By Gretel Cuevas
While Congress convened to certify the electoral victory of Joe Biden, the United States Congress came under attack after hundreds of Trump supporters violently broke in. Holding arms and flags protesters entered the Capitol after President Trump ended his speech calling his supporters to march on Congress. After months of conspiracy theories about election fraud and hateful speeches, the United States is currently at a national emergency where something greater than the 2020 election is at stake: American Democracy.
Violent protesters occupied the House, Senate floors, and various offices after smashing various windows and doors impeding a peaceful transition of power. A woman, who has now been reported dead, was shot in the Capitol ground and dozens of others were injured in the riot. During the attack, Vice President Pence and senators were evacuated to an unknown location while Representatives were sheltered in the House chamber protected by armed officers. Soon after the riot began, D.C. Mayor, Muriel Bowser, ordered a citywide curfew that will last until 6 a.m. on Thursday.
President Trump, instead of managing the crisis, asked people on Twitter to go home after once again claiming the election was stolen and describing his supporters as “very special people.” The president’s reaction demonstrates once again Trump’s incapacity to behave like a head of State who prioritises the country’s safety above personal interests. Four lives were lost and thousands more were put at risk as a consequence of Trump’s reluctance to accept the election results and promote unity among the American people.
World leaders from various countries have condemned the violent event in Washington classifying it as “horrifying,” “shameful”, and “shocking.” It is now clear that the United States is no longer the international paragon of Democracy and that Trump’s presidency has left a deep scar on U.S. institutions and social thread.
Although the Capitol has now been secured, Wednesday’s insurrection demonstrates the current fragility of American Democracy and the legacy of a presidency characterised by the abuse of power and complete disrespect of law and institutions. Wednesday’s attack has made clear that president-elect, Joe Biden, will enter the White House during a power transition where peace and stability are not even an illusion.
(Image credit to NDTV news)