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Everything Is Different Now

The Atlantic – Tom JunodThe U.S. Capitol did not fall the way the Twin Towers did, but the American idea it embodies was brutalized. “We must remember 1/6 the way we remember 9/11….The attack on the U.S. Capitol was not a shock, because the people who perpetrated it did not come from out of the sky. They had been talking about their plans for weeks, and in broader terms for years; he, the most audible man in the world, had been talking about it, tweeting about it, ever since he lost the election—indeed, even before. A reckoning is coming, he said; the day is coming. He didn’t have to say that his people were coming, because he had made the pact between them explicit enough for their plans to be implicit. They all knew January 6 was going to be “wild,” as he put it, and that was the key word, the tip-off that the bacchanal of his rallies, indeed the liberation of his rallies, would now be visited upon the city where the buildings were—along with the American idea….The Capitol yielded easily to a horde of Americans—our brothers and sisters—in red hats and horned helmets and shirts proclaiming the persuasive triumph of the 17th letter of the alphabet. They were vandals in the halls where American Ciceros were supposed to have spoken, and yet now the halls were abandoned and, but for a brave few, bereft even of the dignity of resistance, while the vandals had the time of their lives. How could the idea that the Capitol is supposed to embody be perishable this way? My stomach turned and my hands trembled in fear and disgust, as I realized my prophecy for the day had been fulfilled not by the imposition of martial law but by the possibility of a stranger in a Camp Auschwitz shirt taking a shit in my house….”

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