Yesterday, the world witnessed a horrifying attack on a democratic institution in the heart of the world’s oldest democracy, the United States of America. Soon after the speech of the outgoing president Donald Trump, the frenzied mob attacked the Capitol Hill, because that is what they were being told. The Capitol hill is the seat of the USA government through which the USA congress operates.
Donald Trump was once again seen making false claims of stealing the election by the radical democrats and fake news. He said, “we won’t concede and we will stop the steal.‘”I believe that he was willfully inciting violence by repeatedly saying “this is a disgrace,” and “we will not let them silence your voices.”
He shamelessly told the people that they are stuck with a president who has lost the election by a lakh, and they will all have to live with that for four more years. That cannot be allowed to happen. The rioters stormed inside the capitol hill and few of them sat in the chamber of speakers and were heard shouting “Trump won that election!”
This was an assault on the rule of law, an assault on the sacred American independence by surrendering democratic principles. The leader can inspire or incite. Trump chose the latter by fanning the flames of conspiracy theories. Many people in the crowd were wearing printed shirts that read “MAGA -CIVIL WAR January 6, 2021′. I believe that this was a well planned attempted coup on American democracy which failed but has left a scar on US democratic history.
It is also a staunch warning for plural democracies like India that democracies are fragile and must not be taken for granted. We should note that there is a difference between dissent and disorder. What we saw was ‘disorder’ empowered by a fascist politician. Donald Trump didn’t make ‘America Great again’ but instead allowed ‘America to get Burnt Again’.
What happened last night is the juncture where fascism meets populism. This would have happened. The file was already on the table, it just opened up on the 6th of January. This is not just an expression of anger but an act of terrorism, a failed coup to subvert democracy. But democracy prevailed in the USA and the rioters failed.
Why, you ask?
Because the democratic institutions are still intact, the media is largely free as compared to India which masquerades as the spokesperson of the ruling party under the disguise of journalism. Even the republican senators stood on the side of democracy and counted themselves out of this chaos created by their own party leader. This is called valuing the democratic principles and the law of the land.
The Capitol police largely remained inactive and in some videos, it was seen supporting the rioters. They went into action only when the situation went out of control. The National Guard was called late on the ground. But on the other hand, it was right on time as soon as the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protest spread across the USA states. They handled it very brutally even when the protest was peaceful. The white supremacy and discrimination against blacks are clearly visible.
There are numerous challenges before Joe Biden internationally but he must now act to restore democracy and decency in politics and the American society in general.
This post was first published here.