Windows smashed. Rioters carrying Confederate flags. Guns drawn. Shots fired. One woman dies after being shot. Lawmakers running for their lives. Standoffs.
It all took place in the Capitol Building in Washington seconds after Republican Senator Ted Cruz from Texas stood up to object to certifying President-elect Joe Biden as the winner of the Electoral College.
Crowds of President Donald Trump’s supporters bulldozed their way into one of the most important buildings in America where there were few police officers in place during a contentious Senate hearing.
While President Trump continues to draw heavy criticism and outrage after he urged supporters to march on the Capitol to protest the elections, Black leaders and activists are speaking out on social media about a perceived double standard when it comes to enforcing law and order, and the lack of punishment of white activists.
As seen in numerous images of Wednesday’s stunning seizure of the Capitol Building by Trump supporters, there were far fewer police and law enforcement officials in place than have been activated during many Black Lives Matter protests.
And after all of the destruction, violence and gunfire, and attacks on lawmakers, by Trump supporters, few arrests were made.
President Trump and other officials simply told the protesters to go home, without facing any discipline for their actions.
The incident that played out on national television highlights the perks and unchecked behavior of a white privileged class that has festered under President Trump.
The behavior exhibited by Trump’s “Make America Great Again” followers, had they represented the Black Lives Matter movement or other human or civil rights entities, would have seen far more law enforcement agencies in place, ready to subdue protesters, and legal action taken against them.
In June, 2020 during the protests following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, there were more national guardsmen (350) patrolling Chicago’s downtown area than were ordered to Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
There was more security patrolling the Lincoln Memorial during a Black Lives Matter protest last year than patrolled the protest by Trump’s supporters on Wednesday.
Several Trump supporters threw chemicals on police to chase them away. Two rioters were seen chasing a Capitol security officer up the stairs after they barreled into the building.
The Trump supporters trotted through the esteemed Statuary Hall with few wearing masks, and with no one being arrested for trespassing in a building that has been closed to the public during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hundreds sat on bleachers erected for Biden’s upcoming presidential inauguration and some erected large Trump flags on nearby balconies to reinforce false beliefs that Trump will be in office for another four years. One person sat in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s seat.
A woman was shot in the neck later that night.
On top of this, the Trump protesters went home, feeling empowered and invincible with their day of unbridled defiance and white supremacy allowed to run unchecked and unpunished.
Trump, who refused to denounce white supremacy in a debate last year, failed to do so again in his weak, one-minute speech where he falsely claimed once more that he won the reelection by a landslide.
Had this been a Black Lives Matter protest, many would be in handcuffs and not allowed to go home.
To viewers, it was a surreal scene that seemed like a coup attempt in a Third World country. But to Blacks and minorities, it was a familiar scene that has happened many times before at Black churches and in Black neighborhoods, where clashes between Trump’s MAGA supporters played out in 2020.
It took a shameful display of vandalism at the Capitol Building to wake many up to the realities of white supremacy when this has been going on for years before it escalated under Trumps’ ‘Make America Great Again’ campaign.
In a live interview with ABC News, Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass from California, who was in the Capitol building during the incident said, “I don’t even understand why the public is on the steps of the Capitol where they are never allowed. This is just shocking.”
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee from Texas, in another ABC interview, called the protesters “rioters,” a label that is immediately given to Black Lives Matter and other activists.
“We believe in democracy, we believe people have the right to have a different opinion. But this was not a difference of opinion. This was a call to action as called by the sitting president of the United States.
“Individuals thought they were coming to defend the president. They’re no longer protesters and we welcome protests. That is what we do in this country and we will stand for them and their right to express their First Amendment needs anytime.”