By Ian Teunissen van Manen
North America Analyst
The events at the US Capitol building on January 6th will undoubtedly go down as one of the more shameful moments of US history. Horrific scenes of the Confederate flag being flown in the halls of the center of American Democracy will not soon be forgotten, nor should it be. This was a clear indication of what many have known for years: there is something seriously wrong in the US. The division, polarisation, disdain for other human beings and the disregard for the sanctity of democratic elections that were on display at the Capitol and throughout other moments over the past four years are deeply, deeply concerning.
What does this mean for the US going forward? I do not wish to be the pessimist, but it is increasingly clear that if the US does not confront or engage with its problems on a national, federal, and societal level, these problems will get worse. Although President-elect Biden preaches unity, and has won on that message, he and his administration will have an unbelievably difficult task as they try to heal the nation’s wounds. The damage caused by the Trump Administration will not be fixed in the next 4 years, and it will require more than Joe Biden. Yet again, if the issues of racism, classism, wealth distribution, inequality, and more are not dealt with head-on, these issues will remain and fester until they are no longer able to be resolved.
In the more immediate future, the events at the Capitol bring security concerns for the Inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States. Inauguration is always a large event, rife with security concerns, but after people were seemingly able to easily get past the normally air-tight Capitol security, Inauguration security will undoubtedly need to be reassessed. President Trump has indicated that he will not be attending the inauguration of his successor, something that has rarely occurred in US history. However, questions remain as to whether Trump’s supporters are looking to stage another rally or protest, and what these events may look like.
There have also been motions filed in the US House of Representatives to Impeach President Trump once again, but at this moment it is not clear how much support a second impeachment would have when it reaches the Senate.
In short, the attack at the US Capitol was the culmination of four years of growing tensions in the US. With Trump’s continued insistence that the election was “stolen”, and members of Congress supporting and even amplifying these claims, there are roughly 74 million US citizens who do not believe that Trump lost and believe that the election was fraudulent. I fear that the Capitol was only the beginning, and 2021 will be a year of civil unrest.
(Image credit to The San Diego Union Tribune)