by Jackson Chenault
Wednesday, a frightful scene played out on Capitol Hill. But a backdrop must first be set. On July 4, 1776 a momentous day to all Americans, the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Second Continental Congress, the birth of this wonderful nation we live in. A date less known to the American populace is July 14, 1789. The French celebrate it as Bastille Day. Following years of oppression and underrepresentation, the Parisian people rose up. They stormed the Bastille, a fortress turned prison, trying to find gunpowder and weapons. They overwhelmed the guard and their commander Bernard-Renè de Launay. They tried to negotiate at first, but things went slowly. The impatient working class began to fire on the Bastille. Knowing he couldn’t hold off any sort of extended siege, Launay tried to negotiate surrender, but the drawbridge fell. Democracy in its ugliest form surged into the fortress. Launay was slaughtered along with six of his men, and the revolutionaries gained a momentum that would not be stopped until the blood of the aristocracy stained the ground, and young Louis XVI’s head rolled.
This scene has played out across the world. In 1917 Russia, 1922 in Italy, 1946 in China, 1989 in the USSR. Not the storming of an important building. A revolution. Not always for democracy, but because the government did not please this group or that. It may be the popular opinion, but not always. The one thing that these revolutions, and indeed all revolutions, have in common is the upending of the establishment. The end of the old.
Why tell you this? We have experienced our very own storming of the Bastille, but we have also lived through a silent revolution. No radicals in red berets, though radicals in black helmets did storm the streets. Actually, the silent revolutionaries could have been wearing red berets, we just couldn’t see them from the prison of our homes.
Draconian lockdowns were implemented, while the whirlwind of change swept through the country. Our traditions were outlawed, and our very way of life was upended. Revolution. We sat watching our televisions, some of us even tried to stay informed. But we couldn’t know what was coming for us on November 3. The beast of Instability. On November 3 ballots were cast, and on November 4 many began to doubt the legitimacy of the election. They fought the fight, taking every measure in their power to change it. They failed.
What happened on Capitol Hill was a culmination. It was a dam breaking. It was in so many ways the storming of the Bastille. Four years of claims against the president they loved, ten months of soul-destroying lockdown, two months of accusations about an election, and a deep-seated feeling of betrayal by the leaders of their country. A rally turned violent, and our policemen were beat. Accusations were made, and the windows were shattered. Congress convened, and anarchy reigned. These are the reasons, not excuses, men and women wearing MAGA hats ran amok in the Capitol. I guess I was wrong. The rioters did wear red hats.