Essay from Michael Robinson

Elderly white woman in a blue dress next to an older middle aged Black man in a striped tee shirt, hugging in a pool lounge area. Michael Robinson is on the right.
Michael Robinson, right, with fellow contributor Joan Beebe

Night Descends on the Nation’s Capital   

                  January 6, 2021  

Smoke rises from the Nation’s Capital. 

Flashbangs explode used by the rioters. 

Along with bear spray attacking the police.

Killing an officer and harming many others.

A mob of white rioters invaded the capital in daylight.  

In full military gear with zip ties and Trump flags,  

Using the American flag to beat a police officer.   

It was a dark night in our nation’s history  

Like the nights in 68, when D.C. burned to the ground.  

You remember the night that Dr. King was assassinated. 

The nights when the black community took to the streets.  

The nights that the national guards patrolled the streets,

The police Shot tear gas into the crowds of black Americans. 

The jeeps and military vehicles raced down the streets.  

Guns mounted on the jeeps in the nation’s capital

Remember as troops stood on the steps of the capital. 

A night when a little black boy hid in the bathroom.   

Afraid that he would die in the fire of the night.   

It all happened with the looting and vandalizing. 

Our democracy and the foundations of the nation attacked.  

They looked to assassinate the Vice-President,  

And the speaker of the house and others.   

It was a night of total pandemonium as Trump watched.  

A coup perpetrated by Neo-Nazis with Trump’s blessings.  

Unchecked, as they shouted death threats repeatedly.   

The night when a hangman’s noose,  

Was erected on the Capitol grounds.  

White supremacy has gone unbridled,  

For decades terrorizing those of color in America. 

It was that night that America was blackened,  

And the President watched with delight.   

Black Americans have been lynched for decades.  

This night the night our congress was being hunted,  

By the mob in combat gear without their hoods. 

Wanting to lynch as many as they could find.  

  While parading the confederate flag in the halls of the Capital.   

Note: Lawrence O’Donnell spoke of military jeeps with guns mounted in D.C. 68 riots on one of his shows. I remember the jeeps in the riots; however, I have not been able to source it currently the jeeps with mounted guns in D.C. There are photographs of jeeps with mounted guns in riots in Illinois

Source Alan Taylor, The Atlantic April 3, 2018.


My American Flag   

It hangs on to the edge of my desk.  

Ripped and torn for years of flying on that old car. 

After the September 11th attack on America.  

This was a moment in which America meant so much to me.