The nation’s capital was chillingly eerie on Election Day. You may even call it apocalyptic. My four years studying journalism adequately prepared me for every scenario imaginable, except for this one. But how could you be prepared for something like this?
We knew this election was unprecedented, unmatched, unparalleled.
But we didn’t know that our cities, our country – the land of the free, home of the brave – would turn into a downtrodden landscape of unrecognizable ghost towns.
With all that 2020 has thrown our way, I’d like to think that, in some ways, our nation has prevailed. But in this case, we have sunk further into a deep, dark abyss.
Everything was different in Washington, the city I’ve called home for most of my life.
Though it was sunny, an imaginary stormcloud enveloped the city – an aura unlike one that I’ve ever felt, undeniably ominous.
Businesses and storefronts across the city, usually buzzing with excitement, were sealed tight with plywood.
While some places have been boarded up for months amid explosive nationwide riots and protests, others spent the day preparing for the worst.
Construction crews dotted every street in a race against time to nail in just a sliver of protection for businesses both small and large. The sound of electric drills echoed through the streets – no matter which way you went, it was inescapable. If it’s any inclination as to just how much stress these crews were under, not a single one I approached had time to stop for an interview.
“We have to head to our next location,” one contractor said. “Time is running out.”
Walking through the city streets, I felt overwhelmingly unwelcome. People seemed on edge and hostile. With masks taking away our ability to flash a friendly smile, we have been challenged to learn how to engage others with our eyes. But, today, there was nothing but blank, dull stares. Business owners weren’t concerned about welcoming customers; instead, they were concerned about protecting their businesses.
I wanted to get an idea of the cost of boarding up a store, so I approached a Japanese restaurant. When I asked the owner for an interview, he said he wasn’t interested and when I asked if he could simply tell me the cost, his response shocked me.
“Don’t worry about it,” he said.
I guess protecting yourself against election violence is more important than the cost of doing so, even for small businesses already struggling to recover from the coronavirus shutdown.
The closer I got to the White House, the more surreal the experience became.
Caution tape blocked off streets that would normally be consumed by city traffic, police cars lined up on every block and Secret Service agents were lurking at every corner.
The unscalable fence built around the White House and Lafayette Park seemed to go on for eternity, and as I walked alongside it, camera in hand, I couldn’t help but wonder: how did we get here? How did our nation become so incredibly divided that a protective, impossible-to-climb fence had to be built in anticipation of violent protests on Election Night?
H street was a blatant attest to that divide.
What usually boasts a view of Lafayette Park and the White House has been transformed into an anti-Trump shrine, the fence covered top to bottom in posters expressing nothing but sheer hatred for the president.
One single group carrying reversible ‘Latinos for Trump’ signs marched through the crowd, but when I approached them to take a picture, I felt a crippling sensation of fear.
As a young female journalist, I was scared to take a picture that could link me – in any way – to this group.
I was scared that people watching would get angry and react.
I was scared to do my job.
On this historic night, I have one final parting thought.
For this nation to thrive, we must get back to unity, acceptance and understanding of viewpoints other than our own.
Regardless of which candidate wins, the strength of this country is greatest not when we are divided by hate, but when we stand united in pursuit of liberty and justice for all.
Courtney Rau is an award-winning broadcast journalist from Syracuse University, fighting the “Swamp” in our nation’s capital. You can contact her on Twitter at @courtneyrautv
JUST IN: United States Economy GREW 33.1% in Third Quarter of 2020
A new report released by the Commerce Department this week showed the American economy grew a whopping 33.1% in the third quarter of 2020 as the country struggled to return to normal during the CoVID-19 pandemic.
“Gross domestic product increased 33.1% during the three months through September, unrevised from the first estimate and in-line with the expectations of analysts surveyed by Refintiiv,” reports Fox News.
“The second estimate included upward revisions to nonresidential fixed investment, residential investment and exports. Those were offset by downward revisions to state and local government spending, private inventory investment and personal consumption expenditures. Imports, which reduce GDP, were revised higher,” adds Fox.
Financial experts cite a potential CoVID vaccine as driving the economic upturn. Doctors say an effective treatment for the contagion could be available for millions of Americans before Christmas.
Read the full report at Fox News.
DE BLAS-ED and CONFUSED: Mayor Says City Will Keep ‘Re-Opening Schools’ Days After Closing the District
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio continued to confuse millions of parents across all five boroughs Tuesday; saying he will “keep re-opening schools” despite closing the country’s largest district just days ago.
“This morning you said that when we get into December, we’re going to start re-opening schools. Can you clarify what that means?” asked one reporter.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio: "We will keep reopening schools." pic.twitter.com/gGO3HCAoCy
— The Hill (@thehill) November 24, 2020
“We’re going to be in an orange zone in December. The rules are clear. We can meet that standard, but it’s going to take a lot of work. Parents are going to have be really involved,” said the Mayor.
“It’s going to take a lot of work… We’re going to shift a lot of resources. We will keep re-opening schools,” he added.
Watch De Blasio’s comments above.