How the Capitol Riots Inspired me to Start 'Meet an Immigrant'
The protest turned riot at the US Capitol happened weeks ago, but I’m still processing what it means to me, and to our nation. I’ve found myself speaking with friends and family, trying to make sense of it all. I’m hearing a lot of disbelief, shock, and a desire to see justice done.
I have to admit, my own initial response was shock and rage. Shock at what these people did to our own country, and rage at our leaders and media for getting us to this point.
A recent conversation with someone led to an epiphany, and some solace. She helped me to understand that pointing fingers is an attempt to displace responsibility from ourselves to others, others that we have no control over. Was this the source of my rage? That I felt powerless to change the situation?
And then another epiphany, were those protesters turned rioters experiencing rage for the same reason? Honestly, many of them have felt powerless for decades. Whether they vote for a Republican or a Democrat, a white man or a black man, someone who sounds like a politician or someone who doesn’t, their lives remain unchanged. They’ve been on the losing end of globalism (Us vs. Them: The Failure of Globalism, by Ian Bremmer). Frustrated that their parents did better than them, and fearful their children will have even fewer opportunities, they’ve been looking for someone who understands them and can represent their interests. They believe they found that someone in President Donald Trump, and now even that’s being taken from them.
My newfound empathy doesn’t excuse the acts of those who violated our capital, by stealing, threatening, and killing. There should and will be consequences for their actions. However, if we are to truly heal our nation, the next step in that healing process has to be empathy.
Now that I’m done blaming others who I have no control over, what can we do? If we can no longer rely on the politicians and the media to heal our wounds, then I guess it’s up to us. How about a conversation? One where we’re not speaking past each other, but to each other.
In that case, the best place to start is to get to know one another, so I’m creating a video interview series where I speak to my fellow Americans, learning about them as individuals. I want to understand all perspectives, to dig beneath the rhetoric and understand real people.
As we’re a land of immigrants, I’ve decided to name the series, “Meet an Immigrant”. I hope you enjoy it, more importantly I hope you engage with it and become part of this conversation.
Where to watch and listen: