Domestic terrorism has infiltrated the heart of American legislation, the Capitol Building. I choose to call these people terrorists – “a group of people using threats and violence to further their political aims”. This seems to be the only word to accurately describe the events that unfolded.
It was a dark day for American democracy, on January 6th 2021, when the Capitol was stormed for the first time in over 200 years by its own citizens. Trump’s supporters have continued to hold conspiracy theories regarding the 2020 election about voter fraud. They coordinated an attack as the Senate gathered to confirm the election results. Quickly, elected officials found themselves escorted under police protection or barricaded in their offices. Congressmen and Congresswomen were hiding on their hands and knees, calling families and praying.
This marks a turning point for America that seems to transcend the party lines of Democrat and Republican. Whatever side of the aisle you fall on, it is indisputable that these actions are criminal and devastating. America, a country who regularly touts its global influence and patriotic ideals, has seen its own legislative branch attacked. The so-called “land of the free” includes people who refuse to accept a free and democratic election. The “home of the brave” instead houses rioters, that the President refuses to condemn.
The parallel that is immediately apparent to most people is the political and legal reactions to these “protests” and the protests that took place in the summer of 2020, supporting the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM). In 2020, Black Americans and their allies were routinely tear-gassed, assaulted and disparaged in the media. For 9 BLM protestors who demonstrated in the streets, they lost their lives fighting for their cause.
The fact is, Donald Trump is complicit in this act of terrorism and played a direct part in the violent coup that occurred.
The overwhelming majority of BLM protests were peaceful and followed the COVID-19 safety measures of their states. In stark contrast, Trump’s supporters arrived maskless and ready to instigate violence. BLM protestors were immediately vilified by Trump calling the movement a “symbol of hate” filled with “thugs”. The Capitol rioters received a personal message of love from the President. BLM Protestors gathered for the simple and undeniable cause of demanding that Black lives were given the same level of respect and dignity afforded to other citizens. The Trump supporters were fueled with anger at the fact that a fair and democratic election was lost. The scenes at the Capitol explicitly show that the racial disparity that has existed in America for centuries is still present. The fact that there is a set of rules for Black Americans and an entirely different set for White Americans. It also shows that the BLM movement and their protests can’t be left and forgotten in 2020 – sweeping changes still need to be implemented.
The actions that took place were horrifying, but they should not be surprising. A rabid mob has been incited and incensed by a President that refused to concede but instead peddled false claims. The fact is, Donald Trump is complicit in this act of terrorism and played a direct part in the violent coup that occurred.
The sad reality is that, thanks to Donald Trump’s delusions, there are people within that mob who sincerely believe that the election was fraudulent. The temptation may be to approach the situation with logic and reason, but most of those people are too far gone. They will continue to spout fringe conspiracies and resolutely believe they are correct. The real focus should be on next steps. Inauguration Day is still happening on 20th January 2021 and Joe Biden will be elected. Right now, America is as polarised as ever and the divide widens every day. But before America can begin to heal, the people of the country at least need to be operating with the same facts and living in the same reality as each other.
An election was held. Donald Trump lost and Joe Biden won. A new President will soon be inaugurated. It’s time for America to move on from the Trump era.