After the attempted coup, by a right wing fascist mob, emboldened by Donald Trump, many people, mostly all white, were quick to claim this is not America. It is, in fact, America, writ large.
Let’s start with the fundamental reason all these people were there in the first place, to “Stop the Steal”. The primary reason they believed the election was stolen from their white supremacist candidate of choice, is because there was high voter turnout in black and brown communities. The GOP wins elections by suppressing voter turnout. This has been their playbook since they were Democrats. Let me put it another way that’s easy to understand, white supremacy in America is maintained by suppressing the votes of black and brown people. They have been doing it for a while, they are spectacularly good at it. Consider the fact the Constitution, you know the ‘all men are created equal’ document that held up as the shining exemplar, had to be amended twice to allow black people and women the vote. Land ownership, Poll Tax, Literacy tests, Jim Crow, purging voter rolls, limiting early voting, Vote ID Laws, redistricting, this is America.
People have been protesting injustice in America for decades but the only time we seem to get overwhelming uses of force is when white supremacy is being addressed. The Capitol police know for their excessive use for force were incredibly docile and well mannered around this mob. Protestors in wheelchairs, fear not, we will cuff and drag them out of here. People marching to protest systemic racism, don’t worry, we’ll get the military to back us up on that. There is no way I can be convinced that Capitol police were not deliberately unprepared for this. DC is one of the most policed cities in America and no one knew there were thousands of protestors coming, no one knew that there was a protest starting nearby shortly before both chambers assembled. I find that hard to believe. People stormed the Capitol building, destroyed property, removed the US flag (and replaced it with a Trump flag), trespassed in congressional offices, stole items, paraded with, and hung multiple white supremacists flags, but still had time pose for selfies with law enforcement and get assistance leaving the building, mostly uninjured and without penalty. Police attempting to de-escalate with white terrorists, police being passive and non-threatening with white terrorist, giving violent and often armed white protestors the benefit of the doubt, lack of mass arrest in the face of violence by white people, this is America.
The most American thing about this whole incident is the instigator in chief gets a slap on the wrist from social media and members of Congress get to pretend they haven’t been enabling this for years. All the flowery orations and pretty press releases are not going to change the fact that America is build on white supremacy and what happened at the Capitol on January 6, 2020 may have come as a surprise to some people but it shouldn’t have. Black and brown people have been asking the same questions for generations and getting the same platitudes. There will be no real consequences as a results of these events. Not listening to and marginalizing non-white voices talking about white supremacy, prioritizing white comfort over non-white lives, this is America.