What If ‘We’ Purged the Capitol As ‘They’ Did?

An image of Donald Trump in anger.
Image by John Hain

In October of 2002, I worked at the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., one of the most heavily guarded Federal landmarks in America at the time. This was thirteen months after the 9/11 attacks on our “great” nation. I worked as a delivery guy Monday through Friday and went to school at night where I studied literature. Security was extra tight on the Hill back then. Not to mention, Beltway Snipers Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad had the region paralyzed with fear. Folks were being clipped while pumping gas or walking to and from work. Paranoia was an understatement.

You couldn’t sneeze in front of the Capitol Building back then or anywhere within fifty air miles of the Nation’s Capital. Every delivery box to the Capitol building had to be X-rayed twice: once at an offsite facility owned by the United States Capitol Police and then again when you entered the Capitol. My delivery truck was also scanned and sniffed by dogs. Some days, despite a verified sticker from the off-site facility and a second scan, there was still pushback despite going through two processes.

“Hold it right there!” an officer stopped me. “What’s all this? Where are you going?”

Lifting the top flap of the box to show him, the officer peeped inside.

“Calendars and holiday ornaments,” I said.

“Did you get it scanned?! When? What time? Point to it. Show me!”

Hands shaking, I turned over the box to show him the black barcode I received from the off-site facility. The officer then removed his glasses from his shirt, placed them onto his face, and zoomed into the box. I thought he was fixing to count the lines of the barcode stamp, too. Upon realizing I wasn’t a threat, he then nodded for me to pass, eyeballing me until I turned the corner.

On my way to a congressional member’s office, rushing Secret Servicemen nearly blew my coat off as they raced down the hallway to question a chaperone with a group of high schoolers there on a field trip. Scowling German Sheppard police dogs taped to their owners as suited F.B.I. agents talked into their sleeves with wires hooked around their ears. The other week, I got turned around and ended up in an unauthorized part of the building and ran into an officer carrying an automatic submachine gun. I was new on the job and still finding my way around. I had to fart so badly but worried that if it echoed throughout the Rotunda, I’d get rushed for carrying a bomb.

“Move-Move-Move!” an agent extended his arm, guiding me into the wall as a member of President George W. Bush’s cabinet was being swiftly escorted out of the Capitol. Shortly after dropping my merchandise off, I got the hell out of there and went to lunch.

Donning the top of the U.S. Capitol Building outside was a team of snipers at every corner. Meanwhile, officers patrolled the Capitol’s grounds with M-16, military-style assault rifles. No Glocks. No Berettas. No 1911s. The big boy stuff. Officers were outfitted in all-black with balaclavas, some dressed in subdued tactical attire. Blocks away from the Capitol Building, U.S. Capitol Police Officers circled surrounding streets in cars, bicycles and were on foot patrol.

You could not breathe wrong anywhere near that Capitol. One delivery, I saw a guy get tackled to the ground and hogtied for roaming on Constitution Avenue with a pro-abortion T-shirt and mementos. Back in those days, I was scared to look at the police wrong on Capitol Hill, ask for directions, and shuddered as I passed by patrol cars stationed in front of the building.

What happened to the United States Capitol Building on Wednesday, January 6th, 2021 was a disgrace. Across the nation, Americans watched as Donald Trump’s supporters purged the Capitol Building, desecrating the nation’s landmark facility. For my historical buffs, atop the Capitol dome sits the 19-foot, 6-inch-tall, 15,000lb Freedom Statue. Well, last Wednesday, Trump supporters “freely” stormed inside the Capitol Building to “protest” on behalf of their beloved leader, Donald Trump’s, loss of the presidency. The world watched as some Capitol Police officers posed for selfies, while others permitted building access to these domestic terrorists. Members of Congress were forced to evacuate, while Secret Servicemen and fleeing staff used desks to block doors like an old-fashioned zombie or horror flick.

My question to you: how close to the Capitol building do you think a person of color would have been able to make it before being shot dead? Go ahead, America, I’ll wait — I’ll give you a hint. Do you remember this quote?

“When the looting starts,” he said. “The shooting starts.” Do you remember that? The original quote by Miami Police Chief, Walter E. Headley in 1967 was resuscitated by Donald Trump about peaceful protestors last year. Oh, and by the way, did you happen to see officers dressed like Storm Troopers while protestors of equal rights peacefully demonstrated? Did you happen to see the pepper balls? How about the pepper spray? Did you see the Storm Troopers? Did you catch a glimpse of the barricades and the row of armed bodies there ready to detain them? The world saw it, just like we saw Colin Kaepernick lose his NFL job for peacefully protesting the very same reasons for this blog. The world saw that just like every time in our history when people of color peacefully protested and had dogs sicked on them or swayed from trees for not being a good “House Negro.” For defying the agenda of White America. So tell me, how long would it have taken for one of ‘us’ to be shot at for breaching security at the Capitol? I’ll answer that one for you.

First of all, you wouldn’t have made it off of Interstate 295. Your caravan of peaceful protestors embarking on changing history would’ve been intercepted in your home driveway. Let’s say, hypothetically, you did make it onto the staircase of the Capitol Building? Then what? Let me raise my hand for that one — bang. There is no way in hell that any non-Trump supporter of color would’ve not been shot at for breaching security at the Capitol. I bet my house on that. Jersey walls. Cones. Metal barricades. Secret Service. F.B.I. C.I.A. Police. Bomb dogs. X-Ray machines. Metal Detectors. Streets being blocked off. Detours. Curfews. Increased patrol on the Metro and the summoning for additional resources would’ve all happened in less than a day. You would’ve felt like I did when I worked at the Capitol back in 2002…

Remember the March on Washington? How about the Million Man March in ’95? The Inauguration of President Barack Obama? Do you remember the peaceful transition of power from the Obama Administration to Donald Trump’s? Sure, we had a few exceptions but neither event was nearly as disgraceful as Trump’s cry for his bigot-voters to siege the Capitol Building last Wednesday. With their flags and racist anger, they cried over the result of last year’s election. Meanwhile, as members of Congress threaten to invoke the 25th amendment to remove the president from office, word on the street is that Trump and Vice Present, Mike Pence, can’t stand to look at each other.

I loathe the disingenuous gesture and posturing for the proverbial “look at me, I’m the good guy” stuff that goes on in Washington politics. Why invoke the 25th amendment now? It should’ve been invoked on January 21, 2016. What good is it going to do unless the Federal Government is licking its chops to open criminal charges against Donald Trump for a myriad of unpresidential reasons, perhaps? Now, all of a sudden, every major player in the Trump Administration is resigning. From Betsy DeVos, his Secretary of Education, to the White House landscaper. Why?

To save what last little bit of dignity you have left? Or is it because the neighbors stopped golfing with you? You knew Trump was a disaster. You knew what he would do to this country and you let him. You knew that Donald Trump would start a grease fire of racist, misogynistic, and homophobic rhetoric that would split our nation down the middle. Last November, 79 million American voters nodded for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, while another 73 million voters offered Trump a second chance. That’s 73 million more times I have to watch over my shoulder…

What Trump wouldn’t do, what he would never do, was peacefully accept the transfer of power into the hands of someone other than himself. To accomplish his racist agenda, he used the powers to be, conning celebrity moguls like Ice Cube while posing with Lil Wayne, promising tax breaks to the wealthy or abundantly rich.

You and me, we’re the abundant middle-classmen. The 40 hours per workweek, take-it-up-the-ass because we need our jobs. The 9-to-5ers. The dreamers. The ones hit the hardest by this atrocious Pandemic. We ain’t Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. He cleaned up in 2020. You and I didn’t. We’re your regular blue-collar Americans on the verge of suicide due to loss of income, family, stress, and foreclosed houses. Donald Trump’s idea of America was never for us.

On Wednesday, U.S. Capitol Police Chief, Steve Sund, failed to deliver his promise, got his department in hot water, and left. Now, left to clean up his mess is his department, some of whom we’re not apart of the selfie-taking, barricade-removing Trump agenda. One of those officers was a man named, Brian D. Sicknick, who died in Wednesday’s farce of peaceful protesting. It’s been widely reported that several enforcement resources were offered but turned away. Why? Because angry Trump supporters hid behind the infamous Thin Blue Line. They were comfortable.

They’re with us, it’s ok! Whew! I’m glad they aren’t like those wicked Black Lives Matter protestors. Wrong.

They tore up the Capitol Building, defying justice in its finest hour on the wishes of Donald J. Trump. I never wore the Thin Blue Line. If ever I did, I got rid of it several years ago upon discovering the deceit of darkening out the country’s flag and painting a blue stripe in the center. I’ll walk my own line, thank you very much.

If you’re a true American, then you should be appalled at what took place at the Capitol Building on Wednesday, January 6th. But now, we must look forward to the future. Let’s look forward to the inauguration of our new President and Vice President on January 20th. Let us heal from these “trumped” times and trump what damage to our nation’s progress that Donald Trump intended to destroy.

We shall prevail. We shall overcome!

--

--

--

Nathan Jarelle is an author, poet & blogger from the Nation’s Capital. Subscribe to his blog or visit his website at natejayreads.com to learn more about him.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Monthly News Roundup: March 2022

The Habits of Democracy

The fallacy of making money in the markets

Redistributing MTA Service to Prevent Harm to Black and Brown New Yorkers

Nuclear-Sized Backfires

From Our ‘Guardians’: Nonstop Upset

Despite Appearances, BOTH Kavanaugh and Ford Were Lying Under Oath.

Pruitt Out Over Ethics, Not Policy

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Nathan Jarelle

Nathan Jarelle

Nathan Jarelle is an author, poet & blogger from the Nation’s Capital. Subscribe to his blog or visit his website at natejayreads.com to learn more about him.

More from Medium

White Male Aggression — The History of the World

The genesis of contemporary Africa’s migration crisis lies in dishonourable service!

Ryan Coogler and the Plight of Real N*****

On January 7, 2022, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler was detained by police after a bank teller accused him of trying to rob the bank that he was trying to withdraw his money from.

Apathy Around Black Death