The Capitol Rioters Must Face Consequences

No one in the United States has been treated with more undeserved grace and reverence in the past four years than Donald Trump’s supporter. Their anger is always justified, their failure is not that of another, and their responsibility for their own actions is absent.

As horrific as the crimes and atrocities may be, the rest of us are guilty of not offering them enough empathy and compassion. And even when celebrating their conspiratorial paranoia and racial fascism, they have been pampered by tales depicting them as good, hardworking patriots of the salt of the earth.

But patriotism, to change the phrase, is the first refuge for white supremacist terrorists. And the portrayal of Trump supporters as a monolith of uneducated small-town rubles who, as the saying goes, has been tricked into “voting against their interests” is a classicist projection of those who imagine that racism only affects poor whites. We knew even before the 2016 presidential election that the median household income for Trump supporters surpassed that of the average American home. It should come as no surprise that in addition to expected participants such as the Proud Boys, Neo-Confederates, and militiamen, white-collar workers and government-sponsored gamers also took part in the Capitol uprising. Lawyers, a jet-setting real estate agent, tech CEO, and at least six Republican lawmakers identified in the days following the uprising besieged the Capitol alongside active military and veterans, as well as off-duty cops and firefighters, many of whom reportedly have their badges and ID cards flashed as they participated in the coup attempt.

These were very fine, almost exclusively white people who took over the Capitol on behalf of the President. The looting crowds were not all factory workers in small towns plagued by economic fears. The riot attracted people who could afford to fly to DC from their hometowns for the weekend. Once there, they participated in a few non-police hours of domestic terror and rioting before returning to their nearby hotels.

This violent manifestation of white backlash has threatened to consume the rest of us for years. The rioters’ actions contradicted the rhetoric of law and order propagated by Trump supporters throughout his tenure. Although they say “Blue Lives Matter!” When faced with the death of the blacks, they viciously attacked the Capitol Police and killed an officer. Despite denigrating black athletes for protesting systemic racism during the anthem, they entered the Capitol with Trump banners and the telltale Confederate flag. They have claimed that anti-racist protesters and “radical left” vilified this country but literally polluted the Capitol by smearing excrement in its sacred halls. They say they are defending democracy, but they are trying to overthrow an election in which black voters played a crucial role.

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