Riots in the United States Capitol


photo via NBC News

While it’s no secret that the political climate in America has been escalating for quite some time, I don’t think many expected to see such a clear display of disheartening violence in the Capitol on Jan. 6. I’m personally disgusted with the images emerging from the riots and compiled a list of items, flags and people that should never have been on display in our nation’s capital: 

1. The confederate flag

A piercing reminder of white supremacy and privilege, this flag should never have been flown in the Capitol building. To see this blatantly flaunted in the heart of our government is unnerving and probably quite terrifying for those who have had firsthand experience with racial prejudice. It’s disrespectful to those who fought to keep this country together. I simply don’t understand how anyone can justify parading around with a flag that represents a group that tried to tear the country apart while simultaneously calling themselves a “true American.”

2. Blue lives matter flags

You have to admit, this one is ironic. I’ve seen a few videos of protestors carrying blue live flags while actively attacking police officers. It’s hypocritical to brandish a flag that literally pledges support for the people they’re fighting against. This only proved that for these people it was never actually about supporting law enforcement. In their eyes it isn’t that “blue lives” matter, it’s just that black lives don’t. 

3. A noose and gallows

This was definitely one of the most disturbing images I saw. Multiple people reported hearing rioters discussing hanging Mike Pence and chanting that he should be executed. It’s absolutely disgusting that people (especially those who formerly supported the Vice President) were calling for the death of their elected government official in such a gruesome manner simply because they believe he showed disloyalty to the president. What is this, a cult?

4. Any sort of religious symbol in conjunction with Donald Trump

The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg wrote that “the conflation of Trump and Jesus was a common theme at the rally” among people he interviewed. “It’s all in the Bible. Everything is predicted. Donald Trump is in the Bible. Get yourself ready,” one rioter said. First of all, there’s separation of Church and state for a reason. Second, stop using religious ideology to mistakenly justify violence and hatred. Third, Donald Trump is not God. Isn’t that gravely disrespectful to Christianity to compare any human to God anyways?

5. A “Camp Auschwitz” t-shirt

Robert Keith Packer was pictured on Capitol grounds in a black sweatshirt bearing the words “Camp Auschwitz,” a reference to the Nazi death camp plastered alongside a skull. Packer’s sweatshirt also included the phrase “Work Brings Freedom,” a translation of “Arbeit macht frei,” words which were welded onto an iron arch that hung over one of the gates at the death camp. Over 1.1 million people were killed at that camp. I can’t even begin to explain how disgusting it is to proudly walk around bearing such a blatant symbol of antisemitism and failure of human decency. Not only is this incredibly disrespectful to the memory of victims, but also incredibly troubling and traumatic for survivors and those of Jewish descent. 

I’m embarrassed by the symbols of hatred displayed at the Capitol. This has been broadcast globally, and as an American it makes me sad to know that people across the world may associate the country as a whole with this display of rotten ideals. I pray that I never have to witness an event like this again in my lifetime, and that America as a whole can move past the current political climate to strive for ideals of unity and equality.