Well … it’s been an interesting first week of the year, hasn’t it?
Of course, I’m talking about the protests – and the attempted insurrection – at the capitol building on Jan. 6. Now, for starters – yes, I understand that not all of the people there were planning violence or participated in the storming of the capitol. And yes, I know protesting is a right we have as Americans, and as much as I disagree with this particular protest, I can’t say that the protest itself was illegal.
That being said, the violence that occurred last week as well as the planned motives some of the protesters had cannot be ignored. Five people died at the capitol, including a police officer that was supposedly bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher. Videos and photos have shown that windows were broken, things were stolen, and there were even protesters seen with weapons and zip-ties, making their intentions of violence and possibly even taking hostages clear.
Being able to watch what was happening at the capitol building as it was happening was, in a word, terrifying. You think that something like this can’t happen, and then when it happens, it’s hard to know what to say. In that moment, all I could really feel was fear and anger, wondering how things could have gotten this far.
Fortunately, many of the protesters who had decided to cross that line from peaceful protesting to committing actual crimes have started receiving consequences. Several of the most famous ones who took selfies or video of themselves during the event have either been arrested or, at the very least, were fired or suspended from their jobs while others are now on the no-fly list.
As thankful as I am that those who committed crimes aren’t getting off scot-free, I’m still angry that something like this happened in the first place, and that so many believed that they would get away with it. The fact that they were encouraged “to fight” by a man who’s supposed to be our dignified president is even more infuriating, honestly.
The main sticking point to all of this is, of course, the 2020 election results, with some people believing that the election was stolen through fraud. On the subject of American rights, let’s talk about another right: the right to a fair trial.
If Joe Biden or the vote counters or anyone committed voter fraud, then they have the right to go to trial, where our justice system can hopefully determine the truth and punish those who committed the crime.
And, should there be actual substantial evidence of serious voter fraud brought forward, then yes, I would support this metaphorical trial (note: NOT a “trial by combat” like what Rudy Giuliani was suggesting), despite any personal bias I may have towards the candidates or the parties.
But that’s the thing. Ever since the election ended, there have been recounts that have all ended with the same results. Trump’s team has failed to present any substantial evidence of fraud, and what was brought forward was weak enough to be dismissed by judges. The results haven’t changed, and as of this moment, the votes still show that Joe Biden won this election without needing to resort to fraud.
Whether you agree with the election results or not, I would hope that every American citizen would agree with this statement: If all current evidence says that a majority of the American people voted out a currently-sitting president, any attempts to keep said-president in power through threat and attempted violence should be seen as no less than domestic terrorism.
As we move closer towards Inauguration Day, I truly hope that this is the last time we see something like this. Still, no matter how much time passes, we, as citizens, can’t forget this event.
We can’t forget how there were some people so devoted to their candidate that they were willing to disregard authentic election results and try to make their candidate the winner by force. We can’t forget that we had citizens willing to commit treason and attempt to overthrow the government just because our president refused to admit that he had lost. We can’t forget this, and we shouldn’t forget it.
Lastly, I’d like to bring up that after this event, I saw many people saying that “America is better than this." I'd like to believe that, but it takes more than words to make something like this true. If we want America to be better, we have to prove it and work make it better.
We can’t be passive and act like events like the storming of the capitol happen in a vacuum, otherwise there’s a strong chance it will happen again. Besides, if you ask me, the most respect you can give to something is not to blindly praise it and pretend that it’s perfect to save face, but to criticize it when it’s needed and demand improvement when you see that things are indeed wrong.