Samantha Bee did her first field piece since the pandemic started on Wednesday’s Full Frontal, interviewing four people arrested for exercising their right to peacefully protest at the U.S. Capitol. And by “field piece” we mean, she took her cameras, some heaters, and an old TV with a long extension cord out to the middle of an actual, snowy, cold-as-balls field. There, she sat down with a quartet of masked protesters who’ve been handcuffed, manhandled, humiliated, and otherwise treated like common criminals for leading protests at the U.S. Capitol Building.
Now, we’ve all seen the all-too-predictable creep of puff pieces and gullible amplifications of the excuses, motivations (apparently, it was “economic anxiety,” again, guys), and grievances of the people who stormed the Capitol on January 6th in an attempt to kill people, break and steal stuff, and overthrow American democracy. Luckily, one look at Bee’s assembled interviewees tipped viewers off to the fact that those are not the protesters Full Frontal was giving a megaphone to. You know, since one was a Black man (public advocate Jumaane Williams), one was a woman in a wheelchair (Disability EmpowerHer Network co-founder Stephanie Woodward), and the two appearing via TV screen were a couple of 90-year old nuns (Sisters Joann Persch and Pat Murphy of the Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants). Plus, the outside guests were wearing masks both for responsible COVID safety and because it was, as mentioned, cold as balls. And not to hide their identities while they (as shown in even-more-harrowing-than-you-thought detail during yesterday’s impeachment testimony) stalking the seat of Congress looking to murder lawmakers.
Bee was making the point that the people who violently attempted a Republican-abetted coup because their guy lost a free and fair election were treated, comparatively, like kings. Or, well, like white people loudly and destructively pitching a murderous fit. That compared to, say, how Williams was thrown around and arrested for leading a peaceful protest while Black over an unjust deportation. Or how those nuns (who, again, were 90) had their brittle arms cuffed behind their backs (despite a nun-polite request that the Capitol Police cuff them in front) for holding up signs protesting Donald Trump’s inhumane immigration purges. Oh, and then there was wheelchair user Woodward, whose protest against life-threatening GOP cuts to health coverage saw five Capitol cops hoist her out of her chair, dump her on the sidewalk outside, and then use her wheelchair to ferry other disabled activists out of the building.
No selfies with cops, no pledges of true love from their president on Twitter, no Capitol Police officers politely asking them if they need anything while they were occupying the Senate chamber, no cushy, hair-stroking interviews on Fox News telling them they were the real patriots—nothing. As the shivering Bee asked her guests what the difference was between their protests for the rights of the underprivileged and voiceless and the mob of yahoos literally on a kill-crazy mission to destroy America, the quartet refrained from eye rolling to explain, yeah, it’s white supremacy. “If you’re pushing to uphold the systems of supremacy and privilege, you’ll be given the guided tour,” said Williams, pretty much summing things up. With Bee asking if “thoughts and prayers” were the only way to combat this still-festering rash of thuggish white grievance, even the nuns weren’t biting, Murphy exhorting that prayer is well and good, “But you have to put your body on the line” while you talk and listen. She did grant Bee a dispensation from having to ever listen to anything Ted Cruz (R-TX) says, however. The lady’s a nun, not a saint, people.