It's time for me to just be myself.
The year 2020, was a hard one for us all. No matter what your station in life, no matter which walk you have taken, the past year I’m sure has been a bad one for you. And if not bad, you’ve probably had your moments. A once in a lifetime pandemic, fights and protest for racial equality, record unemployment rates, social unrest, to name a few. My emotions have been on a roller coaster, that I can’t seem to get off of. Yet, through it all, I have refused to use my favorite medium to express myself, writing, to do just that, express myself.
At first, I attributed it to what was undoubtedly a bout with depression. Before the pandemic, I was on the precipice of depression, the pandemic itself, pushed me right over the edge. I didn’t want to do much. I spent so much of my time soaking up the negative news cycle, scared of an enemy I could not see, caught up in some hysteria induced paranoid stupor, that at times I felt as if I couldn’t breathe. Not to mention my hormones were in overdrive because I was pregnant with my third child. A pregnancy, that if I’m honest, was unwanted and resented. Yet in still, I resisted the relief and escape that writing usually brings me. Afraid that if I were to really express myself, say what I felt, the small online presence (more like minuscule), I had would crumble, or at the very least retaliate against me because of what are my own opinions. The majority of my writing, whilst opinion filled, typically refrains from emitting any political biases, anything with racial overtones, or any ounce of subjectivity. Especially regarding current events. Well, that stops today. Because after the events that took place on January 6, 2021, a day that surely should live in infamy, I cannot in good conscience continue to pretend that I have no opinion whatsoever on what happened. Or what is happening in our country. Especially as an African American woman. I will not, and cannot anymore.
The siege that took place in our nation’s Capitol can only be described as racism. Point, blank, period. Thousands and thousands of insurrectionists descended upon our nations’ capital, with little to no resistance from the Capitol police, breaking windows, looting offices, vandalizing federal property, and inciting terror on those who offered up any resistance. There is no doubt in my mind, that had these individuals primarily been people of color, they would have been shot on sight. Beaten, dragged, tear-gassed, arrested, and made an example of. We would not have been afforded the luxury of live streaming from Congressional offices, posing for pictures on federal grounds, chasing police who were offering a line of defense, and lived to tell the tale. If you don’t believe me? Look no further than just down the road, where this nation’s president decided to get violent with a group of peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters, just so he can hold up a bible and take a stupid picture. There is no other intelligible word to describe this president but stupid.
This hurts so badly. These domestic terrorists (yes, that’s what they are), were given a pass as they smashed windows and doors, paraded around in the Capitol building with the Confederate flag, even posing for a selfie with an officer! Officers were standing calmly, watching as all this occurred. And once the rioting had calmed down, what’s even worse? Minimal arrests were made, and the insurgents were allowed to just go home. THEY JUST WENT HOME. They weren’t “accidentally” shot, they weren’t beaten, they weren’t ostracized, belittled, fined, even issued a damn ticket. Whilst an innocent black man in this country could be shot, or arrested for appearing to be a threat, these openly white supremacists, actually openly threatened our nation’s Capitol and lawmakers, and were allowed to go free. The recent news of arrests of some of the most visible insurgents is the least that can be done. It’s not enough.
This riot was inspired and perpetuated by our president, Donald Trump. He held a rally not too far from the Capitol and instructed these terrorists to go to the Capitol. Yet, he’s still our President. Less than two weeks to go or not, he needs to be prosecuted. The time for presidential protections should be well over, he holds the highest office of our land, but he is still a man. A citizen. Had this insurrection been incited by an average citizen, they would have been arrested as of yesterday. History has shown us that even though he has not done the actual crime, anyone that helped perpetuate, incite, influence, or promote this type of violence will and should be prosecuted: Charles Manson anyone? Why should a sitting president be any different? This president has broken all of the norms and pomp and circumstance that typically come with the office, in fact, he has made it sort of a joke. Why give him any more protections?
America hit rock bottom on January 6, 2021. After last year, I thought we could go no lower, while I am not shocked that we could, I am saddened that we did. This president has always shown us who he is. A melodramatic, maniacal, egotistical, chauvinistic, sadistic, racist, bigot. He has always been himself. He has been telling us for years who he is, going back as far as the Central Park Five, and continuing with the racist insinuations that President Obama was not a citizen. We just chose not to listen. And what saddens me even further that while in 2016 there were enough American’s who just didn’t care, that even after the last four years, there were even more Americans who sided with him in 2020. What does that mean for us after he leaves office? We are one country, but two different Americas. The repercussions of these last four years have just begun.
How do we move on?
First, President Trump, and his entire cabinet, aides, leaders, everyone who aided in or supported this insurrection either by being complicit, silent, or through enabling him, need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. These “protections" that President’s have, need to be abolished. No one should be above the law, period.
The new administration needs to look into the failures in law-enforcement that allowed this to happen. These people were allowed to lay siege to our Capitol, and the response was non-existent and lackluster. WTF. This was not just a spur of the moment decision. There were rumblings and planning for weeks ahead of this day to execute this. Perhaps if they were of a different color they may have been caught sooner?
I’m way too cynical to think that an overhaul of a system that has been prejudicial, and unjust to people of color for decades will be fixed overnight, in a month, a year, or even a decade. Way too cynical, and I won’t put that out there. An overhaul of the judicial, executive, legislative, and law enforcement systems in our country is necessary, however. A lot of the laws, principles, and systems we still go by were executed by a bunch of white men in whigs who rode horses and didn’t have electricity. How can they still stand years later?
I’m also way too cynical to think that we can all sing Kumbaya, hold hands in a circle, and sing all of our troubles and differences away either. So, I can’t say how we can move on as a country. Luckily, I’m not paid or wasn’t elected to try and figure that out. I won’t pretend to know the answer. Because quite frankly, I don’t have faith that it will be done in my lifetime. Until then though, I will keep praying for my family, my children, myself, and our country. An eternal pessimist, I am, but I still hold on to hope that one day, things will change. Until then, I’m going to keep being myself, and bringing the real, the raw, and the ugly that my family and friends get to see.
Thanks for listening.