“The world is watching and laughing at us” — I made this phrase a drinking game on Wednesday as I, with the rest of the world, watched the United States once again, well, you know what happened.
News anchors recite that line whenever they comment on the civil unrest across the country. Last year, it was a nightly quote for almost two weeks when images of rioters and looters were broadcast around the world after the death of George Floyd.
As this week’s fatal scene played out outside and inside the U.S. Capitol, it had commentators and onlookers wondering how an unruly mob was able to overtake a federal building.
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In my hometown of Winnipeg, liquor stores have tighter security than the D.C. Capitol. Seriously. It is tougher for me to go in and buy a bottle of vodka than it is to gain access to a legislative building in Washington.
In Winnipeg, the main door outside of liquor stores is locked and customers need to be buzzed in by security on the other side of an inside door. Understand? Security is so tight that there is two sets of locked doors and a guard behind thick glass ID’ing people before they can enter a retail store. A retail store. Not a federal lawmaking building. A booze shop.
The American security breach is another example of how governments are unprepared for the, well, I can’t even call it “unexpected” because we later heard elected officials say they predicted the unrest happening.
Coronavirus showcased exactly how governments around the world were not ready for anything that could happen. You could argue that it would be impossible for any government to forecast a disaster and react with 100 per cent success every time. But we hear all the time that law enforcement and militaries have training exercises to respond to acts of terrorism, natural disasters, etc. You would expect this to be one of the rehearsed roleplays when it comes to the safety of the U.S. Capitol. Apparently not.
The local mayor called a 6 p.m. curfew that was not enforced, with thousands of people still mingling about the Capitol, fully illustrating how little power the government had/has. The mayor might as well have said it was for “6ish” and encouraged people to get home as quickly as possible. On the scene, they had local authorities, federal authorities – including the FBI – patrolling, yet the streets were still packed with people two hours after the curfew.
When you allow the mob to occupy the spaces they should have vacated, they call your bluff and thumb their nose at the rule. I am not saying the curfew was a right or wrong move, I am saying by not enforcing it showed that the rioters had the upper hand. It is safe to say the curfew did sweet fuck all, just as it did last year when people destroyed cities across the country during the Floyd protests day after day after day after day.
Elsewhere, Pres. Trump came under fire for his response (or lack thereof) to the events that played out. Hour after hour, cable news commentators pointed fingers at Trump, suggesting he incited domestic terrorism. It led to Trump being banned from Twitter for 12 hours and Facebook for 24 hours. I predict that once Trump gets his social media access back that he will lash out at the various platforms and threaten legal action for being silenced. Wait for it. Just wait for it.
The temporary Trump ban prompted an outcry from people who said they have been blocked from posting on Facebook for much longer because they showed a bit too much skin in a selfie. So, a little nudity gets you thrown in “Facebook jail” for longer than Trump who encouraged violence amongst his citizens.
I am intrigued how people immediately jump and do what Trump says. It is one thing to respect authority, it is another to be a brainless sheep and act like you are hypnotized to do what someone tells you. The power that he has is undeniable. Though it is concerning he has such a hold on people.
I respect my mom, but just because she says I “should” do something, does not mean I instantly do it. I might give it some thought and consideration but I will ultimately make my own decision. She is my mom, she is not my keeper. I have not lived with her for 13 years. I am her son, not her child. Those are two different things. Just as a president is someone of authority, you still need to think for yourself and process your own actions.
This is where I have never understood the power of celebrity — or the latest term “influencer.” Because they say so, it must be so. Bleh. To me, that sounds like someone who can swindle or brainwash people. So, you are rich and famous — who cares? Does that mean I should immediately believe anything you say? We often hear about celebrities using their platform to be role models since people look up to them. I have always found that to be bullshit. Just because a star says one thing, does not make it the right thing.
Midway through December, I groaned every time I heard or read someone wishing 2020 would quickly come to an end. I applaud the optimism that 2021 would magically be different with the snap of a finger, but the reality is that just because the calendar flipped to another year, it does not mean the problems from yesterday will not follow us.
People cheered when Joe Biden won the election and made it sound like everything would get back to normal on day 1 in office. Do we really think that is likely to happen? Do we really think the Trump mob is suddenly going to disappear just because he is out of office? Or do we see them reacting harder and louder any time they disagree with Pres. Biden?
The whole Wednesday scene once again made outsiders (especially us Canadians) roll our eyes and wonder if the U.S. is a country that wants unity or if it thrives on conflict and doesn’t know any different.