Double Standard


John Minchillo

Pro-Trump mob rushes the Capitol building in Washington D.C. on January 6th, 2021.

Paola Cortazar, Opinion Editor

“Double Standard”

“No one can tell me if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter 

protesters yesterday, they would have been treated differently,”

– President-Elect Joe Biden 

As Inauguration Day gets closer and closer, President Trump’s supporters refuse to allow U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s smooth transition into office. Inexplicably excusing themselves upon what they claim to be a “rigged” election, Trump supporters took it upon themselves to riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

Taken as a threat to America and democracy as a whole, the double standard has become inevitably clear when comparing the rundown of events from BLM (Black Lives Matter) and the attack on Capitol Hill. Ironically, pro-Trump Capitol Hill rioters presided over the officers and all forms of authority as they stormed their way into the Capitol, yet peaceful BLM protesters were put to face all authority and punishments. According to the CNN article “On these 9 days, police in DC arrested more people than they did during the Capitol siege” by Elliott C. McLaughlin, only 61 arrests were made as a result of the Capitol Hill riots. Whereas on June 1st of 2020, 316 people were arrested from the Black Lives Matter protests, a protest that was meant to be kept peaceful yet military helicopters and National Guard troops made an unwanted and unnecessary appearance. Meanwhile, when a chaotic riot took place with armed intruders trying to get into our country’s Capitol, the idea of using force upon the intruders is being questioned. 

The consequences of the armed intrusion to the Capitol of the United States seemingly had little to no consequences for the criminals with the whitest of skin. The crimes carried out were super extreme, such as the vandalization of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, suspected pipe bombs brought in, and rioters bearing arms against the police. These heinous crimes are incomparable to say, fighting for human rights, a better life in a new country, or fighting the oppression of an entire religion. Sadly enough, the people behind Black Lives Matters, the immigrant children detained in cages, and those who underwent a “Muslim ban” felt the wrath of America’s systemic racism and took a hit much larger than a bunch of armed and privileged white men breaking into the Capitol of the United States. 

Trump supporters made their way past security, unbelievably breaching through all forms of authority. Congressmen and women went on lockdown, into protected isolation, placing all measures into staying safe. Weirdly enough, amidst a global pandemic, some of the politicians within the isolation room refused to wear masks, resulting in later consequences, such as exposure to COVID-19. Testing positive for coronavirus after being placed into lockdown, U.S. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman’s office statement claimed that “number of members within the space ignored instructions to wear masks.” Truly, face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic have unexpectedly become a political statement. People failed to consider the safety of others in a way that could have been completely avoided, putting everyone at risk of an illness. It is not that hard to put a mask on, especially when there is no other option between being stuffed in a room full of people or not.  

A video surfaced of a single black officer attempting to lead away from a whole crowd of angry rioters away from the senate chamber. Officer Eugene Goodman was made to face off a mob of dozens of rioters with a flimsy baton. On the other hand, some of the Capitol’s Police were seen to be placing barricades aside while on video, and one even took a selfie amidst the crowd. The fact that the National Guard was nowhere to be seen and was rejected days before this extreme series of events leaves a lot to be expected of the authorities in charge of Capitol Hill. So much so that the U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund resigned after the criticism of his response to the riots. 

President Trump’s response to the entire situation not only showed his incapability in having led our country as a president, but it shows his willingness to put all his efforts into getting what he wants, even if it means dividing the country’s people in half. Trump only spoke out to his supporters at Capitol Hill after being pressured to do so by the media, being the one to have instigated the entire series of events after his “Save America March”. Though likely not meant to be responded to in the way his supporters did so, President Trump stated, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness..” 

In President Trump’s initial message to the rioters, he had told them to “go home,” as everyone expected him to do so. However, he did not sell himself short on praising his supporters and justifying their actions by claiming that, “we had an election that was stolen from us.” A day later, he corrected himself in a new video addressing the situation due to backlash and continuing to shame those who took part in the act. Trump’s true intentions were clear enough with the first video published. Social networking service, Twitter, further suspended President Trump’s account after the publication of his videos and tweets following the events of Capitol Hill. 

At the end of the day, the events that occurred at Capitol Hill should not have even been a thought in a million years. Disrespecting America’s history and our country’s democracy in such a remarkable way should have never been allowed. When the roles were reversed in June of 2020, as Black Lives Matter protests occurred in D.C., television station WUSA9 states,

“U.S. Park Police officers used grenade-launched chemical irritants and DC Police employed military crowd control tactics to corral and arrest protesters. Unmarked Bureau of Prisons riot control officers were deployed. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter was even used to try to disperse a crowd.”

Ultimately, what I fail to comprehend from the rundown of what happened at Capitol Hill is the authority’s lack of response to the armed mobs breaking in. Police presence was sparse, especially when compared to other events. Arrests stay at an incredibly low number as police work to find the leaders within the mob. It is hard to imagine what the outcome would have been if the people in the crowd were of a different race.