Today, a terrorist mob, primed by that same man, marched up to a woefully under-protected Capitol Hill, climbed the stairs, pushed through doors, broke windows, and stormed their way into the building as if they were on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. One trespasser, feet on the House Speaker’s desk, posed gleefully for photos before trashing the place. Another stood triumphant on the Senate dais shouting that his guy had won. The great rotunda became a one-ring circus. Outside, thugs scaled the wall as if it were Pointe du Hoc. As these scenes unfolded on my television screen, I felt like I was watching some dystopian film. It was mind-numbing and simply disgraceful.
Yet the insurgents who stormed the Capitol were treated with a level of deference more suited to a group of peacefully protesting seniors sitting on a grassy knoll holding hands and singing Kumbaya. Where was the National Guard? Where was the D.C. force? What happened to the Capitol Police? Where was the military? I read that there had been only thirteen arrests. Thirteen! Had that group been Black, I suspect there would have been thirteen fatalities, many more injured, and hundreds of arrests.
I expect – no, I demand action. People need to be held accountable. And that begins with that man. I wonder – is it too late to start impeachment proceedings? If not, can he be removed from office? I feel there is a lot of blame to go around here. How did the actions or inaction of legislators contribute to this melee and should they be censured? Who made the decisions that left the Capitol so vulnerable? And why was this treasonous White mob treated with kid gloves, in stark contrast to the violent tactics directed at BLM protestors? Why were officers helping protestors downstairs, moving barricades, and posing for selfies??? I think anyone who stormed into the Capitol should have been arrested and held to some standard—perhaps the ten-year prison sentence the president suggested for BLM protestors this summer. And anyone who aided them, removed from their position of public trust.
I would like to see our representatives in Congress and the Senate take a very public stand on this.