What Was Next?
The frenzied mob that stormed our Capitol building smashed windows, broke down barricades, and ransacked congressional offices. They wielded bats, chemical spray, and concealed weapons while attacking and injuring Capitol Police as they marched to the Congressional Chamber attempting to storm inside where members of Congress were instructed to shelter in place. Due to the heroics of the security staff who blockaded the entrance with furniture, the unruly attackers were held off until police reinforcements drove them away.
My question is this. What were these terrorists planning to do if they gained entrance to the Congressional Chamber? Hunker down and occupy the chamber for an extended time making it impossible to hold the presidential certification vote? Hold members of Congress hostage? Possibly kidnap Democratic Congressional members and take them somewhere possibly to inflict harm. This would be similar to the plot of right-wing terrorists who planned to kidnap the Michigan governor and murder her. Plant bombs? Several Molotov Cocktails and weapons were later confiscated by police. Pipe bombs were found outside the RNC and DNC headquarters. What was this unruly mob going to do?
After the police and National Guard reinforcements arrived, I was appalled and enraged to see these criminals herded through the Capitol Rotunda and escorted out the door like they were some unruly fans at a high school basketball game. They all should have been brought to a location secured by the police and arrested. They broke the law and should face the consequences rather than set free.
This was not a peaceful protest that got out of hand. It was an orchestrated attack planned in advance on social media by extreme Trump supporters and members of groups like the Proud Boys, QAnon, Murder the Media, Three Percenters, and Neo-Nazi groups as reported by the Boston Globe. The crowd was whipped into a frenzy at a rally held by Donald Trump, where they were incited by him to march on the Capitol and show their strength. The end result of this horrific attack on our “Cradle of Liberty”, “Our House of Democracy,” left 5 people dead, numerous Capitol Police injured, and our country shocked and outraged.
I believe this is not the end of this example of domestic terrorism. Our country has to be vigilant and send a message to any terrorists (domestic or international). We will not tolerate attacks on our people or our democracy.
I fully and enthusiastically endorse the candidacy of Alicia DelVento for our vacant Representative seat, created by the retirement of Speaker Bob DeLeo who served Winthrop, Revere and Massachusetts with extraordinary distinction and honor for three decades.Alicia has been an effective advocate for a progressive public policy agenda including improved public transportation, climate change awareness and action, enhanced health care focusing on prioritizing immunizations for the COVID- 19 pandemic, and much more.Alicia DelVento possesses the vision, values, and commitment to lead Winthrop and Revere through the challenges which lie ahead.
As we all know, our Federal government and thus our democracy, is experiencing trying times – times that will resonate long, historically. As such, it is a “teachable moment” for us all and particularly for our children. I believe that all involved in our Winthrop educational community could use this time to expose our children to current public events in an age- appropriate way. I think these events are particularly important for our high school students to discuss through our history and civics class curricula, perhaps through an extracurricular activity, and in their homes. I am confident , with the guidance of our faculty, this can be done without engaging the political passions and biases that many of us feel. But is this not the perfect moment for our students to learn about governance, its processes and its frailties as we encourage them to become engaged citizens?
Dr. Mary Catherine Bateson, a well- known cultural anthropologist, passed away on January 2 of this year. The last line of her obituary is a quote from her. “We are not what we know but what we are willing to learn.” The time is now.
Suzanne Swope, Ed.D.,
Winthrop School Committee Member