Warning: This is a post some will disagree with. You are probably thinking, “How is that any different than anything else you post?” Just remember, I am a firm believer that we can disagree and still be friends!
As I watched the news of the protests that quickly esclatated into a riotous coup, I wrestled with a number of emotions. Bewilderment. Anger. Fear. Hopelessness. Deep concern. At the same time, I unfortunately expected this type of reaction. I was disheartened by my lack of surprise.
In moments like these, it is important to accurately remember things that surrounded the escalation of these events.
It’s also important to remember that polarized extremists do not and cannot define us.
The extremists who stormed the Capitol do not define the majority of Republicans or Trump supporters.
The extremists who committed acts of violence during Black Lives Matter protests do not define the majority of BLM supporters and sympathizers.
We cannot vilify the whole based on the actions of a few. At the same time, we cannot excuse the actions of the few.
We must remember that the majority of the 70+million people who voted for President Trump did not vote for what took place yesterday.
We also cannot shift the blame.
Over the summer, some supporters of the BLM movement blamed Trump supporters for some of the violence as an attempt to discredit that movement (some of that did prove factual, but not all the violence can be traced back to those extremists).
Within hours of the Capitol coup, supporters of the current administration began shifting the blame to Antifa (we do not yet know whether or not this is accurate – however, in watching Fox News as they were identifying some of those captured in now infamous pictures, it appears unlikely that Antifa was directly involved).
In all of theses cases, the acts were committed by people who believed they had no other options. To feel so disenfranchised to resort to these types of actions is something I hope none of us ever experience.
We must remember that, for some, silence is not necessarily complicity. Some are simply at a loss of words. Some feel like posting on social media or writing a blog doesn’t actually do much good. However, for some, silence is complicity. Just remember, if your friends are silent on this matter, do not assume that they somehow support, condone or are excusing what took place on Janurary 6, 2021.
We must remember the reality of the events that led to these actions. In the case of yesterday’s events, we must remember that many of these protestors and rioters were conditioned for this reaction.
We must remember that an intentional agenda of misinformation was used to fuel the fire. A campaign of conspiracy theories has led to the mistrust of elected officials, journalists, mainstream (and not-so-mainstream) media, the judicial system (including Trump appointed justices), certified and audited state elections. We seem to live in a world where we have the freedom to choose our own version of reality.
We must remember that these protesters marched to the Capitol building shortly after they were urged to do so by the President.
We must remember that these protesters turned into rioters shortly after their anger was stoked by a tweet that read, “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!”
While some want to excuse the President from taking any responsibility for the events of January 6, some of those who stood closely by his side have made it clear that he bears some of the blame.
Former Attorny General William Barr issued the following statement: “Orchestrating a mob to pressure Congress is inexcusable. The President’s conduct yesterday was a betrayal of his office and supporters.”
John Boehner (yes, that John Boehner) wrote, “I once said the party of Lincoln and Reagan is off taking a nap. The nap has become a nightmare for our nation. The GOP must awaken. The invasion of our Capitol by a mob, incited by lies from some entrusted with power, is a disgrace to all who sacrificed to build our Republic.”
We must remember that after the rioters forced their way into the Capitol, they were asked to “remain peaceful.” I don’t know about you, but the aggressive takeover of the Capitol does not conjure up an image of peace to me.
We must remember that as law enforcement began to reestablish control, the video message from our nation’s leader referred to the rioters (some may call them treasonists or domestic terrorists) as being “very special” and told “we love you” while also continuing the mantra of a “stolen election.” That video was taken down by Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The President’s accounts were suspended indefinitely. That is not something we should take lightly.
We must remember that not all Trump supporters condone this action. Many supporters of the current administration have called upon the President to accept and admit defeat. Many supporters of the President are disgusted by the events at the Capitol on the day of Epiphany.
We must remember so that we can be aware of these signs and conditions. We must remember so that we do not allow this kind of thing to happen again.
The extremists do not and cannot define us. I pray that we will also not allow them to further divide us.