The events of yesterday were horrifying.
My early life was spent on Capitol Hill working for our nation’s Congress, and it is a place I deeply love. Watching the Capitol Hill Police be overrun by a mob as they tried to shield the doors with their bodies brought me to tears. Receiving texts from friends and former colleagues to say they were “safe” or “sheltering in place” broke my heart.
Today is not a day for talking about fashion, especially on a blog where so much of the readership works on the Hill and in government. Today is a day to reflect on our political discourse and what actions our words can incite.
To my D.C. and Capitol Hill readers, I hope you are safe, even if you are shaken. Reach out for help if you need it. ❤️
There’s just really nothing else to say.
May God Bless America and help us heal our nation.
Heather Edwards says:
I was baffled by what happened, on many levels. I used to work at the White House (in a non-political role in a prior administration) and did many events in the Capitol, working closely with the security team. I heard from former colleagues who now work full time inside the Capitol and were sheltered in place watching it transpire on camera feeds. Thankfully the hard working patriots working there are okay and were able to get back to work last night. As someone who dedicated years to preserving Continuity of Government it was appalling to see the events of last night transpire.
I couldn’t agree more–yesterday’s events were horrifying (even if not all that surprising, given the last 4+ years). I thought instantly of the staffers and the press who were there just trying to do their jobs. How truly terrifying for them.
I’d recommend folks listen to this morning’s edition of NYT’s the Daily podcast–it has real time reporting from inside an elected official’s bathroom as they were sheltering in place. You can even hear the eerie whirring of the gasmasks capital police distributed. It was absolutely chilling.
Alexandria Knox says:
Yesterday was extremely heartbreaking. Capitol Hill to me was always a place of inspiration, integrity, and honor. Yesterday made me want to give up politics, but I know that it is up to us young people to make a difference and bring positive change. We need to come together and heal as a country. We need to put partisanship aside.
“Come together”? “Put partisanship aside?” That wasn’t partisanship. That was a coup led by extremists who have been carefully cultivated and encouraged by this administration. Shame on members of the GOP who have been silent until now.
Shannon Cary says:
I agree. I have no respect for any Republicans who will not call out Trump, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, and the others who have perpetuated the lie of voter fraud in the 2020 election. It is Republicans who caused this, not Democrats. I have respect for Abra, but I would really like to hear how she thinks the Republicans can possibly move forward as a party when their members have encouraged Trump’s lies to the point that they encouraged an attack on our Capitol.
In complete agreement. All the talk about not dividing the country is misplaced. I definitely do want to be divided from people who would violently overthrow the government of the county that I love and want those who support them removed from office. The line has been drawn and I am not on their side.
In the aftermath of a horrifying day, last night I kept thinking about the thoughtful young staffers who saved the state certifications. About how they must have been so young and so scared and still kept their heads and did the right thing. And today, when the photos were released of the staffers escorting the boxes. They were in fact young. And they were women. (and they were very stylishly dressed – Capitol Hill Style readers perhaps?) In any case, my deepest thanks to them and the work they do each day to make our government actually govern.
There were many who kept their heads. These young people are inspirational
I’m struggling to work today, and my job has nothing to do with politics or the Hill.
That being said, I try to choose optimism (as per my therapist) and I see this as a turning point. A good one. I’ve always viewed political beliefs as a bell curve—with the bulk of us falling somewhere middle-adjacent. Unfortunately, over the last several years the curve has *appeared* to invert. I think the events of yesterday, however terrifying, are going to change the course of our country. Trump 100 percent fueled this, and has for years. I am watching those republicans who chose party over principles, and while the Trump presidency may be over, the fallout for those enablers is not.
Belle – “Horrifying” is the right word. As a former Capitol Hill resident (12 years, and now in close-in MD ‘burbs) it was terrible to watch my old neighborhood overtaken by these violent riots.
Even worse, my husband is Capitol Police and basically fought hand-to-hand combat along with many other women and men officers for several hours trying to take back the Capitol from the rioters. My daughter and I watched these scenes yesterday afternoon in absolute disbelief. Now 4 people are dead and a number injured, and over what? My husband lost is mask also right away too and so will need to sleep in the guest room and hoping he doesn’t come down with COVID (they still have no idea when they will be getting the vaccine).
