Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff both made history in their recent elections to the U.S. Senate. Warnock as the first Black person to be elected from the state of Georgia and Ossoff as the state’s first Jewish senator. Their victories were confirmed in the wee hours of the morning on January 6, and by that afternoon the story of their triumph was overshadowed by images of Trump-supporting terrorists taking the Capitol by siege.
The mostly white domestic terrorists and their white-adjacent counterparts could not resist disrupting history. They may not have known that Warnock and Ossoff were headed to victory in the Georgia Senate race, but they at least had a sneaking suspicion that Congress was about to verify the presidential election for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
If they were certain that Trump would be re-elected, none of them would have spent the past three consecutive months since the election demonstrating in the nation’s capital.
The white nationalist ideology is anchored in resistance to change, therefore it cannot help but center itself whenever it feels threatened by an evolving social order. White nationalist ideology is not exclusive to white identity. There are members of varying ethnic groups that subscribe to white nationalism as a social doctrine in hopes of reaping the benefits of American whiteness. Their attempts at wearing the “emperor’s clothes” are mostly ill-fitting. The fullness of white privilege is afforded to those who check off white as an identity marker, and non-white accomplices to white nationalism still exist outside the margins regardless of how much blood they are willing to spill in the name of proximity.
Ultimately it was raging, pandemic-denying, full-blooded white Americans that led the siege on the Capitol and escaped relatively unharmed. Yes, there were casualties from the event but the rioters who sacrificed their lives in the name of white nationalism were very likely unshaken by the prospect of martyrdom if it meant they would play a hand in obstructing the will of the people.
White nationalism, white supremacy and whiteness as a social construct that equates itself as superior is selfish in its urgency to remain empowered. The 2021 version of enfranchised white domestic terrorists is seeking to cash in on their inheritance of country. They want to monopolize the full capacity of legislation, the news cycle, economic opportunities, the legal apparatus and every spoil that comes with white American citizenship.
They were promised a nation as their birthright, and anything that hints at something besides totally elevated hierarchical status will yield the type of anarchy we witnessed in the dawn of this new year.
Progress, be damned.
About the Author
Donney Rose is a poet, essayist, Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, advocate, and Chief Content Editor at The North Star. He believes in telling how it is and how it should be