White supremacist assault on Capitol – should social workers be surprised?

January 7, 2021

Yes, hindsight is 20/20, but the indications were already clearly visible for anyone to see:

Trump said repeatedly, beginning even before the 2020 presidential election voting started, that he would only accept an election outcome in which he won.

Trump and the Trump campaign ginned up one allegation of voting conspiracy or voter fraud after another, insisting that Trump could lose only if the election was “stolen.” Contraindications by voter recounts, and repeated rejection of fact-free allegations by the courts and state election officials (many of them Republican), were immaterial.

On multiple occasions, including a rally yesterday, Trump assured his Confederate flag-waving supporters that he would “never concede” and encouraged them to “show strength” in making their demands on Congress to reject Biden’s victory known.

Throughout his presidency, Trump has consistently coddled and and at times outright praised white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and Q-Anon adherents, the hyper-energized backbone of the movement to “stop the steal.”

So, should any observer, let alone social workers who have watched the steady stoking of racism and the accelerated decay of the U.S. social welfare system under Trump, be surprised at yesterday’s Capitol assault by desperate members of the cult of Trump? Hardly.

But neither should we waste time and energy obsessing over “how could this happen in this, the world’s bastion of democracy?” With a new administration and a new Congress, the real work of building a truly democratic society, inspired by a new ethic of solidarity, inclusiveness, and caring, begins now.

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