Opinion

Terrorism, Not Patriotism

On Jan. 6, an angry mob of Trump supporters surrounded and stormed the Capitol, leaving five dead and the strength of our democracy in question.

Early that day, a joint session of Congress met to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. When the Arizona results were announced and Republicans objected to the people’s decision, they were sent to their respective chambers for debate.

Even earlier that day, Trump held a ‘Save America’ protest in DC, where he repeatedly discounted the results of a democratic election. He said, “we’re going to the Capitol,” and we need to show Republicans and Democrats “the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”  His supporters took this incitement of a riot seriously and moved to the Capitol.

The rioters stormed past police barricades, climbed walls, broke windows, and made their way inside the Capitol. People were seen inside the rotunda, the Senate chamber, and even sitting at Nancy Pelosi’s desk. There were violent clashes with police inside and outside the Capitol, and many took to looting priceless objects from inside. However, videos online show some police removing barricades and even taking selfies with the rioters.

After hours of limited resistance from our law enforcement, the police seized back the Capitol, and Congress reconvened to certify Biden’s win the next morning.

Let’s not mince words. These were domestic terrorists, riled up by the president’s refusal to accept the election results. This was the inevitable buildup of telling people their vote doesn’t matter and that Trump is the only way to save their country from complete destruction.

Myself and others have been hesitant to call the extremely nationalistic, xenophobic, and authoritarian Trump supporters fascists. After today, I have no doubt. These violent fascists stormed the Capitol in an attempt to cause fear and overturn the results of a free and fair election, aided and abetted by a sitting president of the United States.

The agenda of these fascists and terrorists is transparent: the protection of Trump, no matter the cost or consequence. ‘Law and order’ meant the brutal oppression of people of color. ‘Blue lives matter’ meant that Black lives don’t. ‘Stop the count’ meant that democracy means nothing to them. Force and violence are legitimate means of achieving their goals.

Millions are rightfully angry after seeing the brutal suppression of non-violent protestors last year at Black Lives Matter rallies protesting the deaths of innocent people, while that same police opened the barricades and took selfies with white terrorists.

I repeatedly ask myself: What if they were Muslim? What if they were Black? Would the police act the same way?

The answer is no. Many of our law enforcement see Blackness as criminal and whiteness as a free pass. Trump needs to be held accountable for his actions before, during, and after the attack on the Capitol.

Mike Pence and the cabinet need to invoke the 25th Amendment to take power from a president clearly unfit for office. Congress needs to convene to impeach, remove, and convict the president for encouraging an attack on our nation’s Capitol building.

When Trump had a chance to call them off and condemn them, he didn’t. He took to Twitter to repeat lies about the election, telling the rioters to “go home” while still saying “we love you, you’re very special.” He took to Twitter later that day to say “Remember this day forever!” Yes, we will.

What does this attack say about our nation and the Trump Wing of the Republican Party?

For one, it shows our nation is very fragile. An angry mob was able to invade our Capitol, cause panic, loot, and then leave. When Benjamin Franklin was asked about our form of government, he said “A republic, if you can keep it.” A democracy only works when our people accept the results of its elections, no matter the outcome.

On the other hand, this attack showed the strength of our government. Thousands of people and the words of the president himself were not able to stop our democracy and the results of our election. Leaders of both parties are now looking to hold Trump accountable for his actions.

At the end of the day, Trump has a limited number of allies left and a limited amount of time left before Biden is inaugurated. Our democracy has lived another day.

However, this attack showed how far some in our country are willing to go to overturn our very democracy. If this is not addressed and people top-to-bottom are not held accountable, this will only be the beginning.

Featured image: The Capitol building on January 6, 2021. Unmodified image by TapTheForwardAssist used under a Creative Commons license. (https://bit.ly/2LH4NaY)

Check out other recent articles from the Florida Political Review here.      

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