by Hailey Sepulvado ‘22
“Blue Lives Matter” is a phrase that is used by many MAGA supporters as a response to Black Lives Matter. They shouted it in counter-protests all throughout the summer, made it into flags, merchandise, and have continued to use it as a way to show what they say is their support to law enforcement. As long as people were chanting “Black Lives Matter,” they were proclaiming that “Blue Lives Matter.”
The attack on the Capitol on January 6 served as evidence that MAGA supporters, or certainly the ones who stormed the Capitol, never cared about the police; they just never cared about the Black community. Rioters at the Capitol had absolutely zero respect for the police when they pushed and stampeded past them while running up the steps of the Capitol. They most certainly had zero respect for Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick when they relentlessly beat him to death. Two police officers died by suicide following the Capitol attack and many of them now have severe emotional trauma resulting from that day. If these people truly believed that “Blue Lives Matter” they would not have injured close to 140 of them.
FOX News, the conservative and pro-Trump media outlet, did not air the ceremony where officer Sicknick was honored in the Capitol rotunda. After months of criticizing the BLM movement and continuously showing their “support” for police, FOX did not even give respect to a fallen officer. FOX chose to not air this ceremony as other cable news channels did because it would have to admit that MAGA supporters murdered a Capitol Police Officer at an insurrection incited by Trump.
Along with conservative media outlets, multiple members of the Republican party have preached false claims and exasperated conspiracy theories about the January 6 insurrection. Multiple members of the GOP believe that this event was not a riot or insurrection, rather a “festive” and “jovial” event, showing American spirit and patriotism. Obviously, this could not be farther from the truth, but far-right politicians refuse to admit that this event was a deadly, injury-inducing insurrection produced by the Big Lie that the election was stolen from Trump. Only a couple of weeks after the attack, Congress moved to impeach Trump for the second time, charging him with “high crimes and misdemeanors.”. In the Democrat-majority House, Trump was impeached with only 11 Republican members voting for impeachment, and in the Senate, he was acquitted when only seven Republicans voted against Trump. The failure to convict Trump of his crimes shows the strong denial coursing through many republicans, and the loyalty they have for a man who incited a deadly insurrection.
The phrase “Black Lives Matter” began in 2013, following the acquittal of the man who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, in order to combat violence and systematic racism. Blue Lives Matter was created in 2014 by three police officers following the death of two other officers, but soon turned its purpose towards being the Black Lives Matter Movement’s strongest opposition. Since the two phrases are so similar in wording many see it as mocking the Black Lives Matter movement instead of supporting the police. Shouting “Blue Lives Matter” opposite of people protesting for justice and for their lives to be valued the same as a white person’s, is extremely offensive and deeply hurts and saddens people in the Black community. What has become even more clear since January 6 is that many MAGA supporters have never cared about the police, they just don’t care about Black lives.