Yesterday, a white supremacist mob stormed the Capitol Building of the United States. A female veteran was killed. Bomb techs had to defuse pipe bombs. I’m surprised by none of this. I saw it coming (as did many) and honestly thought it would be worse. That’s not to downplay the seriousness of what has happened or what it means about the fate of the collapsing American empire. It is an attempt to push back against the appalled, tearful pearl clutching that’s been on display. What happened in America’s capital yesterday was not only foreseeable, it was predicted loudly. People shouted themselves hoarse trying to warn of the threat, and they were derided as hysterical, alarmist Chicken Littles.
American Exceptionalism has plucked the eyes out of the heads of people whose duty it is to understand how and why these events unfold. American legacy media doesn’t lack the vocabulary to discuss these matters. They lack the perspective to apply them to the situation inside their own country. Racist extremists storming the capital at the behest of the recently defeated president in an attempt to keep him in power isn’t the action of anarchists but of fascists. That distinction and the media’s choice of the “anarchist” language matter a great deal. Even with the horror of right-wing extremism playing out live as the heart of American governments (federal and state) were violated, the media found a way to blame a bogeyman from the left.
The truth isn’t being told, because it hurts too much. Even so, the truth is finding a way to tell itself. The police allowed treason and sedition to make their way into the nation’s capitol and sully its chambers. The Black Lives Matter protests of last summer are close enough in memory that we all know any American police force could have put down that insurrection easily. Instead, they allowed traitors safe passage and served as escorts, just as the insurrectionists knew they would. This is something the ignored Cassandras also tried to warn of: the complicity of American law enforcement in white supremacist violence. It’s one of the reasons the word “fascism” is being dodged so determinedly. To call what is happening by its name is to admit the brownshirts and gestapo are already in place. It is to admit America isn’t what its myths represent. It is to have to answer truthfully the question of why the olive branch of “healing” being offered to violent white supremacists isn’t extended to Black Americans pleading for their lives.
The bumbling, the buffoonery, the ridiculousness of the insurrectionists mirrors that of their Dear Leader: Donald Trump. Their gaucheness and stupidity made them easy to shrug off until now for many people. In fact, I predict they will continue to be treated as little more than bungling mischief-makers by pundits whose jobs it is to know better. The insurrectionists didn’t manage to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election. Even so, seeing this coup attempt as a failure misreads the situation. The siege was a successful reassertion of the power of whiteness in America, and those images were broadcast all over the world. It is a massive propaganda boost and will be a boon to American fascist recruitment. White grievance prevailed in the United States yesterday. It was coddled and excused, just like it always is. The political machinery in Washington is already churning the gears to try to return things to normal. Normal was already a nightmare for many. What unfolded yesterday is a sign that the nightmare will worsen, because the warnings of the threat of rampaging, aggrieved whiteness will continue to go unheeded. Trumpists aren’t going anywhere, and the permissiveness and lack of consequences they met yesterday will further embolden them and cause them to escalate their violence.