The fact that I am writing the first article of the year on such a monumental, horrific event is very telling of the state the country is in. I live 30 minutes away from DC, but this is something that affects us all, regardless of proximity to the capital. I wanted to write this post, not only to properly address the riots but to provide a credible guide to those of you who are maybe overwhelmed with everything happening and those who want to stay aware. Additionally, I wanted to talk about some topics such as responsible social media use and credible information, that I have written about before but are even more important at this moment in history. As I always do, I have included links and resources that I used in this post and recommend reading. It is more important than ever that we are working towards spreading factual and reliable information, and I want to assure all of you reading that this post is no different.
disclaimer: As we have seen, a lot can happen very quickly. The information in this post is reliable, and I have supplied many resources for further reading, however in case anything does change between when I wrote this and when you are reading this, I want to encourage you to check live updates and make sure that you know the most updated information.
overview. Before I talk about anything, I want to give a quick overview of what happened. On January 6th, rioters stormed the halls of Congress yesterday as Congress was in the process of certifying Biden’s win. The Georgia elections results were also confirmed, cementing Democratic control of the Senate. After the Police and law enforcement gain control of the situation, Biden’s win was certified by Congress. As of when I am writing this article, 82 people have been arrested and 4 have died. This is an article with live updates regarding the election results, riots, politicians’ activity, etc. for more details and up-to-date information.
language. Language has become increasingly important. Not just an individual’s usage of language, like Twitter or Trump’s rallies, but the type of language being used. I quickly want to go over some of the words that have been shown on the news and are being used to describe the events of Wednesday. I think it’s especially important because of how different some of these words are and how they show how different people are viewing the riots. I will be using riots, terrorism, and insurrection throughout this post, not “protests”.
- peaceful protest. a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something peacefully.
- insurrection. a violent uprising against an authority or government.
- riots. a violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd.
- domestic terrorism. the committing of terrorist acts in the perpetrator’s own country against their fellow citizens.
preparation. Although the riots and images we are seeing on the news are insane and somewhat unbelievable, they should not be surprising. What is surprising and sad is that Capitol Police weren’t prepared for this. The reason I wanted to quickly address this and provide some further reading is that I hope this will show that these big events don’t always just happen out of nowhere. I recommend reading this article about this was an event that had been planned for weeks prior and this opinion piece on the topic.
accountability. Trump is more than responsible for the insurrection. He instigated it and promoted it, then gave qualified remarks about it. Not only did he encourage the rioters to go to the Capital, for the past couple of months, but he has also been spreading false information and lies as he tried to delegitimize the election results. As of when I am writing this, articles of Impeachment have been drafted and there is the possibility of Vice President Pence invoking the 25th amendment. To read more about impeachment and reasoning, click here.
double standards. It is not difficult to see the double standards between how these violent rioters were treated by law enforcement and how Black Lives Matter protesters, and the moment over was treated. This is a topic that deserves a lot more space and time to discuss, but I wanted to provide some resources in case you want to read more about this. This is a great article comparing the BLM protests and Capitol Riots. The Police have been criticized for these double standards, which you can read about here. This is definitely not something new as history is full of scenarios of hypocritical actions and double standards, especially when it involves protests and people of color.
responsible use of social media. I want to address social media use, not just Trump and other politicians’ use, but our own use going forward. This happens whenever a big event like this happens, but Social Media is flooded with discussions and posts about this. I just want to remind us all to be responsible on social media, stay factual, not repost for the sake of posting, and follow up your social media action with constructive offline action. Regarding politicians’ use of social media, we know how powerful it can be. A lot of the plans for this riot was based on encouraging tweets and the spread of false information by major leaders in this country. I recommend reading this article about the recent limits put on Trump’s Twitter to learn a little more.
what this means for the future of democracy and elections. I wanted to quickly mention this, but I am doing an entire post dedicated to this because of previous posts I have written on the future of elections and democracy.
I want to encourage everyone to talk about this and engaged in fact-based discussions. Whether that’s in the comment section below or with your family, it’s important to talk and reflect on what just happened and why, so that going forward, we grow and don’t have a repeat of what happened Wednesday.
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