On the positive side, it gave me hope to hear so many leaders from both parties strongly condemn these actions. And it was amazing seeing the staffers, members of the media, elected officials, and law enforcement keep their cool and do their jobs under these extraordinary and violent circumstances. Here is to a peaceful transfer of power and a happier and healthier 2021 for all of us.
How horrifying, and I’m so glad he’s OK for now. Praying he doesn’t get COVID.
I’m so sorry. I can only imagine the grief and trauma you, your husband, and your daughter are feeling right now. Storytelling can be helpful, and if you/your husband are ever ready to share, I’m sure this community would lend an ear. Be well.
I am so sorry for what you went for. I hope you and your family come up negative for COVID. I hope this is the last time this happens.
This is genuinely a question out of curiosity and I hope you understand why I’m wondering. I’m not discounting the trauma you and your family went through on Wednesday. I am sympathetic to that and am sorry that you had to go through that.
I was just wondering why your husband only engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the white rioters while police officers were seen as being very quick to shoot and automatically deploy more aggressive responses during the BLM protests?
Hello Codi – IMO the two events are not exactly the same (please remember I am not law enforcement – I am a technical writer). The BLM protests involved the National Guard brought in advance (remember the DC National Guard reports to the Army Secretary and this past summer the NG was activated by the President). What I assume you are referring to is the June 1st incident where tear gas and rubber bullets were fired at the protesters near the White House prior to curfew and right before he did the ridiculous photo opportunity at St. John’s. There are also large differences in the timelines. And not making any excuses here.
This past Wed., DC Metro Police were primarily at the White House during the rally. NG was near the White House per the City’s request. It is not clear to me what happened with the Capitol PD’s request for National Guard support, but there are rumors it either came late and / or was denied and then when it did come it was 4 hours after the request (and now there is just lots of finger pointing between CP, DC, and the Pentagon). In general, and as is obvious, there was a huge lack of resources, planning and leadership.
The Cap Police’s main job was to evacuate and protect Congress, and de-escalation. Most of the officers focused on safely evacuating those inside the Capitol. The entrances were probably not staffed as heavily as they should have been due to staffing resources.
When I use the term hand-to-hand combat, I obviously don’t mean just their actual hands. They used sticks, batons, physical force, and tried to put wrist ties on as many as they could once it was clear Congress was in the process of being secured. They were also looking for explosive devices, which were found (RNC, DNC). At one point, my husband said they had lost their sticks and starting using fire extinguishers, spraying the rioters. They did use tear gas, but I don’t think they had rubber bullets. The rioter who was shot and died was shot when she presented herself as an imminent threat to Members of Congress (as she was climbing into the House Chamber).
So this happened this morning: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-election-2020/trump-capital-rnc-meeting-riots-b1784028.html
Nothing about the violence yesterday (and the Capitol Police’s “unprepared-ness”) was unanticipated. GOP leaders needed an irrefutable excuse to break with Trump and letting him incite rioters to violence was a way to get that excuse. The fact that despite the riots, Hawley, Cruz, and several others still went forward with their objections was only mildly surprising. And Trump still being cheered by the RNC as a hero should be entirely expected. I am grateful for Romney, McCain and others who have spoken up against Trump; we need those folks inside the GOP. But more conservatives need to speak up to their elected officials and make them uncomfortable enough to actually act.
I agree completely. As comforted as I was by some of the GOP Senators speeches last night, I just kept waiting for someone to call out, by name, Cruz, Hawley, or the 100 Republican Members of Congress who, mere hours after the Capitol was sieged and shot, continued to perpetuate the lie than any election fraud was committed. Or of course, Trump. Vaguely distancing themselves, as Graham tried to do, isn’t going to be enough. There needs to be full condemnation, and it needs to happen now.
I feel violated. I feel anxious and unable to focus.
Jenn S. says:
I agree with this sentiment. It is hard to concentrate on work.
I am in the same boat. I live close enough that the DC curfew applied to me as well. My family and I are still a bit traumatized. Sending healing energy your way.
This feels like a dumb question, but I’m sure many readers here know the answer: is it more effective to call senators and congressmen during business hours, or do voicemails left after hours count just as much?
I’m horrified by what happened and want to do whatever I can, rather than just sit on the sidelines and be silently horrified.