After acts of terrorism on the US Capitol, what happens next? 

By: Luci Hagen

Photo by: wallyg

Eric Gavelek drove over 700 miles from Tennessee to Washington D.C. last week with one purpose, that of which being to overthrow the government. He arrived in the city with weapons, military style gear, and zip ties in preparation for nothing less than a violent storming of the Capitol very possibly kidnapping or massacre of lawmakers. He was arrested yesterday after various people online discovered his identity after deep internet detective work, but hundreds more who accompanied him that day still roam free. 

What happened on Wednesday was nothing less than a terrorist attack on the United States Government and an attempted overturning of the democratic process by which elections work, as well as a horribly fitting example of the division of Americans has led to the destabilization of democracy in our country. Thousands of people stormed the Capitol as Congress certified the electoral votes, attempting to disrupt the century old process that officially decides the next President. There is truly no telling what the President may try to do in his final days in office. Speaker Pelosi warned the President that if he does not resign immediately, he will be impeached again. Vice President Pence has not yet invoked the 25th Amendment, but also has stated that it is a possibility should things get worse than they already are. The reality of the situation is that Trump lost both by popular and electoral vote, attempted to overturn an election and failed, his following attempted to overthrow the government and failed. 

This is arguably one of the most prevalent times of partisanship our country has ever faced. It would be naive to say that this division has not been growing for much longer than the past few years, just as it would be naive to say that these attacks on the Capitol was an incredibly unexpected event, one might even say that some of Trump’s most extreme supporters have been slowly leaning towards planning an event like this ever since Trump has begun receiving more and more disapproval as his term progressed. 

I’ve always held the belief, though many could debate me for it, that people are simply people and that there are some things that no matter how hard you argue them, will never be adopted by the other side, but that being in a fair respectful democracy means cooperating despite those differences for the good of all parties involved. Without this, stability ceases to exist. This is exactly what can be seen on this fateful day that history will never let us forget, that should in fact never be forgotten. Because disagreement is one subject, but when intense violence becomes the way of dealing with that disagreement is the point at which our country's ideals circle further and further down the drain. 

President Trump’s presidency, more sensationalism in news and media as well as news and media being more widespread and easily accessible through advancements in technology, therefore allowing more people to develop opinions based off of a news story they see on Instagram that is really meant to trigger them in a certain way, are factors of the growing division and interchangeable hate each political party has for one another, but there have undoubtedly been other factors as well. It seems this day in age that both parties are always in combat for power with no remote thought of compromise, while no progress is made in terms of governance such as ensuring the well being of the citizens of the country. An example of this being that the handling of Covid-19 in this country has been heavily influenced by politics that have negatively impacted America's response to the pandemic. People have grown so used to siding with the extreme of each party and along with that refusing to look at the other side, the other opinion of things. 

Of course, I find it difficult to see this other Republican, pro-Trump view. Growing up in oh so liberal California, I can hardly digest some of their views, but I try to remind myself that these people have grown into entirely different minds and perspectives than I have. And in looking at this event and the people behind it, a common argument they are using is comparing it to BLM protests, which at times were incredibly destructive. These peaceful protests which turned into riots in some instances have been going on for far longer and over far more ground than this single day event. To be quite frank, I do not entirely disagree with the idea that some riots for BLM have been in some ways similar ONLY in terms of violence and destruction, not the motives behind both. So understanding that is the argument being made by Republicans is important, though I personally do not believe in the argument and in this instance I believe that the intentions behind this attack and this horrible violence over a lost election is not a justifiable cause. 

As events such as the attacks on the Capitol occur, it makes the capability of people seeing and rationalizing with this other side a thousand times more difficult than it had been before. Thus spiraling into more partisanship, more hate, more violence to the opposing sides. To predict the future of these two political parties is a conclusion I cannot possibly fathom, nor theorize. It can only be hoped that a new leader can help to calm the waters of our country in its time of social unrest, that in the next few days before the end of Trump’s presidency, that there can be a peaceful inauguration of a new leader into power, as there has been for the entirety of American history until possibly now. 

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