Chaos in the Capitol: Jessamine Countians reflect on disaster in D.C.
The Jessamine Journal
What began last Wednesday as a demonstration to show support for President Trump and his unfounded accusations that the election was stolen turned violent when protesters, incited by President Trump to “fight like hell,” invaded the Capitol, damaging property, clashing with police and leaving five people dead.
This week, The Jessamine Journal reached out to some local leaders to get their reactions to what happened and what it means for our democracy.
Carolyn Dupont, an Eastern Kentucky University history professor who was a Democratic candidate for the state legislature last year, said what happened was reflective of the division she sees in society.
“For me, the attack on our Capitol last week demonstrated how far we have sunk into an ‘us-versus-them’ mentality. We now no longer believe we can live together, in spite of our differences. Politicians have promoted the belief that the other side is evil, and the mob acted in that spirit,” she said.
State Rep. Matt Lockett, a Republican, said in a statement: “I wholeheartedly condemn the recent actions at the U.S. Capitol. The actions that were undertaken do not represent nor are condoned by the majority of those in attendance, nor those of us in the Republican Party. The protesters that destroyed property and broke past security at the Capitol must be held responsible for their actions.”
County Attorney Brian Goettl, also a Republican, said this: “I condemn the violence at the Capitol and hold President Trump partially responsible. While our constitution specifically allows for the expression of free speech and the right to peaceably assemble for a redress of grievances, the actions of some at the Capitol exceeded those constitutional guarantees and there should be consequences for their actions.”
U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., whose 6th District includes Nicholasville and the northern part of Jessamine County, issued this statement the day of the incident: “Today’s events at the U.S. Capitol are tragic, outrageous and devastating. They are wholly inconsistent with the fundamental values of our constitutional Republic. The United States is an exceptional nation because we resolve our differences peacefully — through the ballot box, the courts and our democratic institutions — not through violence. What is happening at the Capitol is NOT who we are as a nation, it needs to stop NOW. I pray for peace, unity and the brave men and women of the Capitol Hill Police, the Washington D C Police and peaceful protesters in harms way. May God bless our country.”
The Rev. Moses Radford, pastor of First Baptist Church and a community leader, said the rage that erupted Jan. 6 has been building for four years, and he blamed it on the inflammatory rhetoric of Trump and the false narratives he has propagated.
“Last Wednesday was a spillover of what’s been brewing,” he said. It’s been building for some time, he said, and finally, “the lid blew off.”
“It’s deplorable that it happened,” he said, and it was “heartbreaking” that lives were lost so senselessly, including those of two police officers.
Radford said that if the demonstrators had been black people, they never would have gotten inside, and there would have been more bloodshed.
“This has been a revealing time. This pandemic, like money, has revealed the inner hearts and character of many individuals (often in surprising ways). Last week’s riot was a mirror, held up for ALL of us. It gave us a reflection of ourselves, not as we want to be, but as we sometimes are,” said the Rev. Max Vanderpool, pastor of Generations Community Church in Nicholasville. “I’ve often wondered, where is our Abraham Lincoln?”
Mayor Harold Rainwater of Wilmore said it was disappointing to see what was done to our Capitol.
“When peaceful protest turns to violence, it is no longer a right,” he said.
The Jessamine Journal reached out on its Facebook page asking for interviews with local people who took part in the rally in Washington or who happened to be there, but got no takers. However, a few people commented.
Caitie Lamb discouraged others from talking.
“This could be a trap,” she said.
Andrew Jason Archer commented: “Write an article about how the citizens are fed up with a corrupt and broken Congress and want their country back. How one of the only ways to fix this broken system is term limits and limits on special interest money and elected officials becoming lobbyists when they are voted out.”
David Hardin criticized senators and congressmen for not “saying anything” about what happened.
“Their cowardice is showing,” he said.