image by Andy Feliciotti showing the Capitol Building in D.C. at night with a yellow tape with the word 'caution' written on it in black lettering on a metal barrier in front of the building
News + Advocacy

Fragile Democracy & The Capitol Riots

The significance of what happened three days ago, the attempted overthrow of the United States government by extremist Trump loyalists, was witnessed by the world in real-time. A violent band of domestic terrorists stormed the Capitol and, seemingly, were allowed to do so without meeting the immediate militarized policing that’s rolled out anytime Indigenous, Black and Brown Americans peacefully protest to protect their lives.


Like all of you, I watched as a gang—organized, violent, and mad they’d lost an election—laid siege to the United States Capitol. They set up gallows. They proudly waved the traitorous flag of the Confederacy through the halls. They desecrated the center of American government. And once authorities finally gained control of the situation, these rioters and gang members were led out of the building not in handcuffs, but free to carry on with their days. | Michelle Obama

The deeply troubling — but not surprising — multi-layered display of Trump fanaticism, White supremacy, conspiracy theories, racial and social disparities and hypocrisy that exists in the United States was encapsulated in that moment. This shameful insurrection left no place for ambiguity: radicalized White people were emboldened by centuries-long systems that underpin their privilege and power and by a president that deliberately fueled uninhibited division, lies, racism and hatred.

Tweet by Frederick Joseph that reads: we were tear gassed, shot with rubber bullets, and murdered for peacefully protesting for Black lives. Trump supporters are literally in the U.S. Capitol attacking police and storming buildings because their candidate lost, yet being treated better. Two Americas.
via Frederick Joseph/Twitter

This coup attempt had one aim: to stop the Electoral College vote count that would declare Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential election and instead install Trump as a would-be king. It didn’t work and the joint session of Congress proceeded after the Capitol Police and National Guard cleared and secured the House Chamber. This attack didn’t happen in a vacuum or come about spontaneously, it was planned for weeks by his supporters who were encouraged to believe that the election results were fraudulent. To maintain this charade, Trump and his GOP allies even went as far as to repeatedly file baseless lawsuits to try and steal the election. Trump didn’t stop repeating false claims that the election was fraudulent even when he was called upon to restore calm to an incredibly volatile and dangerous situation. He told his rioting supporters to be peaceful and to go home but then provided them with a presidential seal of approval that legitimized their actions by saying he loved them, he thinks they’re very special and feels their pain. He figuratively gave them his signature thumbs up.

Trump chose not to swiftly condemn domestic terrorism, which is predictable given his previous sidestepping and unwillingness to unequivocally denounce White supremacist hate groups — they are, after all, one and the same thing. He needed them to try to overthrow the government and the Constitution it swears to protect so that he could illegitimately remain in power. He lost the election, but look what he almost managed to do by stoking fear, hatred, aggression and lies for four years. This was calculated, and everyone who supported him fell in line and should bear some responsibility for the five people who died during the unrest. Through his Supreme Court picks, Federal judges, cabinet members, servile Congress members and followers, he hoped to be able to dismantle American democracy. Enough people voted for Trump in the 2020 election to make it clear that America does not have a fringe problem with racism, discrimination, White supremacy and right-wing extremism, it’s mainstream, it wasn’t a dealbreaker — and it was the point.

Millions of people across the country (and around the world) watched live streams and on-sight news coverage of Trump supporters storming the Capitol. The rioters themselves even photographed, filmed, celebrated and shared their exploits. Then, like clockwork, pro-Trump media, fed by QAnon conspiracy theorist (and attorney), Lin Wood tried to defend the indefensible by peddling falsehoods that it was actually Antifa, and not Trump loyalists, who carried out this attack — which is a demonstrable lie.

Tweet by Bree Newsome that reads: You can't describe what's happening in the Capitol as a "small group of extremeists" when they're being supported by the president, 16% of the Senate, 1/4 of the House, the local police forces & officials at the Pentagon.
via Bree Newsome/Twitter

But do you know what is true about American democracy? Record numbers of voters cast or mailed in their ballots to affect political change despite persistent acts of voter suppression and disenfranchisement that disproportionately, but not unintentionally impact Indigenous, Black and communities of Colour. Participation was mobilized through grassroots movements that helped create the highest percentage of eligible voters turning out in 120 years. There will be more Native, Black and LGBTQ+ lawmakers serving in the next Congress than before. A total of 141 women were voted into Congress breaking a previous record set in 2019. Georgia voted for its first Black senator, Raphael Warnock and its first Jewish senator, Jon Ossoff. And all of this happened during a pandemic that is still ravaging this country.

Democracy is fragile and imperfect. We have a lot of work to do.

What are your thoughts about this event?

Further Info:

Must-See New Video Shows Capitol Riot Was Way Worse Than We Thought — MSNBC *TW: violence, death threat, gun violence, medical distress

Racial Justice Leaders Are Reeling From The ‘Hypocrisy’ In The Police Response To The US Capitol Riots — CNN

Protests In White And Black, And The Different Response Of Law Enforcement — NPR

Trump’s Impeachment Process May Start Monday, Here’s What You Should Know — C|NET

Ongoing Mutual Aid for D.C. Frontliners & Activists — GoFundMe

27 thoughts on “Fragile Democracy & The Capitol Riots”

  1. “Black joy won over white rage” this was evident in the senate race in Georgia. The more pro-active and liberal the society becomes the angrier the hate group.
    This president would not be treated well by history!
    The fact that all his supporters went and stormed US Capitol thinking Trump cares about them, he only cares about himself. He will throw them under the bus if a chance occurs. Even the Vice President was scared and he’s still protecting Trump by not implementing 25th amendment.

