Opinion: Is This Who We Are?


Rioter puts his feet up on Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi’s desk. He proceeded to steal Pelosi’s mail. Photo taken by Saul Loeb.

What do you envision when you think of an act of terrorism? You likely imagine the events of 9/11 or the Boston Marathon bombing. I would never have imagined in my lifetime that as a nation we would pay witness to our own president leading a domestic terrorist attack. Yes, an act of terrorism, which is defined by Oxford Languages as “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.The events that took place on Wednesday were nothing short of a radical national threat to democracy. To call what occurred a protest, or even a riot, feels too menial. 

Master-propagandist President Trump prompted thousands of supporters to storm the Capitol building following false claims of election fraud. And with flying Trump flags and MAGA apparel, the cult-followers complied. The images from the historical event are disturbing to say the least. Rioters mindlessly climbed walls, smashed through windows, vandalized the building in its entirety, and broke into the Senate Chamber and offices. Defense forces were overwhelmed, and five individuals, killed.

The Confederate flag was seen within the Capitol building, a blatant insult to the integrity of the United States. Watching this event unfold on the news, I was unnerved to pay witness to such a grossly disrespectful gesture. Not once, not even during the Civil War era, was the Confederate flag permitted to entire the Capitol building. The riot on Wednesday marks the first time this has occurred within American history. Not only does the presence of the Confederate flag stand against our nation’s political unity, but it is also a symbol of white supremacy. While some may argue that the Confederate flag is a benign emblem of Civil War history, it has been used to symbolize white resistance to ending segregation laws by hate groups, such as the KKK, from the 20th century into modern times. The poignancy of this symbol of division is disturbing in a nation where students are encouraged to pledge allegiance to “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

There is no dignity behind defending a president who so willingly promoted the destruction of the very symbol of the United States government. Pro-Trump rioters are their own category of domestic terrorists, exceedingly hypocritical and violent. Nothing about the riots were about protecting America, let’s get the facts straight. Dictator-aspirant President Donald Trump is the weakest link in the union of the US government. One can only hope that this event will bring together the Democratic and Republican leaders in the recognition that Trump has caused a radical division.

The Capitol Building riot is a defining and greatly unsettling moment in US history. We are the future of the United States. Let us all remember this terrorist attack and consider Wednesday’s events in future elections, presidencies, and whenever we may question the leadership over our country. We are better than this.