Opinion, Berkeley Blogs

Where are the SWAT teams?

By Charles Henry

Trump supporters breaking down police barriers at U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Trump supporters breaking down police barriers at U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

I watched in vain for the arrival of SWAT teams to put down the coup d’état in our nation’s capital. I know we have them because I saw them attacking protesters after the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, etc. They were there in front of the White House when Trump and a general took a stroll for a photo op in front of a church.

They are well-equipped with military surplus gear including armored personnel carriers, water cannons, tear gas, flash grenades, batons, rubber bullets and real bullets. And as the Capitol police were under siege, where were those counter-protesters who seek to protect the police and restore law and order?

The insurrectionists tore through the Capitol occupying the chair of the vice-president, taking over offices and rifling through papers. Some took souvenirs and brought the family with them. I tried to imagine what would have happened if the Million Man March had done the same thing.

Can you picture Minister Farrakhan sitting in the majority leader’s chair as the world watches with no police in sight? When that apostle of peace, Martin Luther King, Jr., led the 1963 March on Washington, President Kennedy mobilized 4,000 troops in the suburbs backed up by 15,000 paratroopers on alert in North Carolina. The Washington Senators postponed their baseball games and the city’s bars were closed. The courts prepared for all-night criminal hearings.

Of course, all of this could have been prevented if the vice president and majority leader of the U.S. Senate had decided to follow the Constitution and permitted the trial of a rogue president. Instead, Pence and McConnell are now targets of the protesters. They placed him above the law and he has wasted no time in proving it. Those corrupt operatives that were thrown into jail have been pardoned. Those Republicans who have shown any resistance have been banished from Washington either voluntarily or involuntarily. They have been replaced in the halls of Congress by conspiracy theorists.

Back in what seems like a different era, 2008, I was part of a team of observers sent by the Carter Center to encourage free and fair elections in the presidential race in Ghana. Both of the major candidates had borrowed the theme of “hope and change” from Obama’s campaign. I would be ashamed now to set foot in the country.