What Happened on Capitol Hill

Jan 7 · 4 min read

by Isabella Zollner

I’m going to start out by saying that I’m dismayed that I’m writing this to begin with. I live in America, where this doesn’t happen. Where we grow up knowing that we never have to fear corruption in our government. I live in white picket fence, Olive Garden-loving, Indiana. Our scandals are supposed to be about leaked emails that are embarrassing — but harmless. Coups are things we learn about in elementary school to develop our sympathy. They aren’t realities. We were told that America is a beacon of democracy. We were told that above all our government will protect us. And we were told that bad things don’t happen in America.

But all of us learned differently at one time or another. Some of us had to grow up knowing that they were never included in the doctrine of protection that was fed to them. Others found out that they were separate and “less-than” later in life. And still others learned that our country has a history much darker than what they were initially taught. And today we all learned the reality of what our democracy has come to.

Horrific stories flooded out of Washington, DC on January 6th as America’s Congress tried to secure the election. Huffington Post reporter Matt Fuller tweeted terrifying images with captions to match.

“Capitol Police are running to every door in the House gallery and locking it,” 2:28 PM
“We have people slamming on the doors now” 2:36 PM
“Members now evacuating the House chamber.” 2:39 PM
“Guns drawn in the chamber” 2:43 PM
And finally, appallingly, “They’re shooting into the chamber” 2:44PM

Lawmakers and media members alike hid in an undisclosed safe room and were handed dinner trays. In the senate, another Huffington Post employee tweeted, “I am safe, and in hiding” after posting a picture of a journalist placidly photographing the mobs and the chaos they created.

But the harm captured in those few photographs was nothing compared to the sheer scale of damage done to America today. Mob members broke into the evacuated Congressional Chambers and Senate floor and vandalised everything in sight. They walked the same halls our Founding Fathers did and disrespected, trashed, looted and beat everything in sight while journalists recorded their voices echoing through the halls chanting “Stop the Steal”, “Join Us”, “USA! USA!”, “Make America Great Again!”, etc.

These mob members vandalised our federal buildings, searched through drawers containing possibly classified information, and videotaped themselves waving Trump flags in front of portraits of men who died to give them a country they will never have even an ounce of respect for. They painted messages across hallways built centuries ago one reading, “MURDER THE MEDIA”. They slung punches at cops while waving the thin blue line flag. One of their own was killed — a young woman — while showing off their guns. Her last moments were caught by hundreds of cameras, and her blood was spilled on the floor of our Capitol Building.

I don’t honestly know how to go on. I have said time and again that supporters of Trump have lost all of my respect. But I don’t know how to make it any clearer than this. If you look at the images of our Congressional building being tear gassed, vandalized, beaten, disrespected, violated, and fought over and you feel power… you are the worst kind of American out there. The kind that not only took all the privileges that come with being American for granted but ruined them for everyone else. The kind that was too cowardly to speak outside of their gated communities until another coward stood up for them. The kind that let themselves be brainwashed by a good for nothing reality TV star parading as President. So brainwashed, in fact, that they would go to the Capitol of our home to wreak violence. That they would walk the hallways that our founding fathers dreamed of and wave the flag of a treasonous loser. There is nothing to say for them.

But now it is our turn. Spread the news of what has happened here, do it truthfully and reliably. Even if it feels repetitive, there is never too much information as long as it is trustworthy. Look at the pictures of what happened to our nation’s heart and find the part of you that won’t stand for this. It’s time for all of us to peacefully stand up against the radical behavior of the President and his supporters.

About the Author:

After being subjected to homophobic harassment in the classroom, Isabella decided to try and use her writing to encourage others to stand up for each other and themselves. Isabella is a high school student in Lafayette, IN.

Matthew’s Place


Matthew’s Place

MatthewsPlace.com is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit for our publication? Email allison@matthewshepard.org


Written by

MatthewsPlace.com is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit? Email sara@matthewshepard.org

Matthew’s Place

MatthewsPlace.com is a program of the Matthew Shepard Foundation| Words by & for LGBTQ+ youth | #EraseHate | Want to submit for our publication? Email allison@matthewshepard.org

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store