The Power of Our Politics

Communications Director Remmington Belford Shares His Experience Being on Capitol Hill the Day of the Insurrection and How It Was the Result of the Power of Our Politics.

Let me be very clear: what took place on January 6th in the United States Capitol building was an act of domestic terrorism, period. Witnessing the insurrection has dramatically altered the way in which I experience democracy and dramatically exacerbated my pride in being a Black man, a Black queer man who works on Capitol Hill.

I remember being in the Capitol that morning and seeing hordes of sycophantic supremacists protesting outside the Capitol. Working on Capitol Hill, you become accustomed to people exercising their First Amendment right and protesting regularly. I dropped off my boss, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, as normal, for a procedural vote and within minutes we noticed that the protesters had bypassed some of the primary barricades and had entered a space reserved for members of Congress. This was concerning, but at that point, I was certain there would be a considerable response that would halt this protest in his tracks. I thought this because — let's be frank — it was the United States Capitol. When Congress is in and out of session, we have an expectation of security. I had no doubt the Capitol would be protected by whatever means necessary.

After the procedural vote, my boss and I headed back to our office, when we encountered a Capitol Police Officer and heard a directive for all Capitol Police Officers to “man their posts”. What was most alarming was the tone that came over the radio — fear, concern, and urgency. Once we got back to our office, we closed the door and turned on the TV to watch in horror as these sycophantic supremacists pushed past the barriers put in place to protect members of Congress and the staff. Then a campus-wide communication system instructed us to “barricade ourselves in our offices, stay away from doors and windows, and to refrain from using technology”. In that moment my fear grew immensely. It morphed into grave concern for my life. On CNN we watched rioters fashion spears from flagpoles, which they used to shatter bulletproof glass, race into the Capitol.

What I want everyone to understand is whe