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 of then President Donald J. Trump and others, that the election was rigged, stolen and urged them to descend on Washington to take back the election from President-elect Biden. They were told that Vice President Pence was a traitor for going along with the seemingly transparent election results and planning to swear in Senator Joe Biden as the next President. The past-President led his base into believing that Vice President Pence and many others who had the authority to control the reported results, could allow him to return to office for another four years if they wanted to. Eventually, these misinformed, easily influenced people who were so disappointed that their candidate had lost the election, became so incensed that they were prepared to take any action necessary when they arrived at the Capitol Building. Some had prepared themselves for this eventualit well in advance of descending on the Capitol and were armed for the occasion, as we later learned. One of my friends, who is a supporter defended the actions that ensued as a “mild protest, but certainly not an insurrection.
As I waited and watched, checking with other channels to be sure that I was not being misled by a channel that is sometimes accused of being non partisan, I was shocked beyond belief at the dishonor shown by other channels to those who were appointed to maintain law and order at the Capitol. I anticipated help would arrive soon from a Branch of our Military Forces to rescue our Parliamentarians and bring an end to the uprising, but nothing happened for more than an hour.
Our Armed 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 provide humanitarian assistance by occupying other countries during emergencies were noticeably missing. And on this day, in spite of the helicopters and drones flying overhead, not to mention several levels of security that surrounded the Capitol Building, there was no help readily available to quell the insurrection. Local police were totally overwhelmed by these protestors (“Patriots” as QAnon chose to call themselves) turned anarchists for hours.
We all know the outcome – five people including police died, some were injured; threats were made against the life of our Vice President, The Speaker of the House-Nancy Pelosi and many of our elected officials who serve and were present at the Capitol that day. Several police suffered severe physical and psychological trauma and a historic building, which represents so much to the people of this great country, was willfully destroyed and defaced. There will be long lasting scars, physical and emotional that many who survived, will live with for the rest of their lives.
Upon reflection I was reminded that at the age of 16, I was living in a developing nation that found itself in somewhat, 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. Women were raped, shootings, looting and robberies followed. This was still a British colony, and we were fortunate to have the British Government to act as a neutral agent and provide protection with its armed forces. Calm was restored by the British after a few days.
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 with, 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.
Looking forward, a new administration brings a new approach to Government, one that offers more diversity, more opportunities for people of different beliefs to participate. I like many others am optimistic that we can all unite and set an example to the world, that Americans can still be leaders of a true democracy.
What do you think?