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House Republicans vote against award for officers

Last month, 12 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives voted against awarding Congressional Gold Medals to the Capitol police who protected the building and members of Congress during the events and aftermath of Jan. 6.

Among those representatives were some of Trump’s strongest supporters in Congress, including Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA-R), Matt Gaetz (FL-R), and Bob Good (VA-R).

They chalked it up to the language in the bill. They disagreed with the inclusion of words like “insurrectionists” to describe the mob that attacked the Capitol and “temple of democracy” to describe the Capitol building.

But aren’t these people of the same camp that believes “blue lives matter”? The people who stormed the Capitol harassed and harmed the police officers protecting the building. One officer, Brian Sicknick, was killed. If the Republican party wanted to honor police officers, this was their chance. 

Their dissent leaves one wondering, has Blue Lives Matter ever really been about protecting blue lives?

The Blue Lives Matter movement came to a head this summer in response to the Black Lives Matter protests. As horror stories of Trump supporters attacking more than 50 Capitol police officers began to emerge in the days following Jan. 6, it’s hard to believe that the Blue Lives Matter campaign was ever focused on protecting the men and women in blue.

Rather, it seems that Blue Lives Matter became a weapon of racism — a way to push a narrative of violence on Black protestors and justify the white supremacy existing within the criminal justice system.

Throughout last summer, Republicans talked about Blue Lives Matter in equivalence to Black Lives Matter, arguing that “blue” lives were in as much danger as Black lives. However, there’s no such thing as a “blue” life. Police officers choose their profession. They apply, train and work knowing they’re in a dangerous field. A Black person doesn’t choose to be Black. No one murders a cop just because they’re a cop. Black people are killed simply for existing.

Blue Lives Matter is a scapegoat of sorts. It allows some people who are against the Black Lives Matter movement to mask their true feelings of racism and hatred toward Black lives with support for the police officers who oppress them. When the same people who supported Blue Lives Matter stormed the Capitol and beat up police officers, they made something clear — blue lives don’t matter to them unless those blue lives are suppressing Black lives.

The insurrectionists at the Capitol aimed to overturn election results. They hoped to harm and kill members of Congress. They erected gallows and yelled: “Execute the traitors!”

When police officers tried to fight back against this mob, they were pulled into crowds by their legs. They were punched. They were shoved down flights of stairs. They were crushed in doors and beaten with hockey sticks and flag poles. Sicknick was murdered.

What happened to those people’s support for police officers during last summer’s protests? It seems they only care about the cops when the cops are upholding pillars of racism that benefit white people and harm minorities, specifically Black people. When those same police officers fought off that violent mob of people who supposedly cared about their wellbeing, that support was forgotten.

Blue Lives Matter is about protecting white supremacy and the institutional oppression of Black Americans. It’s about perpetuating a narrative that Black people are to be feared and justifying the murders of innocent and undeserving human beings. It’s clear to see because when examining the events of Jan. 6, one thing is for sure.

It’s never been about the cops.

Charlotte Matherly is a junior media arts and design major. Contact Charlotte at mathercg@dukes.jmu.edu.