• Cindy Martinez

Storming the Gates of Democracy

On January 6, 2021 the Capitol, more specifically the Capitol was invaded by a mob of thousands of Donald Trump supporters, whose intentions were to repudiate the election results and his recent defeat. After most of the election votes were counted, and most people were sure presidential candidate Joe Biden won the election, some Trump supporters began to demonstrate their anger, and were primarily motivated to refuse the results due to Trump’s response to these events.

On January 6, members of the House and Senate met, and they were meant to formally count the votes of the Electoral College to further confirm the results of the 2020 presidential election where Biden won, 306–232. In response to this event, a group of Trump supporters managed to jump over the Capitol gate and break into the White House. When mobs got inside, they stole and vandalised items. As of right now, 64 people have been arrested. As the rioters began invading, members of Congress had to shelter in place, and they were angry at the fact that this normal democratic practice was being delayed: “This violent mob & the President who stoked their rage must be held accountable. They should not be allowed to delay our democratic processes for a minute longer. We have a Constitutional duty to certify the election,” said United States Senator Patty Murray.

On days leading up to the Senate procedure, Trump had been expressing his issues with the election results, alleging voter fraud of mail-in votes all over Twitter. On the day the Capitol was stormed, he recorded a video saying “We will never give up, we will never concede… ‘we will stop this steal’... we won this election.” These are only a small portion of comments he made the day the Capitol was invaded. As the President of the United States, he has the right to use his freedom of speech, but he should also be able to foresee the way his words may be interpreted by some of his more radical supporters. In this case, he led his supporters to believe that this invasion was the right thing to do. Trump has led most of his supporters to believe in voter fraud and after the invasion, he almost praised his supporters for their actions. On a video posted to Twitter he said “Go home now, we have to have peace… we have to respect our great people in Law and Order.” He then goes to say, somewhat contradicting himself, “This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people.” Saying this made him seem as though he was still motivating his supporters to keep rioting due to “fraud” while paradoxically striving for “peace.”

This video is what caused Trump to be banned or restricted from countless platforms such as Twitter, Reddit, Twitch, Google, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and many more. These platforms banned or restricted his accounts to prevent him from inciting violence.

After the Capitol attack five people were pronounced dead with multiple casualties. One of them was a man dreaming to be a police officer, Brian Sicknick, who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher by a mob member The other four included extremist supporters Ashli Babbitt, Kevin Greeson, Rosanne Boyland, and Benjamin Philips.

Although this was an unfortunate event, it was able to open the eyes of multiple people to the prejudice, discrimination, and injustice that people of color face. It came to many people’s attention the difference in which the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests last summer were handled in comparison to this invasion. On the days of big BLM protests in Washington, there were hundreds of guards and police officers present for the peaceful protests, in which many people were wearing masks and not carrying weapons. On the other hand, on January 6, there were significantly less officers to be seen, no masks, and many of the rioters carried weapons with them. The difference in which these two events were handled by our government will hopefully be used as a clear example of prejudice, and as an example of what not to do in the future.

I interviewed junior Michael Servin regarding this event; Servin demonstrates his anger towards the whole event by describing it as “embarrass[ing]” and “immature” to threaten the right of democracy for U.S. citizens. He goes on to add, “Despite not getting your candidate voted in, Biden was voted in through a process made to not infringe on the rights of people… This should never happen and these people are an embarrassment to every American citizen who accepted the results and didn't throw a tantrum.” His frustration is valid. Not only did this event occur at a horrible time due to the pandemic, it’s also not fair to disrespect Biden when he was chosen in a fair election. This was extremely unjust to the multiple people who accepted the election results despite their political opinions. This date will go down in history as a horrifying event that Americans will look back on for a long time as an attack against our democracy.

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