The Capitol Siege in Historical Perspective
by Hettie V. Williams, PhD
A majority of white voters across every demographic including gender, age and class voted for Donald J. Trump in two presidential elections. He is their king. According to the Pew Research Center, an estimated 58 percent of all white voters selected Trump in 2016 (31 percent voted for Hillary), and more than 50 percent voted to reelect Trump in 2020. He is their white king. I wrote about white racial anxiety a few years ago in a Huffington Post article suggesting that this anxiety will only increase as the nation becomes characteristically more ethnically diverse — and noticeably less white. Race is power. And, the majority of white people (nearly 60 percent of active registered voters that is), regardless of how “woke” they claim to be, seek to preserve their power. This is illustrated in their votes for a man who did nothing to hide his racialist thinking, contempt for women, disdain for Black people, immigrants and the disabled. Don’t believe the hype about white wokeness.
The recent siege on the Capitol building of the United States government can only be framed historically as a white supremacist terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol incited by a cast of characters who supported Donald J. Trump — the forty-fifth president of the United States. More recently, nearly 200 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed on to an article of impeachment that accuses Trump of “incitement of insurrection.” This is the second attempt to impeach this man. How did it come to this? White mob violence and white supremacist insurrection is not new in U.S. history. That said, this is who we are and what we have been, in many instances, within the context of U.S. history.
There have been several incidents of white supremacist violence and insurrection in U.S. history since the mid-nineteenth century. This is exemplified with events such as the American Civil War, the violence that followed in the Reconstruction South and the racial rebellions and white riots that defined much of the twentieth century. Historians define the Civil War as a type of insurrection against the legitimate government of the United States by Confederates. This insurrection of the Confederacy was fueled by an attempt to protect…