Reflecting on the Assault of the Capitol

January 20, 2021
From left to right: Stephanie Farris, Alexandria Anderson, and Leah Beaumont

From left to right: Stephanie Farris, Alexandria Anderson, and Leah Beaumont

Stephanie Farris, Alexandria Anderson, and Leah Beaumont

When the news broke about the attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters, I found myself cycling through a series of emotions. I was worried about the state of our country, I was angry about the hypocrisy within our nation, and I sadly was not as surprised as I probably should have been. This was the first time I was old enough to vote in a Presidential Election and I believe most people my age could agree that this was an exhausting and toxic first election to be part of. Leading up to the assault on the Capitol, it has been evident that Trump and his supporters truly believe that the entire election was fraud and that they will find a way to declare Trump as the rightful winner. Given that this has been a prevalent and ongoing attitude since the election in November, I was not completely shocked when I heard a group of his supporters took such extreme measures. 

To me this was a blatant example of the double standards and hypocrisy that plagues our country. Like many people, I thought back to the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement this past summer and how it was heavily criticized and condemned by the right as “violent” and was referred to as “riots” by the same people who thought storming the Capitol was a necessary and appropriate “revolution.” It is not a revolution. In my opinion, it’s domestic terrorism. 

On that note I want to point out that I don't want to generalize all Republicans as thinking this was okay, however I do think it is completely ironic that Republicans tend to group all Democrats and Black Lives Matter supporters in with the individuals who damaged and looted stores during the BLM protests, but then don't want to be associated with any negativity of their own political party. Or in some cases they completely deny that this raid was done by Trump supporters at all, and claim it was staged by far left radicals. The amount of denial and lack of accountability is astounding, but is to be expected when we have a president who embodies and promotes those behaviors. 

I asked our VISTA members if there is anything they would like to add to this conversation. Alexandria Anderson shared some of my same thoughts saying, “There were so many things running through my mind as the insurrection was happening - the way it happened, the President inciting the violence, the lack of barriers and enforcement, the safety of those inside, the hypocrisy and treatment of protesters all of summer 2020, and the fact that this seemed like no accident. For me, it was infuriating and indescribable how this was allowed to happen and that majority of them were able to peacefully leave. The pictures and videos I have seen do no justice of what actually occurred that day.” 

Leah Beaumont stated, “We live in a country called The United States of America, while we remain incredibly divided. As a VISTA serving to reduce violence and teach the young people of our country how to resolve conflicts peacefully, I feel like my efforts have been attacked.   Our country must no longer be fueled by hatred and ignorance, but rather by compassion and understanding. It is time to focus on goodness and healing rather than destruction, and we must do so together.” 

I believe these are all things that many of us have felt during this time, the frustration, confusion and anger are emotions that will certainly take time to process. 

This was an absolutely horrific thing to have taken place and I am extremely disappointed that the system in which our nation operates, allows for this type of thing to even happen at all.  I think this needs to be a time of deep reflection and I hope that we can heal from this and do what needs to be done in order to move towards a positive future.

The attack that took place last week at the U.S. Capitol was abhorrent. The CCE wants to reaffirm President Sakaki's statement and support the university's position. We recognize as educators, that we have a special responsibility to provide California with civically engaged neighbors who value diversity and inclusion and who have excellent critical thinking and information literacy skills. As the executive director of CA Campus Compact makes clear, this responsibility is not only to our graduates, but also to all the P-12 children who are taught by our graduates. Our work to attain beloved community is a path we must take together.