American Democracy in black and white – Times of India

WASHINGTON: In videos and photos, in cartoons and memes, the contrast was brought out vividly. One showed the US military with high-grade weapons massed against BlackLivesMatter protestors a few months ago. Another showed white law enforcement officers posing for selfies with violent pro-Trump extremists who broke into the US Capitol on Wednesday.
“We live in a country where people actually have to March for their LIVES because of the color of their skin and are met with tear gas, beatings, and more death but terrorists take over the Capital while Congress is in session and they are ‘special’ and ‘loved’,” read the caustic caption, referring to Trump’s praise of racist, white supremacist hoods.
One meme was captioned, “I see stricter security measures on the black hair products aisle in Walmart than I did at our US Capitol today!” Another said “MAGA is the new ISIS.”
On a traumatic day for much of multi-cultural America that takes great pride in its diversity and plurality, the differential treatment and coddling of its white supremacists by authorities in Washington DC came as a surprise to some but not to others. Confederate flags, hanging noose, neo-Nazi symbols — Trump’s hordes wasted no opportunity to disgrace the United States on Wednesday.
The Trumps themselves led the way in praise of the mobs, with even Ivanka Trump calling them “American patriots” in a tweet before she deleted it. Trump of course gushed about them after inciting them to march on the Capitol, fulminating against his own vice-president and moderate lawmakers from his party.
America has always had white militias and extremists — praised by Trump as “good people” on one occasion — but the brazen manner in which they were allowed to breach the Capitol security, and by some accounts welcomed into the US Congress, was stunning. The only thing missing was racist pro-Trump lawmakers posing for pictures with the neo-Nazis, although that is expected to emerge soon enough.
As it turned out, even that may be infructuous because some of the insurrectionists happen to be pro-Trump GOP lawmakers from state legislatures who triumphantly live-streamed their lawbreaking invasion on social media, having openly announced it under the eyes of authorities who were asleep on the watch. For some of them, this was a “revolution.”
In one of the rare entertaining moments on the day democracy was wounded in America, a young white woman named Elizabeth from Knoxville emerged from the Capitol tears streaming down her eyes. “What happened to you?” someone asks her. “I got maced,” she wails, dabbing her eyes. “I made it like a foot inside and they pushed me out and maced me.”
“Why did you want to go in?”
“We are storming the Capitol! It is a revolution!”
Democracy survived, but irony may have died.
Historians pointed out that it was the first time the US Capitol was breached after the British attacked it and set it on fire during the war of 1812. Contemporary analysts are hoping it will be the last. One pro-Trump lawmaker suggested the agitators should focus on state capitols instead of the one in Washington DC.

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