By Molli Curtis '22
Plymouth Whitemarsh High School
Last week, Americans watched as the chambers of the Capitol were disrupted and vandalized, not by a foriegn enemy of democracy but a mob of America’s own citizens.
On Jan. 6,2021 Trump held a rally that attracted thousands of his supporters to the nation’s Capital. After the rally's conclusion, supporters marched up Pennsylvania Avenue and towards the Capitol building.
Trump supporters gathered along a police barricade but soon broke past the barricade. While making their way up the steps, the joint-session of congress to certify the vote of the Electoral College was recessed.
Soon, the Capitol was put under lockdown and Capitol Police were overwhelmed. Meanwhile, Trump supporters engaged in brutal behavior-- climbing walls, and waving swastika and confederate flags (the first time to ever be in the Capitol). Even worse, they broke a window and gained access to the building’s interior. Inside, they vandalized statues and even broke into Nancy Pelosi’s office.
It took hours for the police to clear the mob. Congress finally reconvened around 8:00 p.m. that night to certify the Electoral College results.
In more than 220 years, the U.S. The Capitol had seen nothing like it: a roaring mob, forcing its way past the barricades and into the building, disrupting Congress, and threatening the world's greatest democracy.
Regardless of political ideals and beliefs, we can all conclude that what happened at the Capital recently was not what we could ever imagine a “protest” to be. America and its citizens are used to witnessing demonstrations of peaceful protests; however, this certainly wasn’t the case with what happened at the Capital last week..
Sometimes people protest with more passion, but where do we and where should we draw the line? Many compared this side-by-side with the unarmed Black Lives Matter movement demonstrations that were met with harsh repercussions, but where does this capital raid stand in terms of violence, outcome, and how it was handled?
In retrospect, when making this comparison, it is important to mention that when President Donald Trump was asked about the Black Lives Matter protests he called the participants “thugs.” However, the capital raiders were labeled as both “patriots” and “very special.”
During the Black Lives Matter protests this past summer, people remained peaceful and, ultimately, were trying to spread the awareness of the systematic racism in our country. In return, they were met with rubber bullets and tear gas. These protestors were unarmed and protesting for their lives. On the other hand, the media reported that those who stormed the capital were met with limited security.
These people ravaged their way inside, vandalized the building, brought weapons, and even murdered a police officer. In terms of these events, the country seemed to show more sympathy and less punishments for these acts than those by the peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters.
Not only was this an extreme demonstration that hurt the Black community and threatened our democracy, but also brought to light the Anti-semitism that seems to be underrecognized in our country. Pictured at the capital were people wearing “Camp Auschwitz'' shirts as well as shirts with the abbreviation “6MWE.” This stands for six million weren’t enough, speaking of the amount of Jews killed in The Holocaust. Imagine how painful this is for the Jewish community who believed these thoughts retired years ago? This event enlightened people on what some of these Trump supporters stand for.
However, we must think and reflect. Could this tragic event have been avoided? Prior to his twitter account's permanent suspension, Trump continuously tweeted his opinion that the election had a wrongful outcome and he won by a landslide. In addition to this, he also encouraged his followers to protest the results. While he may not have anticipated how bad it would get, or the impact of his words, could he have done more to stop it? Donald Trump pushed his supporters to protest on his behalf while feeding them the ideas of his win. Does this mean he is to blame?