A Reporter’s Footage from Inside the Capitol Siege

Commentary

The New Yorker’s Luke Mogelson followed Trump supporters as they forced their way into the Senate chamber.

Many news outlets this morning aired short segments of The New Yorker’s Luke Mogelson’s video following the insurrectionists as they breached the U.S. Capitol building. As The New Yorker article says, “Although the footage was not originally intended for publication, it documents a historic event and serves as a visceral complement to Mogelson’s probing, illuminating report, “Among the Insurrectionists.”

Here’s the full video:

https://www.newyorker.com/news/video-dept/a-reporters-footage-from-inside-the-capitol-siege

And here’s Mogelson’s accompanying article:

Rioters at the Capitol

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/01/25/among-the-insurrectionists

I encourage everyone to go beyond the clips and watch the entire 12+ minute video. It is chilling.

In particular, please look out for these two things:

At :35 seconds into the video, as the Senate chamber is being ravaged, there is a shot of the inscription “In God We Trust” on the gallery facade.

Then, at 7:57, watch as the insurrectionists pray to that God we’re supposed to trust…praying in part, “Thanks to our heavenly father for the opportunity to stand up for our God-given unalienable rights…”

In God We Trust? God Bless America? Really?

And, if you can, also watch The New Yorker’s Andrew Marantz’s 4-minute follow-up video. In it Marantz comments:

“Anytime something like this happens, the response you tend to get from your standard politician is, ‘This is a shocking aberration. This is not who we are.'”

Marantz’s video shows President-elect Joe Biden, in an attempt to bring calm and civility to the situation, an attempt that sadly was not made by the sitting president, say, “The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America, do not represent who we are.”

Marantz disagrees.

“The problem with that, of course, is that the events of today represent an America we know of. It’s happening right now in America. It makes us pretend that history can only progress in one direction, that we have to sort of wait, that we have to wait for the tough things to pass and our glorious future will be there to greet us…”

I agree with Marantz. This is, I hate to say, who we are. It is, in fact, who we’ve always been. In our quest to believe the myth that America is the greatest country in history, in our belief in “American Exceptionalism” without really defining “exceptional,” we have been blind. We have overlooked our history.

I watched a film last night, “Shared Legacies: The African-American Jewish Civil Rights Alliance,” presented by the Boca Raton Jewish Film Festival. I was reminded of the virulent anti-Semitism in the America I was born into. I was reminded of the deadly Jim Crow racism that our Black citizens suffered for over a century. Was America great then?

Is America great when 74% of the voters of one of the two major parties believe that the election was stolen from their candidate…because that candidate lied to them and told them it was stolen?

Or is America great when its presidential electoral system is so fundamentally flawed and undemocratic that the candidate with the most votes doesn’t always win as in 2000 and 2016?

Is America great when one of the laws that put America on the road to greatness, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, was partially invalidated by the Supreme Court in 2013 because, according to Chief Justice Roberts, “the country has changed;” a decision that has led to rampant voter suppression in the elections that followed that decision?

Or is America great when one of it’s legislative branches is structured in a way that is “…an outdated, racist, Jim Crow relic meant to enshrine white landowner power in our government, by prioritizing land over people,” according to Deirdre Schifeling, campaign director of the progressive coalition Democracy For All 2021.

Is America great when judicial activism has allowed polling place reductions, massive voter purges, a voter-ID law – all attempts by one segment of the population to consolidate their power and shrink the electorate?

Or is America great when, according to Harvard professors of government, Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, “the guardrails that undergirded America’s 20th century democracy were built upon racial exclusion and operated in a political community that was overwhelmingly white and Christian.

If you still believe in America’s greatness, I have one last video for you. It’s a segment from HBO’s “The Newsroom” from 2012. In it the Jeff Daniels character while listing some aspects of America’s former greatness, goes on to call out the overwhelming non-greatness of 2012 America. As I wrote to the friend who reminded me of the clip, “Can you imagine a reprise of that speech now, given the last eight years?”

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: