Republicans Want to Ignore the Trauma of the Capitol Riot Because Most of Them Are Guilty of Inciting It

I've told this story before, but I'll tell it again. I've had guns pointed at me multiple times. I've been in fights. I've done some weird shit that was dumb and dangerous. None of that made much of an impression on my psyche because I was fairly certain each time that I wasn't going to die. The one thing that sticks with me is one sound: the jiggling of a locked doorknob as someone tried to open the door to the bedroom I was in. No one else was supposed to be in the apartment of my then-partner. But at around 3 in the morning, from the bed, I heard the screen door open and then some prying at the front door and then footsteps and then a pause and then the metal knob being turned. This was before cell phones, and the only landline in the joint was in the living room, so calling the cops was out of the question. I yelled, "Whoever you are, I've got a gun" as, yes, I held in my hand the pistol that my partner kept under her bed, ready to shoot anyone who came through the door. It didn't come to that. They ran away and we discovered the only thing missing was the large knife that we had left on the counter in the mess we intended to clean in the morning. Whoever was there didn't intend to rob. They could have grabbed the TV and a couple of items and had a decent haul. They were there to kill or rape. Ever since that day, I have never felt entirely safe wherever I'm staying. It really is more a feeling. I don't really do that much differently, but I always double-check locks now since the fact that I happened to lock the door that night was potentially the difference between life and death. Or life and me shooting someone. 

That's trauma. That's the way trauma works. I don't like that my behavior changed due to it, but I don't fucking like that it happened and I don't fucking like that I really can't help the way I feel. I don't want to, but I just do. And what happened to me was mild. It's nothing compared to the victims of violent crimes who suffer physical and emotional damage. It's less than nothing compared to sexual assault survivors or war victims or, hell, soldiers, even. Or kids in a school shooting. But this shit stays with you, even if you made it out physically unscathed.

What happened to the members of Congress, their staffs, the building staff, and the police of January 6 was traumatic. I mean, Jesus fuck, imagine being a Democrat as you hear a crazed mob of conspiracy nuts hooting and yelling down the halls, shouting the names of Nancy Pelosi, the Squad, and others, a bunch of violent white people who broke windows and doors, who overwhelmed the Capitol police, who you know are hopped up on calls for them to "Stop the Steal," who have been talking openly about spilling the blood of those who oppose Donald Trump, their leader who gave them permission to make sure that Democrats and turncoat Republican got the message and ordered them to march on the Capitol. Imagine barricading yourself in an office with others, piling furniture against the door, hiding in closets and under desks, hoping that they don't find you, that you just wanted to come to work and do your job as, say, Rep. Ayanna Pressley's chief of staff and now you don't know if you'll get out alive because right outside the door is a literal lynch mob, one that has sent your boss and you a continuous stream of death threats, one that had set up an actual, useable gallows outside your place of work. The legit fear of being killed rewires you.

We don't have to totally imagine it because we're hearing from members and their staff about how they were traumatized by the events of that day, and, really, all the days after with much of the right's reaction to the riot. Conservatives mocked people who said they felt that their lives were in danger, like Tucker "I Always Look Like I'm Trying to Convince You I Didn't Fart" Carlson saying of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, "When the most harrowing thing you've done in life is pass freshman sociology at Boston University, every day is a brand new drama." He sneered that out of his smug, dumb face on January 14, when the Democrat had said that she and her staff had "narrowly escaped death" in the Capitol. 

On Monday, Ocasio-Cortez explained in detail what happened to her on that day, and, yeah, by any measure, it was gut-wrenchingly frightening. She framed the experience of trauma within another trauma she has suffered in her life, a sexual assault, and the PTSD  that comes after that traumatic event. Of course, dickhead conservatives even mocked her for that, as if those who didn't experience any of this have a single fucking right to say how those who did handle it.

Those in Congress who wish to deny that trauma, those who wish for the ones who incited it to go unpunished, those who just want to move on without figuring out why this happened and how to stop it from ever fucking happening again, they are also participants in traumatizing their colleagues and others. And it's easy to see why. Because the nation as a whole is suffering from series of collective traumas, from the pandemic to the economic turmoil to Trump and the Republicans' effort to overturn the 2020 election. 

That last part is key because it's impossible to get over the abject cruelty (and greed) of what the GOP and conservative media did to this already weakened, beaten down country. And they essentially split the country into those who were driven mad believing the election lies and those who were anywhere from worried to shit-scared about what the mad mob would do. And then they fucking did it, and we are merely fortunate that the insurrection wasn't far, far worse than the 5 people who died that day, along with the over 100 injuries to law enforcement and others.

So when a GOP senator says that impeaching and trying Trump is a waste of time, when Republican senators refuse to even entertain the idea of saying that Trump is guilty of inciting the insurrection, what they are revealing is that they know they are guilty, too, with some, like the odious cockmites Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, directly guilty through encouraging the mob prior to the riot. And they can't even excise the garbage Republicans in the House who have doubled down on threats of violence and the overwhelming majority of whom voted to overturn the presidential election. Frankly, if you supported Trump at all during this attempted coup, you are guilty, too.

These motherfuckers can't wish the trauma away. They know that they fucked up, that they finally went too far. And their refusal to accept responsibility does continuing damage to not just the Congress, but to the country as a whole. We are all the victims of the GOP.