This Is America, And We Can No Longer Deny It

Harrison Hamm
3 min readJan 7, 2021
The attempted coup at the Capitol should make us realize some difficult truths.

In an attempt to overturn a free and fair election, supporters of Donald Trump invaded the U.S. Capitol building on Wednesday. They walked through unimpeded, waving confederate flags and breaking windows. A woman was shot and killed. Trump put out a half-assed call for peace, then later expressed outright support for the domestic terrorists.

The country watched on live TV as the complicity of the police in the country’s ills was laid bare. After months of protests in which the police instigated violence against Black Lives Matter advocates, a large group of white fascists escaped with barely any arrests, and not a hint of brutality.

We also learned that the United States, which spends exorbitant amounts of taxpayer dollars on national defense rather than directly helping people, has no ability to protect its most cherished government buildings. At the very least, they conspicuously fall short when it’s disgruntled white crazies pursuing terrorism rather than Black people pursuing rights.

Wednesday’s events will not change the outcome of the presidential election. Joe Biden won and will be inaugurated on January 20. But this country just witnessed the clearest, most direct threat on its democracy since the Civil War, and there is no end in sight. A large group of people in this country have been hoodwinked so far beyond reality that we’ve reached the point of no return. Trump’s coalition of people is here to stay, and they are obviously militant. The Republican Party will enable any threats to democracy as long as they keep getting elected.

We have to accept that this is who we are as a country. Many of the responses to the chaos from moderate politicians, most notably Biden, were based on sentiments of “America is better than this” and “we can rebound.” Uh, no, we are not, and we cannot. We are not better than this. We will get nowhere until we accept that.

This country’s history is filled with what we saw on Wednesday: disregard for the truth, support for demagogues, violent white supremacist militancy, and opposition to change that helps anyone but the privileged majority.

That’s a cynical approach to American history, I will admit. I don’t deny the progress and change that has occurred, and there is certainly…