This morning, a good chunk of the Antipodes woke up to the news that the US capitol (where US congress were meeting to ratify President-Elect Joe Biden's victory over Donald Trump) was under siege by a pro-Trump mob. By now, you probably would've seen the surreal images circulating on social media that include pro-Trump rioters wandering the empty halls of the US capitol, lawmakers ducking as protesters try to break into the house chamber; even a guy swinging from a chamber balcony.
Here are some of the first things that crossed my mind as I began to come to grips with what was happening...
Where are the police?
If last year's protests against the murder of George Floyd taught me anything, it's that US police are anything but innocuous. How is it possible for a bunch of Trump supporters to literally smash windows and wander into the Capitol and play with Nancy Pelosi's phone? (They're like MAGA versions of Nick Miller.)
This piece from Buzzfeed News is pretty eye-opening. It compares the police presence at last year's Black Lives Matter protests in the US to their presence in Washington DC today today (note that in contrast to what's unfolding in DC at the moment, the BLM demonstrations were overwhelmingly peaceful).
Pretty much the entirety of the pro-Trump mob storming the capitol are white, and that's a big deal. We tend to just see a group of white people as 'a group of people', but let's face it. Only white people would get away with this (quite embarrassing) attempt at storming the US capitol.
Can you imagine what would've happened if a group of Black people tried to enact a literal siege? Even Captain America knows.
If you're not convinced how central 'race' is to all of this, here's one protester waltzing through the capitol building, gripping the confederate flag.
While we're at it, here's a guy stealing Nancy Pelosi's lectern.
And I've got no idea what's happening here.
Meanwhile, Black people are routinely arrested and killed by the police for peacefully protesting or even just going about their lives.
3. Of course Trump praised the the protestors
The thing I'm most looking forward to, once Trump finally leaves The White House, is not having to bear witness to how shocked everyone is when Donald Trump acts like Donald Trump. First it was the "very fine" white supremacists at the 2016 Charlottesville protests, later it was telling the Proud Boys to "stand back and stand by" and now he's said the anarchists who tried storm the capitol are "very special". Can we stop expecting him to redeem himself? The one thing you can't fault him for is his consistency.
All this, and it's only the first week of January.
Written by Reena Gupta, a Melbourne-based writer at MTV Australia. Follow her on Twitter at @purpletank