I expected this and honestly surprised it didn’t happen sooner, but white supremacists are attempting to overturn the election. They are terrorists, and what they are attempting is a coup.
Terrorist – a person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.
Coup – a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government.
In response, the same police officers who have been brutalizing actual protesters all summer long are now “standing back and standing by”, proving once and for all the true nature of policing in our country. Police are here to protect white supremacy and capitalism. They murder black people without consequences and allow gun-wielding terrorists to enter the nation’s capital unmolested.
The question I want to ask, even now as the attempted coup continues, is this: what consequences will these terrorists face? I don’t mean arrests or incarceration (we all know that’s not going to happen). I am still a prison and police abolitionist. But what social consequences will these terrorists face?
They will return to their lives and their towns and their families and their jobs. And what will that look like? Will they be welcomed with open arms?
I’ve been yelling a lot about community, how important it is and how difficult at times. Now is another opportunity for communities to demonstrate their power.
Call out the white supremacists who live near you. Don’t “be kind” to them, don’t extend them forgiveness before they even ask for it. Do not make their lives easy. They have made a choice to arm themselves and attack the government. No one forced them to make those decisions. This is not a matter of being heartless, but rather of protecting those who need to be protected and providing consequences for those who betray their communities.
Because this is a betrayal. Not of “ideals” or “a nation” but of people, of human beings.
Every night before I go to sleep, I put a chair against the door with its back pressed against the doorknob. I don’t expect that it will do anything should anyone break in, but at least it would give me a few seconds to prepare myself. I think about this because I have a Black Lives Matter sign in my window. And my neighbors are Trump supporters with guns.
And I’m white. Which means the risk for me is significantly decreased. Maybe despite my queerness, they might still see me as a human being.
I wish I were being dramatic right now. But white supremacist terrorists are invading the capitol.
If they are your co-workers, do not welcome them back. If they are your distant relations, do not invite them to the next family reunion. Do not give them opportunities; do not accept their baked goods; do not smile when you see them on the sidewalk. Do not make the space “safe” for them. Do not forgive and forget. Hold these people responsible for their betrayal because our government and police force will not.
Because love is not the same as forgiveness. Love is powerful and transformative, it forces people to see themselves as they are and to face their actions.