Entertainment

Let This British Guy Tell Americans Exactly Who We Are

This seven-minute ITV segment is a wildlife documentary of Trump supporters. It debunks the notion that America is better than this.
Ashwin Rodrigues
Brooklyn, US
January 7, 2021, 9:01pm
ITV Washington Correspondent Robert Moore
Screenshot via YouTube

Yesterday, a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building. The mob featured Holocaust deniers, neo-Nazis, Proud Boys, former and current police officers, a QAnon Shaman, and at least one elected official—West Virginia's Derrick Evans—stupid enough to record himself participating in an insurrection. One woman was fatally shot, and three other people died. The day ended with chuds kicking back at their hotel, cooling off after their Day of Judgement scrimmage.

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Because the average supporter looked like a Brad instead of Bashir, people struggled to understand what was happening. And despite the very white nature of the event, talking heads made a point to compare Washington, D.C. to other majority-brown places like Baghdad or Kabul or Bogotá. The subtext: We're supposed to secretly foment coups like this in other countries, not here!

During times of white violence, politicians (and politicians’ children) also love to make the profoundly stupid and untrue statement, "This is not who we are." What "this" means, or who "we" refers to, is purposely unclear. It's a way to say "I don't like this, or at least the optics of it." So maybe it takes a third party to tell us who we are. 

Perhaps because of deeply internalized colonialism and a consistent barrage of films starring Hugh Grant in the 90s, and Robert Chase, the doctor (who I’ve since been reminded was actually Australian) on the TV series House, M.D., Americans assign a higher degree of seriousness to anything recited with a British accent. So this seven-minute video from London-based ITV might serve well as a centering exercise. Let this British man tell us: this is exactly who we are. 

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ITV's Washington Correspondent Robert Moore succinctly described the mob as "intoxicated by the unlikely prospect of reversing America's election outcome." It's like the Cletus safari reinterpreted as a wildlife documentary, albeit with less natural beauty and more MAGA merch. Of course, the British can draw parallels from this mob and its own nationalist movement, a la Brexit.

"In no way was this a surprise," Moore says, as a pack of Trump loyalists stream past him.

One man yells about how this mob used to be "normal, law-abiding citizens," but "the government did this" to them. At 2:51, the same man is seen approaching the camera, yelling, "We're normal!" before the video cuts to the next scene.

The segment does fail to capture the cops posing for a photo op with terrorists, or the cops letting the mob overtake the Capitol in what's comically feeble in its most gracious interpretation, if not proof of collaboration with the coup-attempters. 

"America's long journey as a stable democracy appears to be in genuine doubt," Moore concludes. It's all glaringly obvious, but from an outsider perspective, maybe it will ring true for some, for the first time. It's time to learn who "we" are, because it's not going to change anytime soon.

This article has been updated to correct Dr. Chase’s nationality, which is Australian.

Follow Ashwin Rodrigues on Twitter.