Damaged Democracy

The United States Capitol, otherwise known as the Capitol Building, is where Congress meets to write the laws of our nation, and where Presidents are inaugurated and deliver their annual State of the Union messages. On January 6th 2021, this building suffered an attack where rioters vandalized the building, invaded rooms, and threatened the safety of Congressmembers. What happened was terrifying and outrageous, but not all that surprising.

It was in essence a culmination of anger that built up among Pro-Trump mobs and was finally released with an act of domestic terrorism. Many rioters believed the election results were unfair, despite The Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Judicial Courts, and Election Officials all explaining there was no evidence of voter fraud or corruption. Not to mention recounts that occured in states like Georgia and Wisconsin which only further confirmed the results. January 6th was the day that the electoral votes would be counted and Biden was to be confirmed President-elect. It is clear that these terrorists, as well as Donald Trump himself, did not want that moment to come. 

This day was disappointing but may not have come as a surprise for American citizens, especially if they had come across Trump’s twitter account. In the coming weeks before the electoral count Trump has been inciting this behavior and promoting a protest in Washington D.C. Some tweets include, “….Republican Senators have to get tougher, or you won’t have a Republican Party anymore. We won the Presidential Election, by a lot. FIGHT FOR IT. Don’t let them take it away!” posted on Dec. 18. If this wasn’t direct enough, the next day in a tweet praising Peter Navarro who alleged election fraud, Trump says: “A great report by Peter. Statistically impossible to have lost the 2020 Election. Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!” These tweets and his refusal to concede are being thoroughly considered as threats to democracy. Politicians and experts argue that he has committed treason and should be impeached under Title 18, Chapter 115, Section 2383 of the United States Code. This section about rebellion and insurrection states “Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States”. This is not the first time Trump has been put up for impeachment but it will be the last.

In the time between that sixth day of the new year which will go down in history, the Capitol building has since been used to host the traditional Inauguration for the 46th President of the United States. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in as the President and Vice President and kicked off executive orders within the first few hours. Biden acknowledges the riot’s effects but reassures citizens that unity is present, saying “now, on this hallowed ground where just days ago violence sought to shake this Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries.”

Another acknowledgement during the inauguration was given to Eugene Goodman, a Capitol Police Officer who was crucial in facilitating safety. During the insurrection he diverted a mob of rioters and led them away from the Senate Chamber. This brave officer was rewarded with a promotion and the opportunity to escort Vice President Harris at the Inauguration. Despite all the madness and chaos of this month, it was relieving to see that certain heroes were recognized. Social media and internet users worldwide are praising Goodman for his courage and dedication to the safety of American politicians and citizens.

While these rioters luckily did not succeed in their endeavors, they have caused significant damage and posed as a direct threat to American democracy. The United States of America is to serve as a symbol of democracy and spread the message of “liberty, peace, and justice for all”. The Capitol Riot on January 6th shows once again to countries across the world that corruption, chaos, and distrust are present in this ‘exemplary’ government.