Insurrection Day

Like most of us, I watched and listened to the assault on the Capitol building with dismay, shock and disbelief. In the hours after, President-Elect Joseph Biden and Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris’ election wins were certified in what should have been a simple ceremony required by our Constitution.

Hours before, Trump held another rally in which he spread lies and riled up his white nationalist base just blocks away from the Capitol building. The actions of the mob of insurrectionists should be no surprise from that point. Trump has been saying this would happen for 5 years if he does not get his way.

Watching the assault unfold and seeing the photos afterwards of terrorists climbing the walls of the Capitol, storming into the building and waving Trump flags, Gadsden Flags and Confederate Flags around in celebration of their attempted coup was appalling.

Seeing the photos of Senator Hawley cheering the terrorists on as he walked into the building earlier should be a stark warning that this attack was supported at all levels of our own government. President Bush was correct when he called this a sign of a banana republic, not a democratic republic.

And in case you thought this was a national issue, in Hartford on the day the CT State Legislature was being sworn in, white nationalists also showed up, waving those same flags and extolling the same lies and hate that come from Trump and his sycophants. There are frequent hate rallies in Southbury and at the Trumbull/Monroe border at Rt 25/111. The events on Jan 6th should not be a surprise. This has been building up since Trump announced his campaign for the presidency.

There are still so many unanswered questions. Why were these terrorists allowed to get that far? During the BLM protests this summer, the military and law enforcement presence was huge. Yesterday, it was minimal. These terrorists were white nationalists. And they were allowed to do what they did. They went home with their spoils. Photos taken in Speaker Pelosi’s office, the Vice-President’s chair in the Senate and throughout the building. And they went home. Not arrested.

Many people are saying that this is not America. This is not who we are. But it is. It is the culmination of years of racist hate that is spewed from the highest offices of our government. It is the result of Jim Crow, the results of generations of hate. Trump is just another symptom of our nation’s cancer.

There are calls to remove Trump immediately. His enablers are only now standing up to his hate and the 25th Amendment would require his Cabinet or Congress to remove him if initiated by the Vice President. That is not going to happen. His enablers are not cowards, but fully aware of who he is and directly benefit from his hate.

What’s next? I don’t know. I do know that we have to stand up to hate when we see it. We have to stand with our neighbors who experience discrimination and hate, call it for what it is and call out those who propagate it. We have to look at our understanding of white privilege and how it influences our perspective and how we interact with others. Removing Trump and his enablers will not eradicate the cancer of hate by itself. That can only be done if we all stand together against the hate. – Eric Paradis, Chair, Newtown DTC