Like every American with a soul, I am still aghast, agog, and absolutely gutted about the violent attacks on the U.S. Capitol. Watching the chaotic assault unfold—in Wednesday’s coverage and in videos that have since been released—hurts me in ways that I’ve only felt when bad things happen to members of my own family. I’ve been screaming at my television. Involuntarily shaking my head at nothing and everything. Taking deep breaths and forgetting to exhale.
My mind is not racing; it’s in a freefall, with no destination or finish line. I’m grieving and seething and feeling whatever emotion is the multiplication of sad and angry, which I’ve felt to some extent since Tuesday November 8th, 2016. Because many of us feared this was coming.
I’ve never been a doomsday worrywart pessimist, but this felt inevitable. An insurrection, urged by the most disgraceful president to ever occupy the White House. Led by ridiculous goons who weaponize their own insecurity, romanticize the use of force, and smile for the camera. A violent mob descending upon D.C., taking our country’s morals with them. Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker dancing down the stairs, only the “stairs” are the hallowed halls of Congress.
The more coverage I read and hear, the more obvious it becomes: This was a deliberate act of sedition. An insurrection. Homegrown terrorism. An attempted coup at the Capitol, to corner Members of Congress and the Vice President, to subvert the lawful and irrefutable election results in which Donald Trump lost.
Some of the attack was coordinated and planned by military or law enforcement personnel, but some of it was just braindead QAnon lunatics doing what they do best: being mindless followers of the worst ideas, actions, and leaders.
For those of you who were personally offended when Hillary Clinton offered her take, these people are the aforementioned “deplorables.” Can she come out of the doghouse now?
They don’t believe in democracy or justice or equal treatment under the law. Despite their brandishing of the flag and painting themselves in red, white, and blue, they don’t share American values or ideals. They don’t believe in finding middle ground, compromise, or the democratic process upon which this country was founded. Upon which it rests delicately. They enjoy and glorify violence. They are bigots, racists, white supremacists—a pile of shit by any other name would smell as fetid.
They are small-time villains, remarkable only in their stupidity. Selfish brats who believe their personal disappointment is cause to overthrow the government. Textbook losers.
By comparison, do you know what I did after Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election in 2016? When she won the popular vote but not the electoral vote, which awarded the presidency to someone I believed was utterly unfit for office?
I invited 30 people to my teeny tiny living room for Democracy Brunches, in which we planned and plotted ways to make positive change in our own community.
We were mad as hell, and what did we do about it? We donated hundreds of dollars each month to organizations in D.C. that supported causes we knew would be under attack—health clinics that cater to the LGBTQ+ community, and reproductive rights organizations, and legal defense funds for immigrants. We made sandwiches and donated them to a local food bank.
Like real Americans, we protested lawfully, without ever once breaking, vandalizing, or hurting anything or anyone.
In 2020, we wrote letters to unlikely but registered voters in swing states, urging them to vote—without even telling them to vote for our candidates. Then, we phonebanked for our candidates. We got called “morons” by strangers who disagree with us, which was kind of funny and exhilarating because the First Amendment allows it and nobody got hurt.
We did acts of service. These deadbeat losers attempted a coup. You tell me which is more righteous and American.
As a liberal, I’m not going to tell you how to be a Republican, what to believe, or how to develop a policy agenda. If our problems were that quaint, they could be solved by elections and in the chambers of Congress and state houses. But I implore you: Get your fucking house in order.
If you share the same policy agenda or party affiliation as these deplorables, you have a responsibility to your nation, to your neighbors, to your fellow Americans. You cannot sit back, eyes closed and holding on for dear life, as this faction of miscreants hijacks democracy. Get off the train, or throw them off.
Take responsibility for what comes next. Disavow their actions, their methods, and Donald Trump, who provoked this crisis. Organize. Do us an act of service. Help us scrub out this stain.
In America, democracy is the only means to any political end, or it is the end to any political ends and the beginning of something much worse. Your country needs you.