By Rachel St Louis || Contributing Writer
As it stands, January 6th could be marked as the day our democracy was threatened.
I think about the scenes we all have witnessed on our screens of domestic terrorists storming the Capitol building, motivated by the sentiments of their president and ‘Savior’ Donald Trump.
Despite the threat of a global pandemic, one would normally witness hundreds of tourists, members of Congress, and staffers walking through the National Statuary Hall, but instead, we saw hundreds of terrorists forcibly enter, waving the Confederate flag proudly.
I, like the rest of Black America, was watching and wondering how these terrorists could have entered the Capitol building with such ease. As a Black woman and former intern on the Hill, I cannot continue writing without first recognizing the immense privilege of the terrorists. If we think about today’s events in comparison to the protests regarding the wave of police brutality over the summer, what is glaringly apparent is the pervasive tolerance of hate and White supremacy. If the terrorists were Black, do you think they would have been able to enter the Capitol, let alone leave with their lives intact?
In 1787, the same year our college was founded, Benjamin Franklin stated, “It’s only a republic if we keep it.” Our country is in chaos. We have found ourselves on the verge of a Constitutional crisis. If anything, the insurrection is a daunting sign that the country has lost an essence which it once stood behind. The American flag quite literally fell, and it was replaced with a flag that endorses hate and White supremacy. The flag represents the values of our country and promotes the freedoms and liberties that allow all Americans to freely express, speak, and gather together. Today’s actions, however, were unlawful and indefensible and violated our core values.
The Capitol is more than just a building. The Capitol—just like the Supreme Court and the White House—are democratic institutions that should be respected, and any invasion of them must be viewed as a direct threat to our democracy. Trump and the terrorists should be charged with sedition and assume accountability for the carnage and death that occurred today
The office of the President of the United States is the highest position in our democracy. It is a shame that the proceedings of the U.S government.—normally considered the world’s model of democracy—have been dismantled with the onset of this election. As President of the Eurasia Group Ian Bremmer recently said, as a country that promotes democracy around the world, we may have “exported so much that we forgot to keep some for ourselves.”
The unjust events of the past four years—let alone the actions taken today—have made many Americans like myself question how we can ever rid ourselves of the Icarus and the principles he ushered in with his presidency. As I see it, January 6th will be remembered in history as a day our democracy has been harshly threatened.
Senior Rachel St Louis is a contributing writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.