    It shocks me to my core, we are watching the most celebrated democracy in the world being torn apart by its own sitting president.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everything you’ve said here is exactly right. He does not care for anyone except himself and eventually his loyal followers will begin to see this but not before he has used them to do whatever it is he requires to bolster himself. They are shielding him from responsibility because they’ll do the illegal, immoral things he wants to do so that they face the consequences while he goes untouched. He must be removed or impeached (or both). He must never be able to run again.

      Thank you so much for reading!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s what I am hoping for. With this impeachment, I hope republicans put their egos aside and do what’s best for democracy so he can never run again!!

        His supporters are the one now facing charges and possible jail time. It’s about time people open their eyes.

        Anyway, love this post Molly✨Always so eloquent! xx

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! Seeing this play out will dismay many but also spreads more hatred and violence. Part of me expected there to be some kind of rioting but I still held hope that it wouldn’t turn out as I feared. I just hope that he does not get away with it (including all that rioted).

      Thank you for reading!


  2. I live 30 min outside of DC & what went on that day made me feel sick to my stomach. I don’t want sit here & feel scared to be an American & be scared to bring up children in this type of world. But it’s rather scary at times.
    I’m hoping for change & a fresh start with the new presidency.


  3. I’ve seen things like this happen in other countries. But, I never thought that an attack like this could happen in America. The Capitol, the seat of US democracy, was ransacked. I firmly believe that violence is not the solution to our nation’s problems.


  4. What happened this past week with the riots is unacceptable. People are putting lives at risk, and doesn’t demonstrate our best interest. Kind of why elections become a thing. Thank you for sharing all of these resources!

    Nancy ✨


  5. Watching these events unfold and talks on facetime to my friend in america whilst she cried about feeling so unsafe in her home state was all truly terrifying and I live in the UK. The fact this was even allowed to happen, videos of police officers urging them to move inside is disgraceful, and trump said they loved them and to go home, the whole thing I never thought I’d ever had to witness! A great and informative post x


  6. I’m not from the US but I remember watching it all unfolding in absolute shock. Sending lots of love from the UK – hopefully the new presidency will bring fresh hope and joy! X


  7. I’m based in the UK and so I’m definitely looking on without the indepth knowledge of the US election system I would need to make an informed opinion, but it seems shocking that a presidency can end this way, I hope the States move it through this and start rebuilding in 2021 in a post covid and post Trump world!

    Katie |


    1. I hope that things improve too and that the people who did this (POTUS included) face the consequences. It was a sad thing to watch and I’m sure in the UK (and around the world) it was deeply shocking.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read this!


  8. Whew!! Thank you for speaking truth. This was an attempted coup. This was whitelash. This was carefully planned. Such a sad day for the nation, but also not surprising. The Trump presidency has pulled back the covers on what has always lurked behind the political posturing and empty gestures: the determination to keep white supremacy alive and well.


    1. I could not say it better myself, you are 100% right. As more and more info comes out it is clear that there was much planning and even help from the inside. If those at the very top, POTUS included, do not face the consequences then this is a clear signal that this is acceptable.

      Thank you for your comment!


  9. I watched the whole thing from here in South Africa and I was absolutely shocked. The fact that this bunch of idiots could simply go in and vandalise a government building is beyond me. I expected people to get shot and teargassed. I’m so happy Trump is on his way out, and I hope he is investigated for his tax fraud. Anyway, great post. I like your style of writing.

    All the best, Michelle


    1. It was incredible to see the hatred, anger and enjoyment on the rioters faces as they caused terror. They knew that they’d largely be safe as they tried to overthrow the governement — the difference in response by the National Guard and the Capitol Police was very telling!

      Thank you so much for reading!


  10. I’ve never followed politics very closely, but four years ago I cast my first ballot in a presidential election at the age of 30 to try to prevent what happened last week. My candidate didn’t win, but I knew that I would vote again last November rather than stand by and let history repeat itself. I dont know when people became so entitled and so unreasonable that they’d resort to violence rather than admit failure, but until we can reverse this growing paranoia and separation in a growing percent of the population, I fear for what’s on the horizon and am surprised that last week wasn’t worse. Thanks for sharing your stance on this historic event.


    1. I can understand being upset that an election didn’t go the way I had hoped (this was me in 2016 when Trump won) but I cannot understand how easily people were led to violence and hatred. It saddened me even though part of me knew this might have been an outcome, you hold on to people being better than that … but this is the truth of this country, fully exposed. It was always bubbling under the surface and Trump gave them an outlet. I am watching closely to see what happens, and I just hope it is towards justice for all of those involved in the terrorism we saw (no matter how high up it goes).

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read my post!


  11. Hearing about the riots in America was horrifying. I’ve definitely tried my best to stay in the loop with politics both national and global after seeing the impact and turmoil of a Trump presidency. It’s also really good to see more people of colour in politics and representation and I’m really glad of the outcome of the Georgia Senate voting. We all knew how pivotal the outcome would be in the Congress and it gives me hope in humanity. This was such an informative post!


    1. It has been really interesting hearing from people outside of the U.S. about what they make of it all. I regulalry talk to my Mum back in the UK and the perspectives from her are always informative. I’m hopeful things will improve but those who took part this insurrection must be brought to justice. Thank you so much for stopping by!


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