As we were getting ready for bed last night i was taking a look at the Twitterer and saw what was going down at the Capitol in America as white supremacists stormed the building where Congress was validating the election results. We spent the next hour or so glued to our phones as we tried to make sense of the chaos that was happening over there.
i have some thoughts and opinions, but for me this was an event that can be well summed up by some of the tweets and images that caught the heart of the event and the surrounding issues from a number of different angles: serious, comedic, absolute disbelief, absolute confirmation of what many outside of America have known for years.
There are way too many good ones to share, but these are some of the standout tweets and images i saw which give some kind of understanding and context to last night’s events.
One of the biggest takeaways from last night was the commentary on the difference in police response when protesters are majority black and when they are majority white and we have seen this in the way stories are reported, in the words and terms used when discussing black and white crime, in the photographs accompanying stories of black or white people who have committed a crime and more. Whiteness and white supremacy are ideologies that are so powerful and so entrenched in world and especially American media and as one person commented, “White supremacy is not the shark, it is the water.”
There seemed to be a lot of shock and surprise being registered by many [white] Americans as if this was something new they were seeing for the first time, but from African Americans and many of us across the rest of the world, this was not a surprising thing:
No, America, take it from the rest of the world, this really is who you are
Let there be no confusion about this: this is Trump’s legacy. This is what he has enabled and inspired. This is what he meant by “Make America Great Again”. This is white supremacy. This is the right wing. This is terrorism.
In the midst of absolute chaos and the threat and fear of violence you sometimes just need to also hold on to a sense of humour to avoid being overwhelmed. What is amazing about the Twitterer as a space is that you get the serious and the chaotic and the conspiracy and the humour all mixed up together and so you can get a feel of what is going on, but also take a moment to appreciate the lighter side of the story. Coming upp for air as it were. And these are some the tweets that did this for me:
It’s only a coup if it comes from the Coup region of France. Otherwise it’s just sparkling white privilege.
Sadly, the Angela Merkel one i discovered a little later is from a parody account [the @ should be a clue!} but it is still so much of greatness…
What happened was not funny. It was absolutely terrifying. But it was not surprising to those of us who have watched the past four years play out and even the general story before then. The idea of a “Make America Great again!” slogan is completely flawed because America was never great in the first place – not for First Nations people who lived there, not for African Americans or refugees, not for Mexicans and various other countries America has had conflict with [directly or indirectly] and not for “Shithole countries” like South Africa which has often in so many ways taken its lead from this nation which we put on a pedestal as if they were somehow great and worth emulating.
We don’t take joy in what happened. We do hope that it opened eyes that needed to be open [but suspect many will remain shut as there are signs that this is already being blamed on antifa by some or played down by others – the Donald Trump video in which he told the mob to go home peacefully but also affirmed who they were and said he loved them was completely telling]. We hope, at the same time, that here in South Africa we can look in the mirror and know that a lot of what we witnessed echoed a lot of what is going on back at home [either out in the open or behind closed whatsapp messages].
Last night will be looked on as some kind of pivotal point in history and the next few days, months and years will determine just how much it meant. Here are some final tweets that give a range of different kinds of commentary on what happened:
Remember: white supremacy is not a shark. It is the water.
Some of us are old enough to remember when peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors were tear gassed near the White House so that Trump could have his bible toting photo op. But today, this cabal is allowed to storm the House Chamber without resistance in an act of domestic terror.
Brett Fish is a lover of life, God, tbV [the beautiful Valerie] and owns the world's most famous stuffed dolphin, No_bob (who doesn't bob). He believes that we are all responsible for making the world a significantly better place for everyone.