Just as Champions of the UnCommon Good use words of love, peace, and righteous paths to justice to inspire the dreams of a nation towards positive progress. Some embody the opposite. The UnCommon Bad uses speech that incites and ignites hatred, violence, they use nefarious actions to accomplish their own goals in their perverse pilgrimage to power so potent it can poison a population.
is conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch. This is exactly what happened on Capitol Hill on January 6th, 2021, where there were speeches and acts of support towards inciting an insurrection
is violent uprising against an authority or government. All of us watched in horror on Wednesday as a mob of Trump Supporters swelled and penetrated a building we know to be the Heart of our country.
Chris Hayes: “It is entirely possible that there were people in that crowd, looking to apprehend, possibly harm, and possibly murder the leaders of the political class that the President, and people like Mo Brooks, and even to a certain extent Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, have told them have betrayed them.” Aired on 1/8/2021.
There were a lot of emotions that have been extremely difficult to process, as every new video appears, as every clever meme tries to numb my pain by processing it in humor, yet I keep getting brought back into dark moments of Deja Vu.
I am a survivor of sexual assault, I live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I have learned how to manage my symptoms and utilize them to help others. But sometimes, there are moments you have no way of predicting, that will come to pass and they will trigger what’s called a flashback.
I was surprised, upset, and frozen in panic. The television was flashing images of destruction, invasion, and defilement. The audible sounds from streaming phones posted to social media told me a story of assault, and that was hard to watch.
In the past, these were feelings I would prefer to keep tidy–hidden away in shame– in the back of a dusty closet, that fades into a long-forgotten box never to be opened again. I’m usually not one to speak of my anger and frustrations to people. Finding the right words to share this experience with everyone was difficult, but I wanted to reflect on my perspective, I want to share in those experiences, and what we are feeling, together.
During and after this assault on our Democracy, I felt bitter and angry. There was a group of people who were a majority of white men and women dressed in Trump apparel, faces painted, and bright red baseball caps that read, ‘Trump: Make America Great Again.’ Confederate flags were flown as there was a casual cigarette break occurring in the hall, kind of like the cigarette break took during my assault. A man kicked his feet up where they didn’t belong, as my abuser did, they took pieces of history more valuable than any money, they took trophies and selfies, and they took pride in their theft. It was all just, too much. The fear I felt was too familiar of a feeling and I was too overwhelmed with residual trauma memories colliding with this new trauma about white men trying to use fear to force someone to submit.
Vice News: “President Trump gave a speech to his supporters on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021. We have edited the audio of that speech and synced it with images of the events that directly followed it. The audio of President Trump includes misinformation about the results of the 2020 presidential election. It is presented here to illustrate how his words helped incite the violence that ensued.”
The first thing I did was take a shower, I needed to feel clean when suddenly I felt so dirty. As I let the scalding hot water attempt to wash away the feeling of filth that no amount of showering has ever been able to wash away, I started to reflect and analyze.
What did all of this mean? Why did this happen? When did we get to this point? Who is responsible? Where did we go wrong?
I spent a long time thinking about these questions in the heat and steam of my shower, the symbolism of the culmination of events was not lost on me, even though this emotional fog was blurring with the initial outrage and shock of the current landscape.
January 6th was a day intended for each member of the House and Senate to confirm the Electoral College votes, of which then, the Vice President tallies the votes to confirm the next elected President of the United States, in an official setting. It’s a time for representatives to make objections, they are then given an allotted time, no more than two hours, for space to voice concerns and dissent, even though the outcome will not change unless there is a majority vote of support, which there wasn’t.
This was an appropriate event to embody what the people who incited violence last Wednesday violated. It’s a place where elected and appointed officials debate to find solutions for the issues that the American people face . . . peacefully.
I dream of the day when I can visit the Capitol Building, to stand in awe of the history that took place, to walk the same path as Suffragettes, Civil Rights Activists, Senators, and People of Congress, Judges, Americans of every faith, of every color, of any gender from rural and urban areas, hailing from farmsteads and big cities. The very fabric of our democracy takes place in the Capitol Building.
When I walk that very path, it will now be tainted by the thoughts of a very dark day in the United States. The day when a swarm of MAGA believers assaulted a house of the people with the intent to overthrow the government in a violent uprising-an Insurrection. It will now cling to the walls with the echoes of the voices of those who demand justice and honoring civic duty, and that is a travesty.
