When I woke up this morning…
I thought for a second that maybe it was all a bizarre dream. A mob of pro-Trump extremists storming the Capitol and smashing windows to climb inside, while members of Congress, journalists and support staff ran to hide under chairs and tables? “People are crying,” journalist Olivia Beavers live-tweeted from inside the building during the attack. “I can’t fully relay right now how fear is coursing through the House right now as the sound of gas masks are being unwrapped.”
But yesterday, it really happened: MAGA-hat-wearing men and women vandalized offices and took photos of themselves climbing on statues and desks. A police officer was caught on tape taking a selfie with a rioter. It took hours for National Guard troops to be deployed; since President Trump wasn’t going to do that, Vice President Pence stepped up to give the order.
“It’s like watching a real-life horror movie. I mean, we train and plan and budget every day, basically, to have this not happen,” Kim Dine, who was chief of the Capitol Police from 2012 to 2016, told the Washington Post.
By the end of the attack, only 30 people were arrested — charged with offenses like carrying a pistol without a license and unregistered ammunition — while hundreds were allowed to leave with nothing but a warning. Did you see the video of a woman being gently helped down the Capitol steps by a riot police officer? Meanwhile, Trump tweeted, “We love you. You’re very special.”
Why weren’t more people arrested? Kris Kanthak, a political science professor at the University of Pittsburgh, says she expects many of the rioters to be arrested over the next week; and the FBI is seeking information and tips. It seems crazy to me that more people weren’t arrested last night. As I told Alex, if a mob had broken into an Anthropologie store, they’d have been immediately arrested — but not the Capitol?
White privilege, of course, is the answer. Ja’Mal Green, a Chicago-based activist, told the New York Times: ‘We all know if Black Lives Matter would have stormed the Capitol, there would have been deadly force used to protect that building…We today saw what it means for white people to have the privilege.”
Senate aides escorting the electoral ballot boxes to be counted.
Thankfully, after the attack, Congress gathered together, shaken, to confirm the election of President-Elect Joe Biden. And, looking ahead, Georgia activist and national hero Stacey Abrams tweeted, “While today’s terrible display of terror and meanness shakes us, let’s remember, @ossoff, Jewish son of an immigrant & @ReverendWarnock, first Black Senator from Georgia, will join a Catholic POTUS & the first woman, Black + Indian VP in our nation’s capital. God bless America.”
What are your thoughts? How are you doing? Sending the biggest hug to those who need one.
(Top photo by Jason Andrew for the New York Times; second photo by Andrew Harnik/Associated Press; third photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc.)