In case you missed it, yesterday we set the scene in DC on Saturday, as thousands of climate-, covid-, and election- deniers descended upon the city with a very clear intention to intimidate, harass, and abuse Black lives in the process of celebrating the promised
re-election extra-legal clinging to power of Donald Trump. On Friday night, the early arrivers made a point to vandalize and deface Black Lives Matter Plaza, tearing down memorials signs for Breonna Taylor and other taken Black lives, and otherwise making a mockery of it. So on Saturday, when grassroots groups asked for volunteers to come protect the space, the Denier Roundup made the jump from digital to analog.
Throughout the day, groups of mostly young white men proudly waved Trump flags as they approached BLM plaza, before then having to sheepishly walk through a group of us thanking them for coming, telling them we hope they enjoyed their little loser rally, and letting them know, like children from a dinner table, they could be excused to go home now- Buh-bye!
BLM Plaza is a symbolic concession, one activist explained in an interview we overheard, it’s an expression of grief and loss of Black lives at the hands of police, not a place for them to dance on the graves of those lost lives the yellow letters in the street represent.
If you watched along on alt-right Twitter streams, or read the President’s, you’d get the impression wild Antifa warriors were besieging hapless, innocent Trump supporters. But they of course edited out the portion where maskless violence-idolizing zealots came to DC to spit in the face of democracy, assert their whiteness in a multicultural city, and pick fights with those who dare ask fascists to leave.
When a 4-abreast column of two dozen Proud Boys marched on the sidewalks in the light of the noon sun, and came (bearded, unmasked) faces to (bearded, masked) face with the long-haired, 6ft+, 230lb Denier Round-er-Up-er in a Black Lives Matter shirt, they instinctively broke formation to part around the white man walking in the opposite direction, their eyes only raising only high enough to read his shirt before falling shamefully back to the ground as they sheepishly slunk off to either side.
But after nightfall, these same boys roamed the streets in drunken packs, assaulting and harassing women journalists, and stabbing a man in the back. Proud, indeed.
That violence wasn’t incidental, accidental, or tangential to the many-named “Stop the Steal” events. As one of its other, more grandiose names, the “Million MAGA March” makes clear by its appropriation of the Million Man March, it was also a very deliberate intimidation of the Black people, both in DC and around the country. It was a message that white loyalty is not to America or democracy but to Trump, and all the hatred that he embodies and emboldens.
Which is part of why the Roundup spent all afternoon at BLM plaza with our neighbors in the community, to let the visitors know that having lost the election and collected their proverbial participation trophy, they should go home and think about why they felt the need to come to DC for the racist loser rally that sought to invalidate the very democratic foundation of the nation they claim to have made so great.
If freedom and democracy are to survive, if Black lives are to matter, and if children are to be freed from cages and reunited with their families and welcomed to their new home in the United States, there can be no quarter for encroaching facism. Not anywhere, and certainly not in our nation’s capital. There can be no peace for those who seek violence, and there is no negotiating with terrorists, even when they’re white americans.
So if you happened to be watching the event coverage and noticed a foghorn-like call of “looooosers” echoing off the buildings in the background like the haunting voice of hindsight recalling your most cringe-inducing public embarrassment, or a voice shouting at those losers to keep on moving, then you heard what democracy sounds like.
And the sound of the Denier Roundup, tellin’ those lil doggies to git on home.