Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Needed A Safe Space, No Literally, Because That One Was Full Of Q Kooks Already
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez thought she was going to die.
Some jerks I won't link to have dismissed the very real threat Congress faced during the Trump-instigated siege on the Capitol, but a violent mob roaming around chant-screaming about hanging people who won't keep their mad king in office isn't just a minor inconvenience.
Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez shared her traumatic experience on January 6 during an Instagram Live chat. She's often compelling and real in this format and yesterday was no exception.
The president, frankly assisted by members of Congress, incited an attack on the United States Capitol. This is known as an act of insurrection, an act of sedition, and frankly he is a traitor to our country. He's a traitor to the United States.
It's debatable whether Donald Trump's incendiary words at the “Stop the Steal" rally legally qualify as incitement, but it's clear that Trump, like a common psychopath, was pleased when the attack took place. He resisted acting to protect Congress members, and this wasn't because he was momentarily paralyzed with shock, like he was in the middle of reading The Pet Goat. He called Republican senators and asked them to delay the electoral vote count. Trump tried to leverage a domestic terrorist attack for his own immediate benefit. The congresswoman is right: This asshole is a traitor.
Ocasio-Cortez said she didn't know if she could fully disclose the details of the “pretty traumatizing event" that happened to her on January 6 for security concerns.
But I can tell you that I had a pretty close encounter where I thought I was going to die. And you have all of those thoughts where, at the end of your life, all of these thoughts come rushing to you. That's what happened to a lot of us on Wednesday. I did not know if I was going to make it to the end of that day alive. Not just in a general sense but in a very, very specific sense.
It should never stop infuriating us that Republicans want to brush a domestic terror attack under the rug because they don't want to offend their voters. This was very nearly a mass casualty event, in the seat of our government, and while Trump watched his self-made snuff film on TV and made a last-ditch effort to overturn a democratic election, terrorized congressional staffers hid under their desks from a deranged mob of his supporters.
Ocasio-Cortez said Congress members were “lucky" that events unfolded within certain minutes that allowed them to escape the House floor unharmed, but “many of us very nearly escaped death." She almost breaks up when she admits that there was a sense that something was wrong “from the inside."
She praised the brave officers who put themselves on the front lines against a white supremacist invasion, but we do know there were Capitol Police officers who were sympathetic to Trump's cause.
To run in the nation's capitol and not know if an officer is there to help you or to harm you is also quite traumatizing.
Ocasio-Cortez said there was a secure “extraction point," a secure room where Congress members gathered during the siege. She confessed that she didn't feel safe there, not just because unmasked Republicans were breathing COVID on everyone, but hiding from white supremacists in a locked room with QAnon kooks and white supremacist sympathizers is a clear “fire into the frying pan" situation.
She didn't trust them. She didn't trust that her colleagues wouldn't disclose her location and allow opportunities for her to be “hurt, kidnapped, etc." (That “etc" is a motherfucker.) Ocasio-Cortez isn't carelessly spilling hot tea. Republicans literally run for office posing with rifles and claiming they will take on Ocasio-Cortez and other liberal congresswomen of color.
These aren't the old days of punch-clock villainy, when liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans might yell at each other about marginal tax rates on the House or Senate floor before sharing a laugh over a cup of coffee in the Capitol cafeteria. The new QAnon Sedition Caucus makes the Tea Party look like, well, a tea party. They are true believers and they believe that Democrats, especially the so-called Squad, are existential threats to what they consider “real America."
Republicans talk about “unity" and “healing" but it's not like they'll stop demonizing the Squad or Democrats in general. They tell half the country that the other half wants to destroy them and they're surprised when the Civil War arrives at their door, wearing a MAGA hat. “Unity" requires conceding not just elections but the essential humanity of Democrats. This seems beyond the capability of an electorate that sends Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene to Washington.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."