The hypocrisy of the attack on the U.S. Capitol

Lila Jane Chesser and Rebecca Green

Growing up in DC, we know first hand that it is unacceptable to display any sort of shenanigans at all near federal buildings. As little kids we were screamed at for simply running or yelling near the Capitol. So it’s hard for us to believe that the Capitol Police Force did so little to try and stop rioters as they stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021. In some news reports, the Capitol Police claimed to be outnumbered, but they definitely had the weapons to at least try to prevent rioters from entering the Capitol. Their lack of effort suggests that they didn’t believe that a mob of armed white people were a threat to the Capitol. 

The original goal of this rally was to gather around the Capitol and protest because protesters believed lies fabricated by President Trump that the 2020 presidential election had been “rigged.” However, this quickly escalated after President Trump encouraged this protest on Twitter. Also, we understand that Trump had two opportunities to stop these riots. But instead he vetoed Muriel Bowser’s request for the National Guard and then posted a brief 30 second video. Most of the video praised the rioters, rather than try to stop them. He concluded the video by saying “We love you, you’re very special. … I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.” We all know that the rioters weren’t going to go home after that sentiment. All of these inconsistencies are the epitome of white privilege. 

We find many Trump supporters to be hypocritical. Many of them have been preaching “back the blue,” a slogan offering their support to our corrupt police system as a response to the Black Lives Matter movement. But on January 6, these same people fought against the police. In addition, many Trump supporters found it totally justified that Black Lives Matter supporters got shot with rubber bullets for peacefully protesting, but then complained about the police simply macing them for violently storming the Capitol.

As of January 19, the Chicago Tribune reported that over 125 people have been arrested and 5 died. But the FBI are identifying and arresting more rioters everyday because of all the pictures and videos that the rioters posted on social media. Compared to the Black Lives Matter marches that happened just a few months ago, it seems like law enforcement barely made an effort to stop Save America rioters –– over 14,000 Black Lives Matter protesters were arrested and over 19 deaths were recorded. In addition, President Trump described Black Lives Matter rioters as thugs, but told the Save America rioters that their rioting was justified because the election was “rigged.” Also, since this was an attack on the Capitol, many compared this event to other attacks on government buildings and dubbed these rioters as terrorists, but President Trump did not. Why? Was it because these rioters were majority white? 

It’s well known that, like us, students at Wilson are partial to political and social justice issues in our country and care about the well-being of all members in our communities. When this attack on the Capitol happened in our own backyard, many students at Wilson were (rightfully) scared and appalled. We’ve spoken out about it on social media. 

While our country is currently so divided politically it is important to remember that our ultimate goal is to do what’s best for our country. Right now we all need to come together on both social media and in real life to try and heal our country. It’s important for young people like us to educate ourselves and form opinions on these kinds of charged political events because we are the future of our democracy. As Wilson students it is important to continue to raise awareness of the unfairness in our world and take action to make it a better place.