The horror that unfolded on January 6, as I watched CNN’s report showed a frenzied mob, who had taken over the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C, and left me motionless and anxious. This was the culmination of a rally which was fueled by delusional claims by Donald J. Trump and others, that the election was rigged and urged on to descend on Washington to agitate against President-elect Biden’s victory. The past-President conned his base into believing that Vice President Pence could alter the results and allow him to return to office for another four years (another lie) if he wanted to. Eventually getting these misinformed, easily persuaded persons so riled up that they were prepared to take any action necessary when they arrived at the Capitol.
The perception usually holds that Republicans never burn cities but Democrats do, and that since Democrats were also the ones who cried “Defund the Police,” it would stand to reason they would be the ones who would advocate violence and Republicans would be seen as the Law & Order party.
As I waited, anticipating the arrival of a Branch of our Military Forces coming to the rescue of our Parliamentarians and bringing an end to the uprising, – nothing happened for more than an hour. Our Forces who are so well trained and capable that they’re deployed at the behest of our Allies to neutralize threats in other countries and even provide assistance by occupying other countries during emergencies. But on this day, in spite of the helicopters and drones flying overhead, not to mention several levels of security that surrounded the Capital Building, there was no help readily available to quell the insurrection. Local police were totally overwhelmed by these protestors (“Patriots” as QAnon choose to call themselves) turned anarchists for hours.
We all know the outcome – five people including police died, some were injured; threats were made against our Vice President, the Speaker of the House and others who serve; many suffered severe trauma and a historic building was horrendously defaced. There will be long lasting scars that many who survived, will live with for years to come.
Upon reflection I was reminded that at the age of 16, I was living in a developing nation that found itself in similar chaos. A breakdown in Law & Order resulting from the spread of political propaganda and the ruling party’s failure to maintain economic stability resulted in a total lockdown of government offices after the government failed to function. Raping of women, shootings, lootings and robberies followed. This was still a British colony, and fortunate to have the British Government’s protection. Calm was restored by the British after a few days.
I have no recollection of the success of the transitional Government’s efforts to restoring peace and order, since these events prompted a mass exodus of the middle-class population out of the country. My family used that opportunity to join family members in countries abroad and this was the beginning of a new life for us. It marked the beginning of our migration from Guyana to England and the United States via Trinidad & Tobago. The brain drain and economic upheaval that resulted, lasted for many years.
One question which remains indelibly in my mind is whether the January 6 events could have been avoided? How could a Republic –so powerful, a model of democracy with military strength that surpasses that of most developed countries, fail to protect its citizens in 2021 from an insurrection when there were so many threats by Trump loyalists? Why were those memes on social media ignored?
Perhaps it is instructive to note that political dissent can result in chaos in developing as well as developed nations, and we will have to learn that free speech must be used with extreme caution.
With a new administration comes a new approach to Government, one that offers more diversity, more opportunities for people of different beliefs to participate. I’m optimistic that we can all unite and set an example to the world, that we can be leaders of a democracy once more.
What do you think?