On Jan. 6, just two weeks before my birthday and two weeks before Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were to be sworn in as the United States’ new president and vice president, members of Congress gathered in the United States Capitol to officially cast the electoral ballots needed to solidify Biden and Harris’ win of the 2020 Presidential election.
However, things took a turn for the worse when thousands of Trump supporters, many whom had flown from other parts of the country, stormed the Capitol in an attempt to overturn the election that former President Donald Trump claimed was a fraud.
During the attempted coup, members of Congress were forced into a lock-down as the rioters entered the Capitol, stole items such as Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern, threatened the lives of members of Congress and much more.
However, their efforts were in vain, as the members of Congress came back together and worked until 3 a.m. the next morning to cast the electoral votes.
By the time the violence died down, five people were dead, with at least two police officers committing suicide as a result and dozens more injured.
This is one of the first instances that I can say I was genuinely scared of what was going on. I was scared for my family, who all voted for Biden in the election and have close family and friends that are strong supporters of Trump. I was scared for my dad, who went on his weekly nighttime bike ride that evening and has been spat at before for being Asian. I was scared for my community, since I live only about 30 minutes away from Washington D.C. It was undeniable; I was scared.
What happened that day was a riot. It was an attempted coup, but most importantly, it was an act of domestic terrorism.
Thousands of people entered the Capitol with a plan to hurt these members of Congress. There were photos taken of rioters in the Senate chambers with zip ties in hand, willing to kidnap and potentially harm any member Congress that dared oppose them.
A young woman was able to locate her mother, aunt and uncle among the crowds and criticized them for attending when they banned her from attending Black Lives Matter protests.
An American flag hanging from the side of the Capitol building was torn off and replaced with by rioters with a Trump flag. Attendees donned flags bearing Nazi swastikas and Blue Lives Matter. Seeing all of the photos and news emerge from this scenario made me sick to my stomach.
Those who tried to defend the riot claimed it was much more peaceful than the Black Lives Matter protests that have been going on for months. While I in no way condone looting, I can say that the Black Lives Matter protests did not have an end goal of overtaking the government or killing people.
As a quote I read once said, “The same people that said, ‘You lost, get over it’ during the 2016 election stormed the Capitol because they lost, but they couldn’t get over it.”
The past four years have left our country more divided than ever, and this riot helped confirm that. We are supposed to be the United States of America, but right now, we’re anything but united.