President Trump and his supporters spread propaganda and disinformation, using his position to further his agenda. He took a chisel to our constitution and he’s been attempting to chip away at it in the form of sedition, convincing the American people that we didn’t have a free and fair election; when there is no evidence of such a claim. At his speech given on January 6th, just hours before the riot penetrated the Capitol Building, he shouted to the crowd, “We need to get rid of the weaker party. Get them out, it’s time for strength. This election was stolen from the country.” Going on to incite violence, “We fight, we fight like hell. If you don’t fight like hell, we won’t have a country anymore.”
Even as he requested his supporters to retreat in response to the outcry and outrage of the people, his words stung and shook me. I wasn’t the only one who was shaken though, social media was aflame with viral videos of the event, including graphic videos of murder and death. Here are the words of a President that only has days left of a terrible term:
“I know your pain, I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt.
“It’s a very tough period of time. There’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened where they could take it away from all of us — from me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil.
“I know how you feel, but go home, and go home in peace.”
One of my reflections that seemed to mirror my peers’ observations was watching this unfold in real-time, there was a shocking difference in the defense and treatment of people peacefully protesting with Black Lives Matter at the Capitol Building, versus the predominantly white Trump Supporters violently trying to overthrow the government just a few days ago.
In the above statement, Trump speaks of peace, law, and order, as he cajoles his supporters with affirmations of love, to what I liken a cult leader would say to their followers. We know he has a hard time condemning white supremacists, preferring to give them orders when given the opportunity in the past, he said, “Stand back and stand by.”
When faced with the moral boundaries Trump crosses, I feel constantly exhausted, and the consequences, while not surprising, are mayhem and destruction. It insulted me at the lengths he would go to achieve victory, attempting to procure a means to an end through collusion and corruption.
As the end of Trump’s presidency is itching closer and that tantalizing number of days grows small, the assault on Capitol Hill gave us a clear picture of how fragile democracy can be when we do not perform our civic duty to pay attention and address issues, together. It shows us what happens when our elected officials are not held accountable to the position of power in which we the people place them in.
To be sure, on January 20th, 2021, we will welcome a new President to the ranks of the United States leadership roster, Joseph Biden. For that sureness, I have been able to find the peace I need to process by remembering the other aspects of January 5th & 6th for what it should have been, a dream fulfilled and a movement sweeping the nation over with joy. After the tireless efforts of people who dreamed of change, progress, and equality. We will not only welcome a new President and our first Madame Vice-President of Color, but we will also welcome new and old faces into the House and the Senate, with a new Majority Leader. None of these victories would be possible if it weren’t for the history being made by the BIPOC communities that have worked to-no-end to save our democracy.
When Raphael Warnock was announced as the victor for Georgia’s Senate seat in the run-off elections that everyone had their eyes on, because it would decide the majority for the Senate. History was made and it gave me the slice of solace I would need to use to find light in the sea of negative emotions I had been feeling.
I couldn’t help but hear the words of a powerful speech given by another man who was from Georgia. A man who honored peace, love, nonviolence, and equality. A man who fought for the rights of Black and Brown people across the country and their right to vote and live free of fear and oppression: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King had a way of speaking that inspired folks to do more for their communities, to work hard in the service of others, and managed to give generations then, now, and to come the power to find reflection in self and society, to always continue to dream for progress and fight for justice. Although many dreams were not met in the crude behavior at the Capitol building, others were met within those days that should take our center stage in moving forward and begin to heal after living through the nightmare we call, “The Trump Administration.”
As a Survivor, I have found that when I took away the power that was given to my abuser, they no longer have the power to abuse me. When I choose creation over destruction, they lose their power. When I choose love instead of hate, they lose their power. When they push aggression and I pull from compassion, they lose their power. Knowing these things gives me strength and I hope it will help others find strength as well.
There is a culmination of extreme emotions coming from opposite sides of the spectrum. With that in mind, I want to leave everyone with a few words from Martin Luther King Jr that inspired me to find that light in the darkness that has been the past couple of days, and honestly, years.
“I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our Northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
So even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day down in Alabama with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, one day right down in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.”
Try as they may, there were dreams made that day, and we will not be deterred by temper tantrums and fear but fueled by our demand for a free and fair country for all of its people.
Chelsea Anderson is the Communications & Digital Strategist for Progress North