Danae Anderson: Insurrection at the Capitol
I deeply love my community of Truckee and all the opportunities it affords.
Living this life of privilege for so many years has also given me the opportunity and obligation to re-examine the history on which my privilege was built.
Last year we saw Black Live Matter protests triggered by the death of George Floyd. The protestors were tear-gassed to the point of suffocation, maced, beaten with batons, shot at with rubber bullets, arrested and those in custody, beaten. Additionally, police dogs were deployed, a historical tool of racial control.
On Jan. 6, armed white supremacists, white nationalists, Neo nazis and militias carrying Trump and confederate flags penetrated the Capitol, unscathed by an inadequate number of Capitol police. Apparently top law enforcement officers were not interested in preventing this insurrection.
Front line officers were not in riot gear, not wearing gas masks nor holding guns, there were no police dogs to control the white rioters.
This mob of insurrectionists assailed the heart of our democracy, threatening the safety of our representatives who were in the process of certifying a free and fair election in service of a peaceful transition of power.
The confederate flag was carried through the House Rotunda for the first time in American history. This flag and the hanging noose are not unfamiliar to Black America.
After defiling the Capitol, threatening the lives of representatives, causing the deaths of five people and destroying U.S. property, the insurrectionists walked out or were escorted out of the Capitol without arrest or consequence.
Many have said this is not America, that an insurrection to overthrow democracy is an aberration. But we have had violence around elections in efforts to subvert the democratic will of multiracial communities since Reconstruction when Black representatives were purged from government and replaced by white supremacists. Suppression of minority vote has continued through Jim Crow into 2021. What has been referred to as “fraudulent” votes were those of Black, brown and Indigenous voters.
As Americans we have had a devout belief our institutions could withstand any internal or external enemy.
With four years of norms broken, relentless disinformation and racism stoked, Americans perceived Wednesday that our institutions are fragile.
Our constitution is not self enforcing.
We are all in this together and it is up to us to uphold our democracy.
Our representatives must decide that democracy is more important than re election.
The divisions that have been stoked need to faced. Change cannot be accomplished if we are in denial about the ideology that caused them.
Despite the horrors of what has happened, there are silver linings.
Our history of ownership of other human beings and embedded structural racism gave us this moment.
With this awareness we have many opportunities to take action for a stronger union.
We can educate ourselves, talk to our friends both white and of color, support minority owned business, write letters to our journals, address policing in our communities, find out the policies of our business leaders, create cultural exchange and educational events …
It was a Black Capitol police officer who risked his life attracting mob participants away from congressional representatives, allowing them to escape to safety by just moments.
Let’s show this kind of courage and love to our brothers and sisters of color.
Danae Anderson lives in Truckee.
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