The Quaker Campus writes today to vehemently condemn the attack on the U.S. Capitol. We would be remiss to not acknowledge that the far-right insurrectionists’s actions are a direct attack on democracy. When the normalization of fascist behavior is displayed through attempts to subvert the democratic processes of our election, our democracy everywhere is under threat. The last four years have served to set a precedent for yesterday’s actions, with the words of encouragement from elected officials and President Donald Trump himself acting as a catalyst for the siege on the Capitol.
One thing must be clarified: protests are an integral part of our democratic republic, but the event that occurred on Jan. 6 was no protest. There is an innate difference between the use of violence to subvert democratic processes and protesting to amplify the voices that are being oppressed. As such, there is no parallel between Black Lives Matter protests and the fascist actions of terrorism that occurred at the Capitol. Yesterday’s act was nothing less than an act of white supremacist domestic terrorism. Had it occurred in another country, perhaps more mainstream media, not excluding this college newspaper, would be running headlines on an attempted coup. It can not be ignored that the attempt to overturn and repress the election results stems from the desire to suppress the votes of primarily Black and indigenous voters.
Furthermore, it must remain clear that this emboldenment of white supremacy did not begin with Trump and will not end with Trump. However, he directly incited the events at the Capitol. His loss in the recent election was certain, but his early rejection of the results to his speech given at the Capitol before the coup attempt were a direct act of treason meant to encourage the violent and dangerous conspiracies throughout his base. This is a battle of rhetoric, which is why we find it important to be precise in our language. There is no mincing of words in the condemnation of the far-right attack on our country; otherwise, we are normalizing fascism by omission.
The resignation of cabinet members, as well as Trump’s far-belated acceptance of the inevitable transition of power, are nothing more than a strategy to minimize the damages they face for their attacks on our country. We must never forget every face and name that allowed white supremacy to storm our Capitol, both as elected officials and as the terrorists who wielded Confederate flags and anti-semetic symbols. We must not forget the Lincoln Memorial stairs lined with National Guards, the peaceful protesters who face permanent injuries, and the police attacks on journalists during BLM protests in contrast with the images of far-right insurrectionists relaxed in Senate chambers or posed in Nancy Pelosi’s office, with her computer open and unlocked. Acting surprised at these events only enables the systems that allow white supremacy to prosper in our government and society to continue unreformed and unquestioned.
The Quaker Campus acknowledges the lateness of this statement. As defenders of free speech and journalists, it is our obligation to recognize and call attention to the attacks on both. We recognize our privilege to study and write from a liberal arts institution that purports democratic values of civil discourse, social justice, and diversity. That said, we must also express our disappointment with the efforts of the College and its educators to engage students in a meaningful discussion over this grave matter. The failure to address this terrorist attack on our democracy is a failure to acknowledge that we are living a perilous moment that only further jeopardizes our democracy and its institutions. The Quaker Campus will release a more detailed statement and further coverage in the coming days.