Gryffin

United States

Message to Readers

"Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
- John Adams, Founding Father and 2nd President of the United States of America

Shot

January 6, 2021

FREE WRITING

3
My face is filled with disbelief. My hands tremble, and before I can stop myself, the phone tumbles out of my hand. It lies, face-up, fixed on a single block of text.

Mob Breaches Capitol.

But before I can grasp the situation, before the enormity of the situation descends upon me, the phone vibrates, and another notification pops up. Police guarding the Capitol; Lawmakers Evacuate, it reads.

I don’t pick it up. Or maybe I do. But I can’t remember. It happens so fast, dozens of beeps and pages springing up on the tiny device, pushing me closer to the brink of despair as I sat, pretty and poised, in my nice suburban home.

This can’t be happening, I thought in that peculiar way people do when something overwhelms them so completely. This can’t be happening. This can’t be happening... 

It felt unreal, something that you saw in a satire or an SNL skit. But the truth was facing me mere feet below me. The Capitol, the building that housed hundreds of officials and lawmakers, including the Vice President, was attacked.

It was perhaps the most bizarre and utterly defeating thing that had happened so far.

2020 had been full of surprises, but for me, some things seemed inevitable. The COVID-19 outbreak in America was due to  a lack of oversight and negligence on the part of our government. The Black Lives Matter protests were a result of decades of strained relationships between races in the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement.

And to an extent, maybe this was as well. People could only push democracy and degrade our voting systems and strain our faith in the government so far until something cracked.

And it did, literally.

The next headline came up while I was in class, having temporarily pushed the news to the back of my mind as I buried myself in work. I picked up my phone, not knowing any better, and I went still.

Someone had been shot. They were in critical condition, the article read. A gallery of photos was below it. Numbly, forgetting where I was, forgetting the computer that was all I had to show for my education, I clicked through it. My heart sunk lower with every photo. Confederate flags decorated the halls. Offices were turned upside and down and vandalized for all to see. Congressmen huddled together, their faces shaking with fear. Guns trained on a halfway-open door.  And most sickening of all, a protestor taking a selfie with a police member.

I hated that word. I hated how the press, the politicians, people called them protestors when only weeks ago activists marched down the streets and they were called rioters. Pro-Trump supporters could storm the bastion of our government and essentially commit treasons, and they got to take selfies. But peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors got gassed and rubber bullets shot at them. They got to be defiled by conservative media and receive death threats. If it was them breaching the Capitol, they would’ve been slaughtered within minutes, and their blood would have soaked the streets.

It was white privilege at its finest.

As a teenager, it’s in our status quo to be dramatic and overemotional. But this was, and still is, different. I am angry. I am hurt. I am shocked. I love my country, but the people hanging Confederate flags in our Capitol aren’t patriots. They are tearing the fabric of our democracy, spurned and incited by a vengeful President who lives in an alternate reality and his mindless goons that have infiltrated every sector and level of our government.

This is a failure of America and our democracy on a cosmic level. Our founding fathers would have been horrified to see the chaos unfolding, but there is nothing that I can do as a high schooler falling down the dangerous path of doom scrolling.

I thought of that word again. Protestor. 
The word stung my mind like sharp, corrosive bile, filling me with a crackling fire. These weren’t protests. This was a coup. This was terrorism. Each thought filled me with more and more heat until I couldn’t move. The teacher’s words, filtered through the static of their computer, drowned in the buzz that filled my ears. I felt like one of those cartoon characters with steam pouring out of my ears. Finally, with deep breaths and shaking hands, I opened up a tab on my computer and began to type.

There are two emotions that people react to best, my father had said years ago after the results of the 2016 election. I could still see the gray in his beard and hair, even from the darkness of closed eyes. darkness and hate.

I had laughed him off back then, when I was still young and naïve, too busy with the drama of middle school to care about politics. I had thought that the election was a fluke, and not without a little annoyance, that people were overreacting. He couldn’t be that  bad.

But now I knew. Now I knew.




 
No joke, I wrote this in class and didn't touch it again for three hours. That's how scared I was. Scared of the country we are becoming. Scared that Georgia won't be enough to fix our problems.

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  • January 6, 2021 - 5:55pm (Now Viewing)

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4 Comments
  • Gryffin

    Aww thank you all. I legit didn’t come back to this until weeks later and I was so scared of the response. But you guys are so kind. Loves and kisses <33


    30 days ago
  • memorabilia

    This piece rings with truth and I'm so, so glad you wrote it. Thank you <3


    about 2 months ago
  • Zinniav

    This is so powerful and extraordinarily well-written. I have always been a bit dis-enchanted with America, but I grew up believing that our democracy was untouchable. And I am shocked to see how it;s crumbling.


    about 2 months ago
  • Paisley Blue

    :( my heart is breaking for our country. this is not what should be happening. this is not okay.
    praying for you, for us all <3


    about 2 months ago