Marin Voice: In more ways than one, Capitol siege hit close to home – Marin Independent Journal

Posted By on January 20, 2021

The phone didnt stop ringing in the aftermath of the Capitol siege.

Hows Taylor. Is your daughter OK?

For the past six years (before a recent job change), she had been a familiar face in the U.S. Capitol. My daughter, a Branson School and Georgetown University graduate, worked for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

While ensconced on the Hill, I never felt concerned about her safety. Not until 2020.

Classified as an essential staffer, working from home during the pandemic was not an option. Every day in the halls of the Capitol she was hostage to a COVID-19 hotspot.

Many Republicans and their aides went maskless to show loyalty to Donald Trump. After all, it was said that it was just a political pandemic which would magically disappear Nov. 4 as soon as the election was decided.

Of course, that didnt happen. Trump lost and claimed the election was stolen. The raid on the Capitol took place. The attempted coup outranked the COVID-19 crisis in the priority of concerns.

In the days following the siege, film footage showed where Pelosis barricaded staffers huddled under a conference table for 2 hours while insurrectionists battered on a furniture-barricaded door clamoring for entrance.

But for the fact that three months earlier my daughter had taken a position in New York City, she would have been hunkered down with her colleagues scrambling for safety under that conference room table.

Since 2015, when she was pictured on the Time magazine website surrounded by police following the Ferguson Michael Brown incident while wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with Hands Up Dont Shoot, I thought that would be her only near-death experience. What were the chances?

The potential for violence in and out of harms way is traceable through our family history. From the Civil War, World War I and II up through Desert Storm where they served, it could be expected.

The violence out of a war zone is different. My fathers civil rights colleague Harry Moore and his wife were blown up in their home on Christmas Eve 1951. Moore was a leader in the Florida civil rights struggle which forced my parents whose lives were threatened to leave the state.

Ive been thinking about November, 1978 when my 11:30 am radio interview with George Moscone never took place. Reports of his assassination were broadcast 45 minutes earlier. This took place one week following the Jonestown massacre. Those memories flooded back to Rep. Jackie Spier. She was shot in Guana back then and found herself sheltering on the House floor during the Jan. 6 riot.

With the election of Georgias Jon Ossoff, the Jewish community harkens back to the 1915 lynching of Leo Frank for a crime he didnt commit. A Jewish senator is a first for Georgia.

As a 16-year-old, I listened to Martin Luther King preach at Ebenezer Baptist Church in the summer of 1962. Could he, six years before his own assassination, ever predict the election of Congressman John Lewis or Sen. Raphael Warnock from the pulpit of the church where he and his father pastored.

There is a scriptural admonition.The wicked walk about freely when the vilest men are exalted.

Reported in the media are recent images of an insurrectionist carrying a Confederate flag in National Statuary Hall. There he is strolling in front of a portrait of Massachusettss abolitionist Sen. Charles Sumner who was beaten on the floor of the Senate in 1856 for delivering a philippic against slavery. Ive studied Sumner my entire life and visit his grave whenever in Cambridge.

The morning following the siege I received a communication from former San Francisco Public Defender Geoff Brown, a Redwood High grad who is cousin to both Jerry Brown and former Marin Supervisor Hal Brown. He wrote: I woke up this morning with a hangover, not from drink but from shame and outrage. I grieve for the country I love for all its considerable failings.

I wrote back to him with a new verse for America (My Country Tis of Thee):

My country still can be, sweet land of liberty. We have no king. Land where laws still abide, seditious acts defied. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

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Marin Voice: In more ways than one, Capitol siege hit close to home - Marin Independent Journal

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