Crisis in Capitol
On Wednesday, January 6th, American democracy and its security were under attack as protesters barged into the U.S. Capitol and began rioting as the electoral college results were being finalized. This undoubtedly was a historic moment for all citizens.
Prior to the event, President Trump addressed a rally on Ellipse of the White House, “The Democrats are hopeless, they never vote for anything. Not even one vote. But we’re going to try and give our Republicans, the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”
Sophomores Jon Rogers and Elysia Morales, and Mishawaka 2020 alumni Alaina Dentino, did not take this lightly.
“I don’t like politics because I don’t like being confrontational, but I think if Pete Buttigieg and Mike Pence can agree that it was bad, that’s how you know it was bad,”
Rogers said. “What happened to our Capitol makes me feel sad because those protestors are such a small amount compared to the mass of America. It’s embarrassing because those few people are the face of America right now,”
“This event makes me feel kinda confused as to what happened to America. I know we have different views, but I don’t know why we can’t just come together and be the country that we were. I would really like us to look at each other as people instead of just sides.”
The question on many people’s minds is whether or not the rioters were treated differently on account of their race? Rogers and Morales (both democrats) agreed that, yes, white privilege is a definite aspect of America, “But it depends on what kind of person you are, your character, and background,”
Dentino (republican) said,
“I do understand why some people say that; there’s wrong on both sides...But, I feel like there’s also a stereotype where just because you’re white and you’re a republican, then you’re automatically racist, when that’s not even the case at all.”
Regardless of one’s political views, what American citizens witnessed that Wednesday was a test of democracy- how far the president will go to ensure his power just days before the end of his term, and how far his supporters are willing to listen.
“Some of the things he ⁅Trump⁆ says kind of hint at what he wants his supporters to do.” stated Morales, “Although he doesn’t come right out and say it, he still puts intention behind the words he says, and the intentionality of a president is really big… There’s a point in time when you have to admit you are wrong and not feed the fire.”
“I would definitely agree that he ⁅Trump⁆ is power-hungry,” said Dentino, “I definitely like him more because he is a republican, but at the same time, what he’s doing- I don’t fully support it… In this last election, none of the candidates were splendid.”
“I wish we could have a president who would think about both sides and do it for America other than just the name ⁅job title⁆,”
From Rogers’ perspective,
“This event gave me respect for a lot of politicians that I didn’t respect ⁅Todd Young, Mike Pence.⁆ I don’t agree with what they say ninety percent of the time, but this time made me realize that they’re people and they’re just doing their job. I loop them in as bad altogether because they work under Trump, but this gave me some respect for them even though I may not like them. They put the responsibilities of their job ahead of what everyone thought they were going to do.”
This time we are living is confusing in every sense of the word. With a pandemic, a second impeachment process, and a peaceful transition of presidential power hanging in the balance, one can only hope for better, less-divisional days in democracy.
Dentino said, “I stand for what I stand for, but I’m a people person. I just believe that this is America, and people fought for everyone to come together, not to judge each other for their views.”
Following the attack at the Capitol, the president sent out this message in a video via Twitter,
“We have to have peace. We can’t play into the hands of these people...Go home, we love you.”
His account was later suspended after making it clear that he would not attend president-elect Joe Biden’s Inauguration.