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Thoughts on Capitol Hill

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Protesters gather on the second day of pro-Trump events fueled by President Donald Trump's continued baseless claims of election fraud in an effort to overturn the results before Congress finalizes them in a joint session of the 117th Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

By Sean Chase

The events of Wednesday, Jan. 6, must not be forgotten by us, the citizens, because we were given a glimpse of what can happen when misinformation is weaponized and spread frivolously. 

As the walls of the United States Capitol building were breached, I couldn’t help but think about my time in the U.S. Army. When you enlist in the military, you make a promise to protect the Constitution of the United States against enemies, foreign and domestic. Many of the people scaling the ornate walls of the capitol were veterans, proclaiming they were acting on this oath to ensure the future of our country.

That oath, however, has been misconstrued and is used as an excuse to justify outrageous plots against government officials. In October, a plan involving veterans was discovered that targeted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. This was a disgrace to the uniform in my eyes. It is normal to disagree with someone’s political views and change your vote in the next election. It is, however, criminally insane to begin preparations to take someone from their family because you disagree with how they perform the responsibilities of their job. Since it was traced back to militia groups, I believed only a small segment of America would act this irrationally.

After hearing reports of pipe bombs found outside of the Capitol building, it became apparent I was wrong. I turned on the TV to see for myself what was happening, as thousands of people were swarming the outside of the building, beginning to enter the main hall, with some people even climbing onto scaffolding designed to clean the building. I was appalled to see the American flag being carried side by side with flags that represent white supremacist groups. All the while, these people proclaimed they care about the future of our country.

How can you care about America as a whole, if you also support groups that believe certain Americans aren’t as important as others?

While this was stuck in my mind, I found myself questioning what would be the reaction if this protest was in support of any of the African Americans who lost their lives at the hands of law enforcement officers. The reaction would have been swift and violent, resulting in massive amounts of arrests, if not a worse outcome, as was demonstrated in Minneapolis, Minnesota following the death of George Floyd. Protests there resulted in some 14,000 arrests across the country, and the largest deployment of American forces not destined for a war zone.

Now there is a public outcry, because a white woman, trespassing on government property, was killed by a bullet fired from a police officer’s service weapon. However, when Breonna Taylor was killed these same people protected the police, who have yet to receive punishment for their actions. This is one of many cases in America, where the police escaped punishment and were forgotten after the news cycle ran its course. This is especially true when the killings aren’t affecting your community directly.

It is time that we stop focusing all of our attention on things that only directly impact our individual lives. Instead, we need to focus on ensuring that no American has to deal with immense fear when they leave their house that they may never return simply because of the color of their skin.

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