Would It Have Surprised You to Know Someone Who Stormed the Capitol?
For The Washington Post, I wrote who participated in the attack on the Capitol which, as we’re learning, defies the collective stereotypes that exist for radicalized militants and/or Trump-loving dingdongs.
The shocking effect of knowing more about the rioters is plainly seeing just how mainstream political violence and extremism has become in America. The Capitol attack didn’t just include those fringe, brainwashed, economic anxiety-havers we’ve always hearing about, but also seemingly average folks with seemingly good and centered lives— teachers, civil servants, members of law enforcement and the military, and more. From the piece:
What’s more terrifying than a carbon-copy rioting mass? A group of furious insurrectionists with no totalizing banner. Their tactics and agendas, like their demographics, were far-ranging and diverse. Some members of the mob who arrived in Washington came armed with guns and homemade napalm, while others tracked excrement down the hallways of the Capitol and parkoured off the Senate balcony.
Some pilfered stationery and took mementos, while at least one accused looter may have wanted to sell House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s laptop to Russian agents. Perhaps the only upside to the disorder within the ranks is that a far more devastating outcome was avoided, according to several accounts, by a matter of seconds and feet.
This isn’t good news for us. As we try to understand the depth of the problem, a reality we hate is hitting: This extremism isn’t something that’s magically going to go away just because the Oval Office is in different hands.
Check out the whole thing here if you’d like.
Related reading: Over at Vox, Luke Winkie interviewed a few people about the experience of seeing images of people they know appear in the mob. While at The Atlantic, the annoyingly great Adam Serwer gave a rundown of the “respectable” folks who’ve fomented political violence in America throughout history.
Okay, now I’ve thoroughly bummed you out, here’s something better. Everyone is rightly flipping out about the performance of 22-year-old poet Amanda Gorman at the Inauguration yesterday. (Here’s yesterday’s poem “The Hill We Climb.”)
BUT, amid all the ornery Bernie memes yesterday, there was also a heartwarming variation on the How it started/How it’s going meme, which debuted after Gorman’s performance. I truly love this:
I’m starting to feel a lot better already. I hope you are too.
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