Wednesday, January 6, 2021
Well, damn. The new year started with a BANG, literally. Shocking and sad, but not surprising. Tonight, I am still a bit shell-shocked and more than alarmed as dozens of news reports roll out with accompanying videos shot from different angles, inside and outside the US Capitol.
On Monday, I’d expressed concern to a friend about the MAGA crowds in DC. By Tuesday, the crowd seemed to grow in size and unruliness. I watched trump rile up his base, along with his son, Senators Cruz, McCarthy, and a junior Senator named Josh Hawley.
Today is Three King’s Day. As I replied to a Facebook message, a video popped up on my laptop screen. The Now Then video showed a large chanting mob at the US Capital, waving trump flags, Confederate flags, and placards with the words, “Stop the steal”.
I expected all that. It was nothing new, however, something felt different from previous trump rallies I’d watched. The intense rage of the crowd was palpable. Their faces were contorted in rage. I spotted camo jackets, gas masks, bull horns, American flags. Some protestors shoved reporters, yelled in their faces. Not a face mask to be seen in a sea of red MAGA hats. Then I saw a guy waving an American flag tied to a pitchfork. Something ugly and violent was about to go down. You could feel it. And go down it would, in a way I never thought I’d see in this country. Yet equally, not at all surprising.
Minutes later, a cameraman panned the crowd. Before I knew it, the mob surged forward. Folks clamored over the concrete barriers, ran up the steps of the Capital and fanned out in front of a small group of Capital Hill police. Holy shit. I immediately posted on Facebook. Why wasn’t the National Guard in full force? Where was the FBI? Homeland Security? This was no longer a crowd of protestors. It looked like a riot. How could the powers that be have missed that this protest could turn violent? Was the lack of police presence and push-back planned? By whom? I had my suspicions. I turned on the news.
The next videos were shot inside the Capitol. They were chilling. I felt nauseated. A bloody woman was rushed out on a stretcher. The president was silent. What the hell was going on?
An hour later or less, President-elect Joe Biden used the words domestic terrorists. Their crime? Insurrection. It is what it is.
The differences between the Black Lives Matters rallies and protests last summer and this mob are stark, black and white. The treatment of the mob and those who illegally entered the Capital and exited with souvenirs, smiles, and jeers was breathtaking, shocking. I joined millions of Americans who asked the question:
What would have happened if the mob had been black? Brown? I shudder to think what a blood bath that would have been.
In the next days, we’ll watch the GOP sidestep, lie, and present the case that trump did not, in fact, incite a riot, an insurrection. They will again gaslight the American public. But friends, myriad news videos, selfies, first-hand accounts, thousands of photographs will show the truth. And soon, patriotic friends and family members will point fingers and accuse the insurrectionists, who didn’t even bother to wear masks. Nice.
The majority of American people want trump out. The majority of Americans want his Republican henchmen and women out. We voted.
Most of us believe that deadly, bloody insurrection was inspired, incited, and led by the president of the United States. And it’s not over. Some say it’s only the beginning. Trump will be impeached. The first US president in history to be impeached twice will be Donald J. Trump.
Justice and accountability first. Unity second or third. Will this country ever see unity? That remains to be seen. I seriously doubt I will see real unity in my lifetime. I pray I’m wrong.
I pray Joe Biden and everyone at the Presidential Inauguration are safe on January 20th.
Stay safe and continue to wear your mask. Tragically, people are still dying in record numbers.
Puerto Rican-born Eleanor Parker Sapia is the author of the multi-award-winning novel, “A Decent Woman”, published by Winter Goose Publishing. Eleanor’s debut novel, set 1900 Puerto Rico, garnered awards at the 2016 and 2017 International Latino Book Awards. She is featured in the anthology, “Latina Authors and Their Muses”, edited by Mayra Calvani.
Eleanor is working on her second novel “The Laments”, set in 1926 Puerto Rico, and an untitled collection of poems about the many facets of love, which often remind her of the complicated relationship between the United States and Puerto Rico.