Cleaning up American government


photo by Brett Davis (Flickr)

Protesters gather at the steps of the capitol while others looted the inside.

Digesting the past week in American politics, or even American history, is almost impossible. On Jan. 4, the first black senator from the South was elected to the U.S. Senate. Now, the nation is dealing with the aftermath of Washington D.C. being stormed and the crumbling of American.

The night of Jan. 5,  it was looking good for both Georgia senate seats to go blue; Rev. Raphael Warnock’s win was confirmed and Jon Ossoff’s seat was close, but still going his way. No one was really paying attention to the rhetoric the president was sparking on Twitter, brushing it off as his usual angered rambling.

The securing of these seats was especially important for Democrats who will now control the Senate, the House and the presidency for the first time since 2009, giving hope that progressive policy would be on its way, but this rings even more true as the nation picks up the broken shards of America left in Donald Trump’s wake.  

When the Capitol riots happened on Jan. 6, anyone paying attention was not too surprised that something of this nature happened under the guise of Trump, but this is by far the greatest display of our president being a threat to future peace, as the domestic terrorism he incited overshadows this historic and hopeful moment for Americans looking forward to the new administration.

And it was not the first time Trump was directly linked to these problems. He is heavily complicit in the violence towards D.C. Black Lives Matter protesters over the summer.  On June 1, D.C. police released tear gas and fired rubber bullets to attempt to disperse a peaceful group for the president’s planned visit at St. Johns´s episcopal church. Following this, for several days after, the national guard was deployed in front of the Lincoln Memorial while demonstrators held peaceful protests, and tear gas was continually used throughout the streets of D.C. No such show of force happened last Wednesday at the Capitol. The double standard here is blatantly obvious. 

President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris shared similar sentiments on the issue: in no way, shape or form is it acceptable to storm your country’s capitol building because you oppose an election that was conducted constitutionally. According to the incoming administration, and made clear by FBI and Department of Justice arrests this week, the gross mishandling of the situation by law enforcement will not be taken lightly.

There are videos of police officers opening the barricade to let these people through, taking selfies while the Congressional floor was being ransacked and the secret service were having a standoff with armed demonstrators. Rioters scaled walls, broke windows and kicked down the doors of the most important law-making building in the country while wearing the president’s name on their bodies, and at the time, little to no action was taken until the situation had escalated out of control. A woman was shot and killed by police after continuously attempting to break into the building. The violence is deeply saddening.

Donald J. Trump is a disgrace to the presidency, and it was clear from the beginning that he would abuse his power. He has done so throughout his entire administration, making a mockery of America for the world to see. 

Trump conceded late Thursday and made a speech saying he would promote the transition towards the new administration, then early Friday though he said he would not attend the inauguration. This is unheard of but not unexpected, and the lack of his presence will hopefully be a good sign for the new administration, which will carry on without a single resemblance to his presidency. 

There is hope that justice will finally be served and karma will catch up to Trump, but in light of previous events there is always the chance that he will escape prosecution once again. Accountability is necessary to show that what happened is unacceptable, and though Congress has a lot on their hands right now, holding Trump responsible for his actions needs to be at the top. 

Reconciling and unifying the American people will certainly be a top priority of the Biden-Harris administration, but will be extremely difficult to pull off. The Republican party seems to be destroying itself from the inside out, with its most radical members pulling stunts like these that fall back on the rest of the GOP. With a Democratic majority in power, many Republicans are sure to stay upset, and the repercussions from Wednesday’s violent actions are not setting the tone for a peaceful transition. Repairing and restoring party cooperation is sure to be one of the most defining movements of the next four years. If Biden fails to set an example and show that these kinds of actions are unacceptable he is sure to suffer the consequences later in his presidency. Although the next four years, or even two weeks, are undecided, one thing is for sure. A presidency as fatal as Trump’s can never happen again.