In a spirited speech at a pre-planned march on Wednesday, President Donald Trump riled his base to march to the Capitol in a final attempt to halt the confirmation of President-elect Joe Biden.
Tens of thousands of his supporters stormed the statehouse, triggering unrest. Media surveillance revealed alarming scenes of rioters breaking windows to enter inside, invading the offices of lawmakers, and laying siege to the undertakings of democracy.
Preceding President Trump’s delayed and passive call for protesters to return home, Biden implored his predecessor to condemn the actions of his followers and labeled the group as “extremists dedicated to lawlessness.”
“The scene of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America. Do not represent who we are,” Biden said in a live video from Wilmington, Del. “It borders on sedition, and it must end now.”
This concept that Trump supporters are a political anomaly who doesn’t reflect our nation’s core values is preposterous, to say the least. Who we allow to serve at the helm of America is in fact a direct reflection of what morals our country chooses to cling to even amidst our tainted democracy.
Moreover, the contrast in how the protests of summer ‘20 and Wednesday’s breaching were handled by our politicians and our justice system is a direct reflection of the true America.
The summer of last year was a monumental fever pitch for the African American community that rose to the forefront to fight the vile inequities within the justice system. After the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, citizens took to the streets to protest his unjust death and sparked an outrage that would rock the globe.
In response to their protest, President Trump invoked the incendiary phrase, “when the shooting starts, the looting starts,” to call for the increase of militarized presence.
However, unveiling the falsehood of American equality, the swarms of protesters who unlawfully breached the Capitol were met with minimized militarized presence and prolonged, mild-mannered response to the insurrection.
When the George Floyd protests, speared by the Black Lives Matter movement, traveled to the gates of the White House, President Trump took to Twitter to warn them that they would face, “the most vicious dogs, and the most ominous weapons,” if they were to cross the gates.
In his formal address that followed Biden’s, President Trump empathizes with his base and reminds them that they are “very special” and though he won in a “landslide election,” they “have to respect the great people of our law and order.” Hinging on his claims of election fraud, Trump continues, “I know your pain, I know your hurt. But you have to go home now.”
What message does this say to America? White supremacy can corner, conquer, and champion itself even at the very steps where our laws are made. It isn’t a new spawn of supremacy in the Trump era but the same strain that has been coddled and has thrived in the absence of accountability in our justice system all along.
Supremacy is inscribed in our constitution. It has been hailed as the victor during the segregationist era that allowed the KKK to run rampant and unchecked. It reigns freely in our modern instances of police brutality. And once again, when our country looks into the mirror, it stares and sneers directly back at us.