Dear Mr. VP,
It’s been awhile. I’ve been slowly working on a letter to send you on your last day in office, and you’ll get it fourteen days from now. But I could not let today go unmarked.
Today I watched in horror as our Capitol building was stormed by white supremacists intent on staging a coup. I cried as I watched men break the windows of the building, seemingly without ramification. I explained to my seven-year-old why I was sobbing in front of my laptop screen, taking a deep breath and saying, “You know how we’ve talked about Donald Trump’s lies about the election? These people believe them so much, they’re willing to do this.” Then I called my dad and we had the seven hundredth “calming Devon down” conversation of this presidency — the first took place the morning after of Trump’s election, and I’m sure today’s won’t be the last. Fourteen days.
If anyone was suddenly surprised by today, perhaps they have not been watching the last four years of edging between the GOP and white supremacist militias. Or perhaps they’ve been ignoring it because they think Republicans are better for their wallets. Or, perhaps, they are personally a white supremacist, though if they are they probably weren’t surprised by today — the writing has been all over the boogaloo chat walls for a long time, leaving me even more perplexed as to why there was no extra defense in D.C. today. Retroactively, I would like to go back and yell even louder at people who said things to me like, “Well, there are some good Republicans! You can’t paint all the Trump voters with the same paintbrush! I voted for a Republican and I’m not a jerk!”
In any case, this is not a surprise. The white supremacist threat grew exponentially during the presidency of Barack Obama, and then white Americans chose a president to protect their racial interests, and he has spent four years shouting — not dog whistling, shouting — to white supremacists. They have been activated, goaded on by the president, and assured by the fact that you and other GOP politicians refuse to condemn them. Perhaps you and these other politicians thought loyalty would save you, but knowing you were threatened with execution by the president’s own lawyer, and escorted out of the Capitol by armed guards today, only brought one phrase to mind: fuck around and find out. This authoritarian monster of a movement will turn on anyone who doesn’t offer complete fealty.
It seems this is the moment Republicans finally start condemning the president and his actions. We’re already seeing House and Senate members who originally noted they would object to the election results indicating they will no longer do so. I was gleeful today, before our Capitol fell, reading your statement about how you cannot change today’s result, imagining the feud between you and Trump. But don’t get it twisted: speaking out in the last two or three months was *too late.* Speaking out just today was unconscionable. Any politician who hasn’t spent the last four years forcefully and without mercy condemning the actions of Trump and his white supremacist base is complicit in the armed insurrection that is taking place today.
We cannot pretend you are more reasonable, or let you win us over with false concern; you’re gaslighting us. We will not let you forget, ever, that you allowed this to happen.
“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself,” said Cicero.
You — you, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Josh Hawley, Kelly Loeffler…the list goes on and on — you are the traitors within our gates. It is my life mission to be sure that is not forgotten.
So many of us will spend the next two weeks terrified of what might happen — more than the next two weeks, because we know this threat doesn’t go away on January 20th. Our monstrous history is coming home to roost, and you have enabled it. It is the duty of any American with a conscience to excise any trace of Trump’s stain from our elected bodies. No matter what you say now, what you do now, that includes you.