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Complete complicity from the Capitol Police

We are not safe from those who do not believe in elections that they don’t rig and win

Nancy Braus, an independent book seller, is a longtime activist.

Putney

Millions of Americans tuned in to the latest and greatest antics of those fun and principled Trumpsters at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

To watch the entitled and moronic Trump family in the tent before the riot — too afraid to get their own hands dirty but pushing the mob of true believers to “get wild” — would be shocking if it were anyone else.

However, Trump, his defective offspring, and the thousands of Republican enablers did nothing many of us did not expect. Trump has been egging on those who hang on his mendacious propaganda ever since he righteously lost the election. This was never going to end well.

The unexpected for me — and, I think, my level of surprise that it might stem from my white privilege — was the complete complicity of the Capitol Police.

And once I thought about it, I realized that there is absolutely no reason these police would not be in cahoots with a bunch of white supremacist thugs.

* * *

Some elements of the military have been highly critical of Donald Trump’s “leadership,” but by and large we’ve seen a lovefest between large police organizations — especially the unions — and the Trump administration.

I don’t mean to suggest that every Capitol Police officer was in on the setup, but there is a reason why all the men who were in charge of the response instantly were fired or resigned.

Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland attempted to send assistance, and was stonewalled for 2{1/2} hours by Trump people. Washington, as has been repeatedly stated, is possibly the most-policed city in the world — plenty of back up would have been forthcoming.

When Trump told police not to coddle demonstrators, when he suggested officers bang arrestees’ heads as they were guided into patrol cars, when he tweeted “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” he could not have been clearer that he was referring only to people of color and to the left (always referred to as “Antifa”).

He was delivering a message: Make sure to hurt anyone speaking against the Republican destruction of the environment, throwing babies in cages, or demanding an end to police brutality.

* * *

I am sure that anyone reading these words in the Brattleboro area knows someone who has been arrested for civil disobedience. We are among you every day.

We have been arrested for peacefully protesting Vermont Yankee Nuclear Reactor (closed for going on a decade — yeah!), for demanding an end to family separation and other terrible human rights violations, for demanding an end to the use of fossil fuels, and for supporting the many national calls for racial justice.

The people I know who have been arrested — and I include myself here — have always acted nonviolently and have planned our actions with a precision that is clearly not part of the Trump thugs’ skill set.

We always discuss whether we can accept property destruction (usually the answer is an emphatic no), what we can do if someone loses their cool, how to act in the face of provocateurs, and how to address other issues to make certain we are organized and safe.

When those of us who have been busy over the years protesting war and injustice have gone to Washington en masse to express our rights to free speech, we have seen ourselves blocked from entering roads and the Washington Metro system, and severely restricted in other ways.

During one of the Bush inaugurations — I forget which one! — I spent hours wandering around the maze of blocked roads. The police or military were armed and threatening, and my companions and I did not feel we could safely barge through the barricades. We never did get to the area where people were gathering.

So seeing these Capitol Police officers moving the barricades to make a building invasion easier for the Trump snowflakes, seeing them gently bringing these felons out of the Capitol building, seeing the selfie portraits taken inside — it was completely clear that at least some of these police are in the Trump cult.

* * *

We are not safe from those who do not believe in elections that they don’t rig and win. Every state, including “progressive” Vermont, is home to some of these violent, impulsive, selfish mobsters.

As a secular Jewish leftist, I have to admit I am freaked out by some of the T-shirts worn by the Trump thugs such as “Camp Auschwitz” and the charming logo 6MNE (“six million is not enough”).

I also know that this fear is nothing compared to the danger faced by Black Americans every day from living in a racist country, but it certainly makes me want nothing to do with these people who would rather see me dead than speak with me.

And then the final insult is the far-right media blaming the left for the damage, destruction, and bad planning of the Capitol invasion.

* * *

We have already seen Ted Cruz, one of the number one inciters to violence, try to walk his support back.

As if.

We will see more Republicans who have supported Trump for the past five years suddenly seeing the light.

As if.

Always remember: Those who long for the joy of fascism are not the majority of the population — they lost the election.

And if we are able to stick together and push the new majority to get serious about the climate, about economic and social injustice, and about getting behind an organized plan to get the COVID-19 vaccine out, this attempted coup will be behind us.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #595 (Wednesday, January 13, 2021). This story appeared on page B4.

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