On the Siege of the Capitol: Why It's So Frightening It's Funny

America is sick.

As our nation’s Capitol was under siege by a mob of terrorists in red hats and a guy in horns, the world was watching. Some watched in horror or shock or sadness, and others, in support. I watched with amusement. Normally, I wouldn’t refer to acts of domestic terrorism as amusing, but normal died with covid.

When you take a step back and look at America today, it really is funny. It’s funny to hear insurrectionists, toting their Confederate flags and wearing Nazi symbols, call themselves patriots when they labeled Colin Kaepernick “un-American”.

It’s funny how patriotism has been confused with whiteness and terrorism with protest. It’s funny how with a defense budget near a trillion dollars, there was not enough defense for the heart of our nation. It is funny how we have allowed a bankrupt reality TV star with a lousy tanning job to attain the presidency and do whatever he wanted with it, while stomping on the foundations of our democracy for the past four years.

It’s funny how over 74 million people voted for his re-election, and the best replacement we could find was a 78-year-old white man. It’s funny how easy it was for terrorists to breach the United States Capitol building and parade around the house floor and kickback in Nancy Pelosi’s office while taking selfies with the Capitol police.

It’s funny how the police will kill a sleeping woman or a 12-year old boy playing in the park or kneel on a man’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds because they are Black, but when a mob of angry white people attacks them at our nation’s Capitol building, they forget where their guns are and remember the little de-escalation training they were given.

It’s so funny, I could laugh until I cry.

There is something comedic to me about despair. When I look at the condition of this nation, I struggle to hold on to hope.

America is sick.

There is no vaccine for the contagion of white supremacy that infests the body of our nation. The cure does not come with the transition of office. Donald Trump was only a symptom of a greater disease that has plagued this nation since its conception (the first time a mob of angry white people demanded change).

In order to heal, we must recognize the severity of our diagnosis. If not we will continue to bleed and burn until we have buried ourselves.

As a gay Black man, I have been keen on the condition of our nation for some time. The symptoms manifest with people like me. Riddling our skin with bullet holes, biting away at our esteem, and laying seeds of self-loathing until they don’t even have to kill us before we do the deed ourselves.

I fear the cancer that consumes this American body is terminal. The tumor is too great for diversity training to fix. Rather than fixate on our impending demise, I choose to be amused and continue scrolling through Black Twitter.

This nation is sick, and I won’t be sorry if it dies. I will laugh as we meet our end, because I have been killed before.

Jason Turner is an artist and writer from Bucks County, Pennsylvania studying at New York University in the Gallatin School of individualized study. He is also a photographer, poet, and activist who collaborates with friends on projects around New York City.

The North Star is a network of Black and Latinx journalists and creators that provide daily news stories and podcasts with action steps that help you get involved. We speak truth to power without fear because our stories, our voices and our lives matter. Please consider becoming a member and enjoy exclusive benefits of our ad-free platform for as little as $5 a month.