“For my family this is visceral. We’re very into government and history. For me as a professor, this has been an exhilarating, but exhausting semester because, in this kind of work, this is ethics-palooza. This is a hundred-year storm. It’s almost like we have live course work every week.
The vote certification is the kind of thing we as a family usually watch, but last Wednesday I was saying, ‘I’m not going to watch this.’
While I was working, our multi-generational family text chain that includes my mother-in-law, my 20-year-old nephew, my mother, my husband, and my kids started going off. And then my staff and other people in my circle started calling, so I stopped working. We put on the TV and that’s when we realized things had gotten very serious. I told the kids to keep the TV on because we were watching history unfold.
My kids go to school right downtown near the National Mall. We’ve always taught them to be aware and ask them every day, ‘did you look at the headlines? Did you skim the newspaper?’ It’s not just about being informed; it’s a matter of safety for us. We’re African American, so we were viewing this from the perspective, ‘oh my God, the racists have literally breached the doors of the Capitol. I can’t believe it.’ It was really so shocking to us. I used to work up the stairs off of the Rotunda. My kids know that building. This is the least safe I’ve ever felt in the 21 years I’ve lived here.
We woke up that morning to a win in Georgia – what a relief. We thought today there will be some shenanigans, but who cares? And that’s when my daughter said, “Wow, could they have really gone in the direction we see them going?” The image of the gallows wasn’t lost on us.
We assume something is going to happen next week because they’ve said they’re going to do something on the 17th, the 19th, and the 20th. We are in the most heightened state we have ever been for a potential emergency. We’re rightfully vigilant. I’m a D.C. mom. I’ve got a thousand things going all the time, but I’ve got to make sure that everybody is ready to go. We’ve gone to the store and gotten extra provisions. I gassed up my car. I got out cash.
Like all children my kids are asking, what does this mean for us? I don’t think they’re afraid, which is good. They’re not up at night sleepless or obsessed with this. My daughter said, “I can’t believe I’ve lived through a pandemic and a coup. So, since there’s been a coup, are we having school tomorrow?”
You laugh about it, but at the same time, it’s had such an impact on their lives. “
– Rochelle in Washington D.C.