Right at the top of the list of Blog and Instagram Posts That Inexplicably Annoy Me are the ones where people make big world events about them, individually.
And yet what happened yesterday in Washington demands our collective and individual reactions and opinions, because it is very literally about all of us. Every single one of us—how and who we are.
Also, in the spirit of honoring what this site and show/podcast are about—real talk on big topics—I think we should talk about this.
So here’s my personal story. I cried when I watched the news and saw the broken windows, the fighting, the destruction. Like many of you, I asked, “How did it get to this?”
What happened yesterday in Washington hurts so badly not only because of what it shattered—buildings; walls; lives; the belief that our democratic system is inviolable—but also because of what it shows us about ourselves as a country, something that so many people still deny. Racism.
In reviewing the horror, so many people came to realize this hard truth—that if the majority of the faces of the Coup on Washington were black, how very different and much more deadly the end result would have been.
My grandfather and great-grandparents came to America for better things. A system that would give them the freedom to earn a better life for their families. A system that would give them rights, a boost when they needed it, and something to work to protect.
In turn, protect and work they did. Serving in our military. Building companies and working hard. Having American children who would remember that this wasn’t always how it was—that good government isn’t in fact a default or dumb luck. It’s democracy.
It’s also the white person version of democracy.
Now let me say this, ahead of the whole “white shame!” comments. I am proud of who my family is, I carry no shame in my Italian-American heritage, but truly, it’s impossible to unsee the difference in treatment between the riots this summer and the coup yesterday.
It’s impossible for me, at least, to not see the exercise in selective retribution that played out on TVs all across the world yesterday. The double whammy of witnessing the very temple of democracy be defiled, all while realizing how unjust our system still treats people of color… that’s all I could see when I watched my TV.
Yesterday was not democracy, not for people of any color. It was an attempt at ruining civil discourse in favor of rage. Also, it was chaos aimed at dividing. It was also reflective of how far we still have to go.
So those are my two cents. Real talk promised, real talk delivered.
If Instagram is any indication, some of you will unfollow me. That’s okay. Some will leave negative comments. That’s okay, too. My promise to you and to myself is honesty in an effort to spark meaningful conversation. I’d love for you to meet me in that space, but if you’re not willing or ready, no hard feelings.
Open to hearing your respectful thoughts on where our country is right now, and where you hope it will be soon. Please comment below.