In my years as a single mother I had to count every penny. When my youngest son entered first grade, I accumulated my resources to get him school supplies and books for his new school year. It wasn’t easy but with great relief, I finally managed to buy everything he needed. About a month into his school year, my child came home crying and visibly shaken. His school backpack had been filled with a colored liquid and all the items within were ruined. This had been done by a bully at school. He was inconsolable.
The Attack and Consequences
The school was informed and action was taken. The bully and my child were called in. The children’s parents were informed. The matter was handled by the school and punishments decided by it. Did it solve the bullying problem immediately? No, it didn’t. But the role of the school was essential because they were there to instruct and decide on consequences of the child’s actions. The school was the impartial third party that could handle the matter without subjective emotion. We grew up being taught that there are consequences to our actions. As parents of these children, we understood the process.
A more subtle aspect of the school bully’s conduct was the pain it had inflicted on me. It was not my backpack and the supplies inside that had been damaged, but I had indirectly been impacted too. I had worked hard to afford my child’s school supplies and had experienced pain by that child bully’s actions. I had lost something too.
So much of my child’s story here can be related to the attack on the Capitol building. This, although my child’s story happened years before I came to the United States. I am really sad about these attacks on the Capitol Building. I am feeling raw, with sorrow and disappointment.
I am not interested in justifying or rationalizing the acts. I just want to stop hurting. I cannot process the hurt of seeing such a symbol of democracy being desecrated. I do not endorse the destruction of any property. But this, this is very potent. In my very basic thought process, this is the crystallization of contempt, hate and loathing. Because the building is a symbol, it is the People’s House.
Taxpayers somehow contribute to the upkeep of government buildings so I was also, as a taxpayer, violated. In addition, the building symbolizes my continuing efforts and contributions as well as those of every other taxpayer and citizen. So I have been insulted too.
The Oath Against Violence
I am an immigrant to the U.S. I had to jump through dozens of hoops to earn my citizenship, including a lot of reading and learning of the history of the country and its institutions. I definitely did learn the significance of the Capitol and the building. I had to pass various interviews and tests. In all of this, I expected no favors, just an opportunity to prove myself. The day I took my oath was exciting. It filled me with pride and hope as I took my oath of citizenship.
I do not like violence – to watch or participate in it. You see, violence in any form, physical or not, is a manifestation of hate. And hate is one of the darkest aspects of human nature. This violent act killed people and injured many. Forget the emotional and mental toll we all face.
How do we move on from here? We need people to own up and be held accountable. We need there to be consequences in order for there to be no more violence of this type. We need to heal. We cannot do so if the attackers aren’t shown there are consequences. This is the only way we prevent a repeat violation of anything that represents the People.