This is the main entrance to the House of Representatives of the United States Congress. When I saw the photo of this door, closed, yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, January 6, I wondered what the door led to. Perhaps it was a side door to some office or hallway somewhere. When I realized it was the main entrance to the House chamber, I was amazed there wasn’t a steel door they could drop for security. Instead, the defenders depended on pushing furniture against the door to block it; a skimpy defense. And note the three pistols, with fingers firmly on the triggers, pointed at the faces staring through the newly broken glass of the door. There was terror in the room as our congressional representatives had no idea how many assailants were attacking the doors nor how they might be armed. The officers showed intelligent restraint and no one was shot and no one came through this door.
Then in the evening, a second photo came online and a quick comparison showed it to be the same door, the main entrance to the House. Vice President Pence is seen reentering, followed by all 99 Senators, to reconvene the joint meeting of Congress and count the final batch of electoral votes for president and vice president of the United States. Same door.
We will learn more in the coming days, weeks, months and years. But from information now available, it seems there is no secret room or hidden passage to evacuate Senators and Representatives to safety. Instead, as the north wing of the Capitol was stormed by the insurgents, security staff escorted the Senators from their chamber and led them down a basement hallway to the House chamber - and then blockaded that chamber with furniture to hold off the mob. This is a photo of the close and terrifying moment when it looked like the mob of insurgents - bent on forcing Congress to throw out the electoral votes for Biden and Harris and reinstall Trump and Pence - came closest to breaking into the House of Representatives.
But there is one more thing that must be said about the first photo, and it applies to the entire insurrection yesterday.
If those faces peering into the chamber through the broken glass had been Black faces, these security guys would have been shooting.
The anarchists apparently saw pistols pointed at their faces and backed off. Blacks are not allowed that opportunity; too often we “shoot first and ask questions later.” The hundreds or thousands who stormed and defiled our Capitol were merely ushered out a couple hours later with not a single white terrorist arrested. We will eventually learn more, and some of what we know now may prove to be slightly off, but what happened at these doors just six hours apart is amazing, because ultimately the republic stood. The six hour revolt is now over, but its impact will change things as much as 911 or Pearl Harbor. What I find horrifying is that this time it was our own - our citizens, mostly entitled white men - who tried to overthrow our government and end our democracy. All instigated and encouraged by our president just a mile away. This is treason.
And this door is now very much a part of our history.