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Americans Reflect And Process After The Violence At The Capitol


OK. This is an extraordinary moment in history - the pandemic, an attack on Congress, uncertainty about where we are and where we're going, who we are. NPR correspondents talked with people across this nation. And NPR's Jeff Brady collected their responses.

JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: In Philadelphia, 37-year-old Charlotte Greer-Brown has a grim view of the current state of the country.

CHARLOTTE GREER-BROWN: We are no longer the United States of America. We are the divided states of America.

BRADY: She sees recent events as an extension of the country's history of systemic racism. But she has hope, saying sometimes it gets really bad before it gets better.

GREER-BROWN: Once all the explosion is over, we'll see the true Americans that are here. Black America, white America, whatever group you're from are here to help improve humankind.

BRADY: Nearby, 27-year-old Aaron Randolph says if Black people had been behind the Capitol insurrection, police would have behaved more aggressively. He says the country feels chaotic now. And that's not just politics. He works at a local hospital, cleaning rooms where COVID patients are cared for. Randolph is a Democrat and looks forward to a Biden administration.

AARON RANDOLPH: We've got to get things back in order. We've got to get people back to work. Kids should go back to school. That's where I would like to see us headed - and, you know, get the economy back up and running, get Black people some help - the help that they need.

BRADY: In Birmingham, Republican Andrea Powers also is happy Trump is leaving office. She voted for him in 2016. But now she blames Trump for inciting violence at the Capitol.

ANDREA POWERS: To sit here as what I think of as a moderate, even as a conservative, and to see people committing acts of violence in the name of so much of what I hold dear is appalling. It's sad.

BRADY: Debbie Dooley also condemns the violence at the Capitol, but she remains loyal to Trump. Dooley is a longtime conservative activist and says she supports Trump even over her own party.

DEBBIE DOOLEY: From now on, if a candidate in the Republican primary - the Republican nominee - is not a Trumpian Republican, I'm not going to vote for them.

BRADY: Dooley says Democrats treated Trump unfairly over the last four years, and she's ready to return the favor.

DOOLEY: You see Democrats talking about unity, but then they're going after Donald Trump and his supporters. And I mean, we're not going to be united. I'm - you know, I'm going to spend the next four years resisting Joe Biden and treating him just like the Democrats treated Donald Trump.

BRADY: In the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, outside the post office, 80-year-old Republican Jim Donovan says he still supports President Trump, too. He thinks the country can move past last week's insurrection.

JIM DONOVAN: We'll get over it, I hope. In the '60s and the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations and all that - we got over it.

BRADY: As the wind picks up, Colleen Broderick, who voted for Biden, says she's not so sure. She worries about misinformation and lies, including the president and members of Congress falsely arguing the election was stolen from Trump.

COLLEEN BRODERICK: We're not, as a country, just debating political theories or what your stand is on a political thing. Now what it comes down to is we're debating human decency.

BRADY: In Orange County, Calif., Ricardo Ramos is an immigrant from Argentina and a stay-at-home dad. He says sometimes it feels like the country is falling apart.

RICARDO RAMOS: I went from angry to sad to depressed. But I will stay with hope. I'm hopeful that something new is coming.

BRADY: With all that's happening now, Ramos takes comfort in his family.

RAMOS: When I see that even though in the worst pandemic, the worst economic crisis and the government that is going nowhere - we are together. We are together.

BRADY: Joe Biden has vowed to unify the country. And most of those we talked with hope he can.

Jeff Brady, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Jeff Brady is a National Desk Correspondent based in Philadelphia, where he covers energy issues and climate change. Brady helped establish NPR's environment and energy collaborative which brings together NPR and Member station reporters from across the country to cover the big stories involving the natural world.