One Year Since Jan. 6: Storming the US Capitol is not patriotism

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Photo Courtesy of Blink O’Fanaye

Trump supporters stand outside the US Capitol in an act of defiance over the 2020 election results. As a result of Trump’s extremist opinions, so much of his base have been entirely radicalized. Conspiracy theories and QAnon became a large source of information for many.

“We took them by surprise and this year they rigged an election. They rigged it like they’ve never rigged an election before.” These were the words of former president Donald J. Trump on the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021. As he stood in-front of a large crowd of his supporters, people at-home watched as someone who was elected to represent and listen to the interests of all Americans, stated that the 80 million votes President Joe Biden received were illegitimate.

On that day, I was sitting at home watching NBC in anticipation as I, like so many others, couldn’t understand where this was going. Then the marching began. Swarms of people, decked out in red Trump merch, holding American flags began walking to the Capitol. Some held guns in their hands, others proudly displayed the flag of the confederacy, a symbol of unequivocal hate. I couldn’t help but get emotional as the National Mall, a symbol of US democracy, was being overrun by bigots.

Smashing windows, beating and killing capitol police, threatening lawmakers. The unthinkable was happening before our eyes and nobody was stopping it with the exception of the brave capitol police. The racism of our country had never been more on display.

Now, as I reflect one year later, I can’t help but get upset over how Trump supporters have responded to that day.

Jacob Chansley, or the ‘QAnon Shaman’, best known for his Viking helmet and face paint on the day of the insurrection, was sentenced to a mere 41 months in jail just two months ago for obstructing a public proceeding. Furthermore, Chansley has become positively famous among Trump supporters from the media coverage that he received.

As a sizable number of the individuals who stormed the Capitol were veterans, many conservatives have taken an event that could’ve resulted in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands of people, and used such destruction to emphasize how brave US veterans are. Extremist militias such as the ‘Oath Keepers’ have done a lot of damage by profiting off of the political polarization in our country. They recruited otherwise innocent men and women who had served in the military to commit violence on that day.

Right-leaning media outlets have consistently implied that these radicalized actions were justified and that this was simply an act of patriotism. But what so many still fail to acknowledge is how significantly Jan. 6 encapsulates the systemic racism of our country. How is it that 26-year-old Marvin D. Scott can be killed in broad daylight for a misdemeanor marijuana charge, while a white man like Chansley can walk free after less than two years in prison for inciting violence at the most significant US landmark in history?

The normalizing of this radicalization has to stop. Storming the US Capitol, displaying confederate flags and abusing law enforcement is unacceptable. While the FBI is taking action now and running a comprehensive investigation into what happened one year ago today, we as citizens, need to condemn this extremist behavior. President Joe Biden won the 2020 election fairly, largely through secure mail-in votes as a result of the pandemic. We are living in a democracy: no founding father or constitutional amendment ever said that attempting to execute a military coup was a viable way to demonstrate ‘patriotism.’

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