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On January 6, 2021, riots on Capitol Hill were fueled by alternative facts resulting in a horror show. The U.S. Capitol descended into chaos and violence Wednesday as hundreds of pro-Trump rioters swarmed the building, leaving four people dead, forcing the Senate to evacuate and Vice President Mike Pence to be ushered to safety.
The frenzied scene after rioters broke through barricades forced Congress to evacuate parts of the building and abruptly pause a ceremonial event affirming that President-elect Joe Biden won the November election. Prompted by alternative facts surrounding the 2020 election, loads of white supremacists took over Capitol Hill while confirming the existence of two Americas.
In January 2017, the world was introduced to a new theory called alternative facts. When questioned about a statement made by the Trump Administration, Kellyanne Conway, at the time, counselor to President Trump, declared an untruth to be an alternative fact. Most people understand a fact to be something that has really occurred or can be fact-checked and backed up with evidence. However, Conway, in hopes of covering for the president, introduced the world to a new hypothesis called alternative facts.
Is there such a thing as an alternative fact? It seems that these are statements offered using word manipulation such as a logical fallacy. This could be information that includes a flaw in reasoning. They are like tricks or illusions of thought and are often used by politicians and the media to sneak in falsehoods to deceive others.
Many are puzzled and even offended that Conway would attempt to introduce a concept of falsehood, however, it appears that Trump’s team has become extremely fluent in this type of dialogue. Unfortunately, Trump himself has rendered many incomplete thoughts in order to manipulate less motivated people. Therefore, the idea of alternative facts is not new; instead, the public now has a name in which to identify this ideology.
Two Americas is a phrase used by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his speech “The Other America” to describe the differences in what life is like for people of varying social classes in the United States. The events that occurred on Wednesday confirm two Americas are in full effect.
Today, America is shrouded in a most un-American pessimism as many within this great country remain trapped between fear and faith. On one side of the divide, there are people who are fed up with the mistreatment and injustice they have experienced for longer than they can remember. They have decided to take matters into their own hands with protests and other questionable behavior patterns. Undoubtedly, if hope continues to decrease, violence will increase and blood will continue to spill into the earth.
On the other side, there are people who embraced the faith of a changing country “made great again” with the entrance of new authority. As such, Trump served as a beacon of hope to his core supporters. He seemingly indulged their ambitions to maintain America’s system of oppression and inspired them in dangerous ways that have the potential to lead to serious consequences. Instead of seeking unity, Americans from both sides are fighting to be right. However, when hate overpowers love, no one is right.
Thugs and Incredible Patriots
On Wednesday, the riots at Capitol Hill were incited by alternative facts surrounding Trump’s devastating loss to President-elect Joe Biden. Trump, earlier that day called on his supporters to march to the Capitol and even suggested that he might join them before he ultimately returned to the White House. The chaos erupted after he spoke to the large crowd in front of the White House. He angrily vowed never to concede to Biden and baselessly asserted that the election results were fraudulent. In a spew of alternative facts, including claims that Biden would be an “illegitimate” president, Trump yelled:
We will never give up. We will never concede. You don’t concede when there is theft involved!
After urging his followers to “march” to the Capitol and “be strong,” the mob did exactly that, eventually overtaking police officers and forcing their way inside the building, desecrating the halls of Congress, trashing the offices of lawmakers, and upending the electoral ratification process. The violence also led to the death of some of his own supporters.
Trump once declared, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” as black people marched through the streets crying for justice and equality. However, his tune changed as white nationalists formed a coup at his behest. Trump defended those at his Wednesday rally as “incredible patriots” who love him and America.
After being coerced to do something, Trump, in a video message, finally asked the coup to “go home in peace” and concluded by saying, “you’re very special. I love you.” This statement is a stark contrast to the language the president used when addressing Black Lives Matter protesters, whom he has repeatedly referred to as “thugs,” “terrorists” and “anarchists.”
Throughout his presidency, Trump has frequently portrayed anti-racism protesters as “violent demonstrators” with evil intentions. “They are not ‘peaceful protesters,’ they are THUGS!” Last May, Trump stated that protesters demonstrating outside the White House following George Floyd’s killing were “just there to cause trouble.” He added that if any of those protestors got too close to the White House, “they would have been greeted with the most vicious dogs, and most ominous weapons, I have ever seen.”
In 2017, Trump said that any NFL player who kneeled during the national anthem is a “son of a b**ch” and should be fired. Also, in 2017, following a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, led by white supremacists protesting the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, Trump infamously said there were “very fine people on both sides” and lamented the loss of such monuments. In July 2020, Trump called a Black Lives Matter mural “a symbol of hate.”
America’s Dark History
White nationalism is on the rise in America. With his nationalist rhetoric and policies, Trump has become part of this continuum, giving license to millions to express their white grievance in new ways and refusing to condemn or prosecute their violence in any meaningful way. If this makes America great “again,” white nationalism must be the American dream.
America has a much longer and darker history than many want to acknowledge, one deeply entangled with the country’s brutal legacy of slavery and white supremacy, its conflicted relationship to immigration, nativism, and xenophobia. White supremacy and white nationalism are closely related concepts. White nationalists believe white privilege should be built into social institutions and the alternative fact that to truly be American is to be white.
Although black America has endured slavery, police brutality, systemic racism, mass incarceration, what this country did to white people is worse! It lied to the white community by telling them they are something that they are not. They believed it and now feel like these other races are taking something that belongs to them.
America was never just a white nation – NEVER! The country never belonged to its white population. Now, these white supremacists are left behind because they never thought they had to keep up. Are they not the standard that every other race must reach up to? So, this act of “betrayal” causes them to seek to destroy anything that is not reflective of the “white is right” theory.
When speaking of white nationalism and supremacy Andrew Whitehead, an associate professor of sociology at Clemson University, said:
It is relatively common to think America is meant to be a Christian nation. But, in some cases, this belief is infused with racism and bigotry and becomes a reason to harm members of racial or religious minority groups.
White nationalists believe whites deserve privileged status in the United States and Christian nationalists believe Christians deserve the same. Both ideologies stand in the way of unity. The idea that America should be a Christian nation supports a history of white supremacy and arrogance that seeks to silence anything different.
The riot on Capitol Hill confirms a two-faced America. After the supposed coup many in attendance expressed anger at a president who they believed had abandoned them in the middle of a battle that he himself had ordered them to fight. One post, with some 250 plus upvotes, read:
He calls people to descend on DC for what, 9 hours, then instructs them to go home? People have lost time, money, family, potentially, careers, and even their lives over this … and a ‘Thanks for coming, go home now’ is what people are instructed to do?
What happens now? The result of the 2020 election has thrown this country for a loop. Some celebrate the Biden/Harris win, while others continue to mourn the current president’s ultimate transition of power. The country continues to experience a great divide that has many Americans trapped between fear and faith and hope and despair. One thing, however, that should no longer be debatable is if these riots were led by black or brown people the outcome would have been extremely different.
The crisis of America will not change simply by the transference of power; it can only be made better by the conveyance of love. It is time for Americans to join together and bridge the gap by spreading love as they continue to seek change. Otherwise, things will get worse for the “two America” crisis that veils this nation.
Opinion by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)
Guardian Liberty Voice: What Is An Alternative Fact?
NBA: LeBron James on Capitol breach: ‘We live in two Americas’
Twitter: Real Donald Trump (Account permanently suspended)
BuzzFeed News: Pro-Trump Activists Feel Betrayed by the President
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