Two years ago, when I was in my first year at university, I wrote an article for Concrete arguing Donald Trump, though displaying a shocking lack of concern over how his words were received, did not represent an intentional threat to American democracy. Considering recent events, I now find myself unable to support the assertions I made back in 2019.
On the 6th of January, a mob stormed the Capitol Building, a unique event in modern American history. The attackers used tear gas and pipe bombs, the latter thankfully being recovered before they could be used. Five people died and Washington D.C. was put into a state of emergency. When a group of people resort to violence to push forward their agenda, we call it a terrorist attack. To put it plainly, this is what it was – a terrorist attack.
To make matters worse, this attack was fuelled directly by the baseless assertions of President Trump, who told the protestors to “show strength,” and has been feeding his followers a conspiracy theory which threatens to swallow up American democracy ever since he lost the election.
He has argued that votes exceeded voting populations in some areas, that there have been instances of dead people voting, and votes were being flipped to Mr Biden’s side. All these things have been proven false and most of his claims were made with no evidence at all. He relied on a smokescreen of legal action to make it seem like his bluster had some basis in fact.
In my previous article, I addressed numerous issues the Trump administration flourished on cracking out at rallies and on social media. I argued Mr Trump’s words were simply sensationalised versions of pre-existing issues. Now, I must say I think he is so wrapped up in sensationalism he does not care whether there is even the tiniest grain of truth to what he says, and never did care. His actions have cheapened the truth in the eyes of the electorate as well as the dignity of the office he held for four years.
One day before the attack, a Wisconsin prosecutor dismissed Rusten Sheskey, the white police officer who shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, in the back last August. The two events placed so closely together, induced NBA star LeBron James to comment: “I couldn’t help but wonder, if those were my kind storming the Capitol, what would have been the outcome”.
The most fundamental duty of the President is to lead the American people. All of them. Not only has he failed to do this, working diligently to the contrary, but he has in fact defamed the very democracy which saw him elected four years ago. He is not the unwitting participant I took him for in the division between what LeBron James calls the “two Americas”, but a man capable of masterminding a scam which has directly caused the deaths of five people at Capitol Hill.
Though I was sceptical the last time Mr Trump’s impeachment was suggested, I now believe it is essential. He has proven himself to be, quite frankly, dangerous. As someone who is a staunch defender of freedom of speech, I welcome the actions of social media in suspending his activity. Mr Trump has abused this freedom for his own gain, to the detriment of the people it is his responsibility to protect.
Personally, as someone who has defended the Trump administration, these events have left me feeling saddened and angry. It is a bitter thing to have to eat your own words. I have no doubt there are many people like me who hoped his approach could bring something new to world politics, only to see those hopes crumble.
I may not agree with all of Joe Biden’s politics, but I am relieved the US will soon be in different hands. I hope he can restore faith in the democracy President Trump has tried to destroy.