You're not in the same country now. It will never be the America you grew up in again - now that far right fanatics or fascists invaded our Capitol building, walking in and walking out.
On Wednesday Donald Trump, obsessed with overturning the election result, incited a belligerent rabble to attack one of the nation's most august seats of government.
Targeting senior government figures for banana republic style retribution and worse, within hours of the violent insurrection that followed left bloodstains, bullet holes and bodies piling up in the home of the U.S. Legislature - and the sheer scale of the attack is still only coming to light.
Cameras recorded the Capitol building as it lay smoking and breached, with laptops, iPads, phones and government records – and even a speakers podium – stolen in the failed but violent coup d'etat.
The scale of the ruination, to the building, the rule of law, the nation's global standing has left few any doubt why it happened or who is to blame. This was weaponized white grievance of the kind that first propelled Trump to office.
But this time it was even more sinister. The same white nationalist arrows that went up in Charlottesville in 2017 came down on the United States Capitol Building on January, 6 2021. But these were not "very fine people" these were fanatics or fascists.
Since Trump handily lost the election in November he has recklessly tried to sow doubts in his supporters minds about the honesty of the outcome, creating what his administration famously called “alternative facts” and even an “alternative reality” for his supporters to live in.
The wages of this mass delusion could be seen clearly on Wednesday as the dumb show hurtled towards it violent and hopefully final conclusion.
Like a lot of people I have felt anger at the grotesque insurrection Trump incited on Wednesday, but underneath that I discovered that I am feeling grief.
I feel grief at the theft of nation's peace and well-being, grief over this four year long heist that has resulted in the coarsening of our politics, the elevation of the far right, half the nations near indifference to a lethal pandemic and now a failed authoritarian power grab that turned our democracy on its head.
“During the Civil War, the Confederate Army never reached the Capitol... Two days ago, a man walked through the halls of gov’t bearing the flag of a group of people who had seceded from the United States and gone to war against it.” @ClintSmithIII https://t.co/oyAF0lY9EQ— adam harris (@AdamHSays) January 8, 2021
You may be justifiably experiencing some of that grief yourself now. Nothing like this has happened in centuries, after all. For the sake of the nation Trump must be arrested, questioned, impeached (again), removed from office, and barred from ever holding public office.
But I have so many questions about what we all witnessed. Who for example erected the gallows and the giant cross outside the Capitol building? Would they have attempted to hang Vice President Pence as they chanted they wanted to?
Who was the man photographed in full military combat gear carrying multiple police zip lock handcuffs? What would have happened if that sinister man and others like him had found the leaders they were desperately searching for like Vice President Mike Pence, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer? Would a hostage situation have developed? Would more blood have been spilled?
Why did some Capitol Police officers stand back, permitting the invasion to progress? Why did some of them pose for selfies or even direct the crowd toward the Capitol gates or the senators offices?
I never want to hear about respect for police officers from Republican lawmakers again.January 8, 2021
Why did the bravery of most officers contrast with the obvious wink and nod support for the insurrection shown by others? How safe are our lawmakers (and the other brave officers) when such officers patrol?
From a national security standpoint, who stole Nancy Pelosi's laptop? What kind of security breach does that signify? How could that have been permitted to occur?
Insurrectionists hoisted the Confederate flag in the Capitol building on Wednesday. They see their insurrection as ongoing. They are doing cartwheels and victory laps on far right and white supremacist forums this weekend.
They were allowed to walk in and walk out. They have openly resolved to return again and this time kill the people they were prevented from killing. So this isn't over for them, this is only the start. They are emboldened, not cowed.
These are the same people that Donald Trump ordered to trash our democracy. You may not want to live in a time where fascists are increasingly gunning for a confrontation with wider America, but we are where we are.
The real tragedy, the saddest fact of all, is that our own American president has encouraged and led us toward this confrontation - and the people he has used most have fallen for it.