We are all shocked and saddened, even angered, by the events that transpired on Wednesday at the Capitol. It still seems so surreal that it was something that happened here, in the United States.
I know everyone is being lectured about not being surprised by what happened because this is who we are as a nation and this is how it always has been, with which I agree wholeheartedly.
That being said, it still needs to be okay that we felt shocked and upset by it. I know I was. To be completely honest, as naïve as it sounds, there was still that little part of me that believed that it would never get to this point. Perhaps it needed to happen so people who felt the way I did could see that it is possible?
I was at work when it happened. Teaching makes it difficult to stay on top of what’s happening in the world. I feel like I’m in a little cave for 9 hours so when I come home I’m bombarded by headlines. However, this day, I was getting texts from people and my NY Times app kept blowing up my phone. So, after I taught my lesson and got the kids started on their assignment, I sat at my desk, looked at my phone, saw the messages and pictures, and immediately my heart dropped.
This image was the first I saw. Some garbage person standing at the dais, with their fist raised triumphantly. I could not believe what I was seeing.
Immediately, I got scared. I kept telling myself not to cry because that’s what I do when I’m scared. So I kept taking deep breaths to calm myself down. I looked at my students as they were working, chatting amongst each other, and jamming to my classroom playlist, and thought, What do I do? How do I keep calm so they don’t sense that something has gone terribly, terribly wrong in the world?
When I got home, I sat on the couch and watched it all unfold — stunned and speechless.
Everyone had an opinion about it. Talking heads were saying all kinds of things, most of which I agreed with. However, one thing I noticed many people saying was that this was just 2020 continuing to wreak havoc on our lives.
Of all the things being said out there, this was the one I disagreed with the most.
I don’t think that what happened this week was 2020 rearing its ugly head again. I believe what happened this week NEEDED to happen. This was rock bottom. This was the no good, terrible, very bad thing that needed to happen.
In my opinion, I thought rock bottom was this past summer, during the BLM protests when that orange maniac stood in front of the church with the Bible raised in his small hands. I thought that was the turning point; that was the moment that would change the course of the world. I mean, how much lower could this possibly go? He was disrespectfully, defiantly, and with no regard or respect, lifting up the Word of God in front of the House of God. Why we weren’t seeing lightning strike him dead at that very moment is beyond me. But, it didn’t change anything. It somehow got worse every day. It was like we hit bottom, only to see that there were miles and miles of crap still to get through after that.
But this event? This failed coup attempt? This could be the beginning of the end. This could be the bottom that we’ve been waiting to hit. I say “could be” because we still have 11 days left with him, and we still have to deal with the aftermath of these events, so there’s no telling what could happen. However, I do believe it’s almost burned down to the ground. We just have to wait it out.
When people lose property or businesses to fires, we always hear them say, “We will rebuild bigger and better than ever.” I think that we need to have the same mentality now. Everything we thought we knew and believed is now up in flames and we are watching it burn to the ground. It’s scary, unsettling, uncomfortable, and unnerving, but when the fire is out, and the smoke clears, there is hope for a new day, a new beginning.
Sometimes we have to tear things down. Sometimes we have to be forced to start all over again. Sometimes we have to hit ctrl + alt + delete and restart. Rebuilding and starting over from scratch is never easy or comfortable. It’s painful and takes a lot of work, but ultimately, the end result is worth it.
As Usher sings, “You gotta let it burn.”
That’s the place where I find myself on this personal journey as well. I’ve begun the uncomfortable work of burning down everything I believed and what I was comfortable with. Now, I am left with no choice but to face the ugly truths about myself, find healing, and work on the potential of something better waiting for me.
I think that for us as a country, too. I believe this country can be better than this and that we can be good, fair, and equal. But, events such as the ones that happened this past week had to force us to face the ugly truth — that we are far from any of that.
So now, let it burn all the way down. Then we begin the work of starting over and discovering the best of ourselves and the potential we have as a people and a country.