Congress Just Realized They Were Dealing With Actual People
Let me start off by saying the obvious. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the “Proud Boys” organization. As a relatively young, relatively poor, “educated”, and unequivocally black person, not even the smallest bone in my body supports that group, their actions, and certainly not soon to be (we hope) former President Trump.
But when a friend told me that Proud Boys had stormed the Capitol Building, forcing members of congress to be evacuated or shelter in place…I smiled.
Not because I wish violence on anyone, not even the most conservative, racist, money-grubbing congresspeople. I smiled because as Malcolm X famously once said, the chickens came home to roost. And back in 1963, Brother Malcolm was addressing a climate of hate that was oppressing the country in a manner that we should all be able to recognize today.
During this past year, as the United States has careened from disaster to disaster, I was repeatedly struck by how dispassionately our supposed representatives in congress have discussed and debated the fates of millions of Americans.
Whether it be common-sense public health closures of schools and businesses,, Covid-19 relief checks, or vaccination roll-outs, I’ve watched with horror and disgust as politicians have made cynical decisions with no concern or care for their constituents.
Through it all Trump has weaponized the anger of millions of Americans into a short-sighted and single-minded ploy to retain his seat in the White House. No matter how radical or nonsensical his claims have been, elected members of the Republican Party have had his back with unwavering support.
Only after losing the election have we seen a few Republicans call for restraint and a “more civil discourse”. But in general, most Republicans, and Democrats for that matter, have been content to let Trump and his sycophants spew whatever filth to rile up and motivate his most ardent supporters.
And still, Republican leaders, with Senators Hawley and Cruz at the forefront, have promised to follow their dear leader anywhere — even into the abyss — by contesting the decisive victory of President-elect Biden. This is a gambit with no chance of success but an opening move to win over Trump and his base to their own future presidential campaigns.
To Senator Ted Cruz, I must say, Trump does not like you. If you couldn’t tell that when Trump accused your father of assassinating JFK or when he called your wife ugly, then you will find out the moment you defy his notoriously fickle will.
As for Senator Hawley, who falsely claimed to have been terrorized by Antifa terrorists earlier this week, Antifa didn’t just come to your job and try to kill you.
Did they think this was a game? Do they see governing as moves on a chessboard? Move this bill here, this vote there, $600 check, Checkmate! It was easy to be dispassionate when the dying, starving, and rioting were happening elsewhere.
Finally, Congress received an up-close and personal reminder that these human emotions animate the body politic, and people are not just percentage points on a poll that can be easily maneuvered or mollified. What happens when you keep selling millions of people a bill of goods? Well, chickens always come home to roost.
So even though ideologically I have nothing in common with the pro-Trump rioters that stormed the Capitol, I am pleased that they brought their “concerns” to the right place. And of course, thoughts and prayers for all members of congress and staffers affected emotionally by today’s events.