Editorial: Insurrection at the Capitol


Maura Mulholland, Managing Editor

*The views and opinions expressed in the following piece are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Nest or Albany High School.*

On Wednesday, January 6th, during the ratification of the electoral vote, thousands of insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol building in an attempt to change the results of the 2020 Presidential election, which unseats sitting President Donald Trump. The riot was incited by comments President Trump made at earlier rallies, and had been planned for months. The violence and timing of the attempted overthrow are extremely worrying and beg the question: how will America recover from Trump’s presidency?

The results of the attempted coup d’état will indubitably shape the beginning of incoming President Joe Biden’s term. The blatant disrespect of such a revered building by the pro-Trump rioters makes it clear that their “patriotic” loyalties lie not with the United States, but in the cult of personality their leader has created. The lines between this phenomenon and early twentieth-century fascism are easily drawn.

When viewing pictures from the chaos of the day, some memorable individuals stand out, most of whom have been identified. The man who broke into House Speaker Pelosi’s office and committed the federal crime of stealing her mail was a man from Arkansas who had previously been interviewed at his local “Stop the Steal” election in November. The man who wore a horned, fur hat and crudely imitated shamanic garb who led the charge to the Senate dais was a failed actor from Arizona who was active in right-wing extremist circles on the website QAnon.

The people behind this protest were not affluent or extremely well-versed in politics. They were rural citizens who have been indoctrinated into a life of hatred by conservative propaganda aimed to ensnare them. This does not excuse their actions but it does explain them. The irony of their continuous protests against progressive action is that progressive legislation would benefit them the most based on their economic standing.

Another distinctive mark of this demonstration was the lack of police action. Many officers were photographed taking selfies with looters and the Capitol guards opened the gates to the plunderers. This is a sharp contrast to the June 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, when peaceful protestors were tear-gassed, shot at with rubber bullets, and assaulted by police. The reason the Capitol looters were not treated the same way is because they were primarily white, unlike the peaceful activists in June who were primarily people of color.

The hate and anger behind this demonstration were clearly defined and proved fatal to some, yet the President still refused to call in the National Guard to disperse the protesters, who had breached and swarmed the Capitol. In the end, it was Vice President Pence who had to call in armed reinforcements to clear the Capitol. Many are calling for a second impeachment or an invocation of the twenty-fifth amendment to prevent President Trump from abusing his power once and for all. Trump has repeatedly proved himself to be a public menace and in his current position, he has caused nothing but chaos and disorder. It is time for this mad tirade to end.