Overblown Rhetoric: US Democracy Was Never Under Threat

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Overblown Rhetoric: US Democracy Was Never Under Threat
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First a brief recapitulation. In shocking scenes without precedence in United States politics, supporters of President Trump stormed the US Capitol where Congress was meeting to certify the Electoral College votes and confirm the next US president and Vice President.

Four people were reported to have died as rioters fought with law enforcement forces, scaled the walls of the Capitol building, vandalized government property and disrupted Congress proceedings.

Saner voices in the Republican Party prevailed with Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Mike Pence condemning the subversion of the democratic process.

Thereafter Vice President Mike Pence confirmed the electoral college votes and declared Joe Biden as the President and his running mate Kamala Harris as Vice-President of the United States with effect from January 20, 2021.

The vast majority of US media anchors, in general, described the happenings on Capitol Hill as insurrection and even coup, in addition to other overblown descriptions of events.

It is inconceivable that any Justice of the United States Supreme Court would ever side with any person, persons, or elements that tried to take over the US government by means other than the democratic process.

Watching the scenes live did they not note that there were no swords, machetes, long knives, or firearms in sight.

The only weapons they could be seen brandishing was the American flag. Not one of them condemned the Republic, some even shouted “Long Live America”.

They were railing against what they believed to be a stolen election from their leader. From what could be seen they did not physically attack, maim, or injure any Congressperson.

It is possible they didn’t even abuse anyone by name. Ill-prepared and under-staffed Capitol Hill police were eventually able to persuade them to go back peacefully. A few rioters were killed and several more injured. They never tried to take-over Washington or any city in the US.

What is worse is that media channels across much of the world, largely democracies, picking up the reports coming in from the US and without a second thought almost verbally repeated what they had picked up along with scenes of mayhem from Capitol Hill.

Practically all the leaders of these countries who were interviewed expressed shock and dismay and hoped that Americans would soon put the worst behind them. That is what eventually happened.

It is the resilience of US Democracy that should be celebrated

Within 24 hours or thereabouts of the events reported above law and order wherever mobs had tried to run riot was restored without difficulty.

What is more, most US leaders irrespective of their leanings endorsed the results declared on Capitol Hill. President Trump brought himself to declare that transition on January 20 would take place peacefully.

Commentator after another recalled that it was the first time since the British sacked Washington that the capital was under siege. What a comparison.

It is a good time for the commentators who were carried away by events or their own rhetoric to now analyze for the US people as to how difficult, or impossible, it would be for the American Republic to be overthrown.

Besides the government and its law and order agencies and departments that ensure the running of the country, it has at its disposal Homeland Security and the US armed forces that have generally maintained order around the world for over seventy years.

The world at large, not excluding the opponents of the US, expect him to give as big a healing touch to a Covid-troubled world as he does to his own people.

Doubtless, Presidents of the US have tried to pack the Supreme Court with justices who would generally hold views similar to their own.

It is inconceivable that any Justice of the United States Supreme Court would ever side with any person, persons, or elements that tried to take over the US government by means other than the democratic process.

There will be greater need for the Biden White House to introspect over the events of the day of the epiphany

The Republicans will have much to introspect about the events of 6 January 2020. There will be apportioning of blame, mutual recriminations, and much else.

It would be idle to expect soul-searching from die-hard Trump supporters or from Donald Trump himself.

Hopefully, saner voices close to him might advise him to at least keep silent for a given period of time. The bigger danger for Joe Biden once he sits in the White House and for Kamala Harris would be to ensure that their supporters after they have celebrated the inauguration do not go the way of Trump supporters.

It would mar his presidency from the beginning. The challenge before Joe Biden is greater than for anyone else in Washington.

The world at large, not excluding the opponents of the US, expect him to give as big a healing touch to a Covid-troubled world as he does to his own people.

From what the world has seen of him he appears to have the experience, sagacity and humaneness to do so.
A vast majority of the people of the world would wish him well.

(Vinod Saighal is a Major General (Retd.) of the Indian Army, and Executive Director of Eco Monitors Society)

(Views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Khabarhub’s editorial stance)

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