The riot at the Capitol that occurred on the sixth of January was shocking and unexpected. What does this do to America and how will it effect the country in the future?
Jan. 6 was an unprecedented day in American history. The US Capitol was breached by a mob of Trump protestors. They were protesting the Electoral College win of Joe Biden. And, though they claim to be “protestors” the actual term used to describe them as well as the events that unfolded on Capitol Hill is “domestic terrorism” and “terrorists.”
The U.S. Capitol is supposed to be one of the highest security buildings in the country. So, what does it mean that rioters were able to breach the building when senators and representatives were in session at the time? What does it say about the state of America and American democracy? And what does it mean for the United States at home and abroad?
American government is strong and an incident of domestic terrorism such as the riot at the Capitol won’t cause America’s government to crumble. This can be seen by the members of Congress going to back into session in the Capitol after it was declared secure. Violence will not stop the government from doing its job.
However, it does illustrate a deep divide between American citizens and America and the rest of the world.
Oregon’s own senator, Ron Wyden, wrote an article expressing his thoughts on what the riot does and will do for American government. Wyden expressed that the riot was due to the belief that the presidential election was rigged, leaving Republicans that supported Trump wanting to overturn the results of the election. However, even when the riot illustrated that continued fraudulent claims sparked hate, anger and violence in the country, “Republicans walked right back into the House and Senate chambers and continued spreading the same lies about voters and voting rights that had drawn the mob to the Capitol in the first place,” said Wyden.
Wyden went on to describe the divide between Republicans and Democrats and what it does to the government. Wyden said, “House Republicans were objectively more opposed to our functioning democracy.”
There is a deep divide in America, split largely between political party lines. Amid rumors, lies and a divisive president, the country is at odds with one another. When the government cannot come together to make decisions it harms American democracy and the country.
Wyden added his hopes that this riot and act of terrorism would lead to some good and could potentially lead the country into a period of healing. “Some of my fellow senators said they felt that returning to the chamber and finishing the Electoral College count was a signal that America was already turning the page.”
And, referencing a changing Congress with the election of two democratic senators from Georgia and control of the House and Senate now in Democratic hands, Wyden said, “Democrats must use our majorities in Congress to pass reforms that will defend our democracy from the forces that supported, incited and fueled the riots.”
The division in America has been noted by other countries and Trump’s foreign policies have alienated America and some of its allies.
In an BBC News Article called “Viewpoint: What the Capitol riot means for US foreign policy,” an analyst named Ian Bremmer said, “The US is by far the most politically dysfunctional and divided of all the world’s advanced industrial democracies.”
Foreign leaders have expressed their condolences about the Capitol riot and have shown that they understand the dysfunctionality in America.
The article then goes on to mention what the Biden administration will do to fix America’s foreign policy. Biden has publicly mentioned some things that he hopes to do such as reenter deals and treaties that America had previously backed out of- a main one being the Paris Climate Agreement.
Biden has placed great importance on foreign policy because he feels that Trump’s “America first” policies have damaged America and more specifically their foreign partnerships. As the BBC News article points out, Biden’s foreign policy is now more important than ever with the Capitol riot.
Foreign countries have been hesitant to make partnerships with America because they don’t have faith in president Trump. An attack such as the one on the Capitol, especially one incited by the president, shows foreign leaders that an America under Trump is unstable and violent, unable to sort out beliefs peacefully.
Biden’s foreign policy changes will most likely change the dynamic between America and the rest of the world, by making more foreign allies and keeping partnerships stable.
However, as the article said, “It’s all very well the Biden administration putting the rebuilding of alliances near the top of its foreign policy agenda but many of those allies are uncertain that Trumpism has gone for good.”
The article does shine a favorable light on some of Biden’s actions and suggests what he might do to change American foreign policy for the better. “Rebuilding American democracy, making it a more equal and less febrile society, is essential to rebuilding “brand America” abroad, “said BBC.
America is already starting to recover from the Capitol riot. The FBI and the United States Attorney office have already opened investigations into the Capitol riot. There have already been 70 people arrested in the aftermath of the riot with 170 overall expected to be charged. “Attorney Michael Sherwin described a sprawling criminal investigation that now includes more than 170 suspects, some of whom could be charged with sedition,” said a USA Today article on the investigation of the FBI.
There have been several photos that have gone viral from the Capitol riot and it is from those photos and media that most of the arrests have been made. A New York Times article, “Notable Arrests after the Riot at the Capitol” said, “The F.B.I. has received more than 100,000 tips, including photos and videos, and that number does not include tips that people have submitted by phone.”
The article goes into list some of the people seen in the widespread media coverage of the riot. Jake Angeli was arrested on two accounts of: knowingly remaining in a restricted building and on violent entry of the Capitol building. Said the New York Times of Angeli, “He entered the building shirtless, with his face painted red, white and blue, and wearing a fur headdress with horns. He also carried a spear, about six feet long, with an American flag affixed just below the blade.”
Adam Johnson, 36, was also arrested after a “widely circulated photograph showed him smiling and waving as he hauled off Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern,” said the NYT. He was arrested under a federal warrant as was charged with one count of knowingly remaining in a restricted building, one count of theft of government property and one count of violent entry into the Capitol.
Richard Barnett, 60, was “photographed sitting with his feet on a desk in Ms. Pelosi’s office. He was arrested on Jan. 8 in Bentonville, Ark,” said NYT. He was charged with: violent entry of the Capitol building, remaining in a restricted building without authority and theft of public property.
Derrick Evans faces two federal charges; one count of knowingly remaining in a restricted building and one count of violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. Evans has since resigned from the West Virginia House of Delegates after his arrest on Jan. 9.
Also being scrutinized is President Trump. Articles of Impeachment were drawn up on Jan. 7 calling for the impeachment of Donald Trump due to “incitement of insurrection.” The articles passed the House of Representatives on Jan. 13. Thus far, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi can’t send the article to the Senate yet. The soonest it’s predicted to reach the Senate is Jan 20th.
Security for Biden’s inauguration will be at a high in light of the Capitol riot and calls for further violence on the days leading up to the inauguration. Security details and secret service protocol for the inauguration day began on Jan. 13, a full week before they were expected to take place prior to the riot.
Senator Wyden says it best when he said, “Our democracy is fragile. Democrats have an obligation to strengthen it,” of the riot.