I remember hearing about a Sarah-Palin-like figure who would be my generation’s representation of the newest Republican leaders. Due to my own white complacency, I hadn’t realized how incredibly dangerous this woman, who now represents Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, could be.
On Jan. 6, violent domestic terrorism was done to the U.S. Capitol by white supremacists. During this siege of the Capitol, Rep. Lauren Boebert was scrutinized for live-tweeting where the speaker of the House was. One year before the siege, Boebert was seen in a photo at a rally at the Colorado Capitol with members of the Three Percenters, a paramilitary group that believes it has a duty to protect Americans against tyranny. The Three Percenters are known for violent attacks including the ransacking of the Capitol Jan. 6, the plot to kill Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and their involvement in 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Boebert’s recent congressional campaign embraced the far-right militia movement. In August 2020 a member of the Three Percenters posted a call for volunteers to attend Boebert’s appearance in Pueblo. Boebert’s campaign reportedly invited the militia directly. A RealVail article referenced a tweet from Boebert, from June 2020, stating, “I am the militia.” Members of far-right, neo-fascist groups bolstered her campaign.
The Three Percenters showed up to “guard” an entrance to a March 2017 pro-Trump rally with assault-style weapons. Not only did the Three Percenters participate in the violent white supremacist Unite the Right rally, but member Alex Ramos participated in an assault on a Black man in a parking garage in Charlottesville with other white supremacists. The Three Percenters also have cooperated with other extremist groups, like the Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys.
It is clear that Boebert walks a very fine line of being associated with white supremacists. Two days before the siege Boebert created a commercial that was based on one objective: showcasing her intent to bring her Glock to Capitol Hill. A week after the siege, as metal detectors went up at the Capitol’s entrance to ensure the safety of Capitol staff and Senate and House leaders, Boebert had a standoff with Capitol officers. Boebert continues to entice her followers by displaying how close she gets to violence by association, like being at a rally with an anti-government paramilitary group. She also has become completely mute to any criticism, as she was recently sued in federal court for blocking one of her constituents. She also recently made a joke on Twitter about getting her hair done in the House chambers in order to avoid wearing a mask.
Lauren Boebert does not believe the rules apply to her.
Boebert is not the first to exercise privilege or have affiliation with violent white supremacists. White women have been known for weaponizing their racial identity and utilizing their white femininity as a way to incite white terrorism against communities of color for a long time. There is a long history of white women exercising their power and privilege in this way. As a congresswoman with just shy of half a million followers, Boebert is in a position to activate white supremacist groups — much like they were activated on Jan. 6. As we reconcile with the insidious ways that people and systems have upheld racism, we cannot forget the consequences that white women have on fueling and activating the violence we have seen throughout centuries, just like the violence we saw on Jan. 6.
There have been thousands of lynchings executed because white women claimed Black men assaulted them, raped them, or glanced at them. The most famous and generally known example of this is the insidious murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was killed after an accusation that he merely looked at a white woman (his torturers beat him, then put a bullet in his head, and threw his body into the Tallahatchie River, after tying it to a cotton gin fan with barbed wire). A few years ago, that same woman admitted that she had lied. Even worse, the destruction of Black Wall Street was incited by a white woman elevator operator, who claimed that a Black man stepped on her toes, and up to 300 people subsequently died.
We have seen a history of white male politicians who have historically focused on the claim to defend white women. Once slavery had lawfully been stopped we saw white male politicians use the invalidated and racist fear of the rape of white women by Black men to sustain racial terror. Today is no different, except now those white women are politicians themselves, and everyone has access to a large concentration of white supremacists through the internet.
Boebert’s affiliation with white supremacist groups is just a little too close to home. Her following has been activated by the former Trump administration, and she is primed to incite further violence in incredibly destructive ways. Even with a change in administration, we need to keep Rep. Boebert accountable, in every move she makes, to ensure she knows the rules apply to her. We have seen history repeat itself enough.