Op-Ed: Reflecting on January 6th
January 6th, 2022, a group of Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol Building at Trump’s bidding to overturn the 2020 election results. They, and Trump, claimed that Trump had lost the election unfairly due to voter fraud, despite evidence disproving this claim. As the democratic principles upon which the US was founded on, state that the government shall reflect the will of its people, the outcome of the 2020 election is not a matter that involves opinion nor political affiliation. Thus, Americans need to realize the attack on January 6th was an act of domestic terrorism, and Biden won the election fairly, to sustain democracy in the US.
The US began as an experiment of democratic government to prevent tyranny, Colonists in the Thirteen Colonies felt their rights as British citizens were not respected because of the lack of representation in Parliament. Thus, a government in which the people would vote to make decisions and elect leaders to oversee those decisions was created. Each vore has equal weight, so the will of the people is expressed and followed in such a government. The executive power cannot make decisions that do not reflect the people’s will. Biden won the election; it was the will of the people to have Biden as president. Trump’s attempt to extend his power went against this, and was an abuse of his authority, as he was the then present; as president of the US, he should have upheld democratic principles by honoring the people’s will. Further abuses of authority following Trump’s wrongdoings will endanger democracy, as people’s will will cease to be regarded.
Furthermore, allowing opinion and political affiliation cloud one’s judgment of events endangers democracy. Ths was clearly seen in the Southern secession following Lincoln’s election in the election of 1860, and his inauguration in 1861. Lincoln won the election, albeit with a minority vote, but the South saw this as a threat-- the South believed Lincoln would emancipate slaves-- and refused to accept Lincoln as the president. This led to the Civil War, and almost caused the collapse of the US. The US rebuilt itself over the course of many decades, but still experiences lingering effects of this event. Non-whites in the South continue to face heavy discrimination, and many southerners still believe in the cause of the Confederacy. Consequently, many laws in the South continue to restrict the actions of non-whites. One notable type of such law includes voter suppression. While these laws are de facto segregation (not explicitly discriminatory), they are made to put non-whites, particularly blacks, at a disadvantage. Identification requirements only allow certain IDs to be used to verify identification to vote. One Texas law that required identification for voting allowed military IDs and concealed carry permits, but did not allow state employee IDs or university photo IDs, putting Hispanics/Latinos and blacks at a disadvantage. Another catastrophic split in the US will most likely lead to its demise, as the effects of a split 162 years ago are still felt.
The United States has long been hailed as the protector of democracy. Endangering this democracy puts many people across the world at risk of suffering under despotism. The US must remember the democratic principles upon which it was founded, and acknowledge the legitimacy of Biden’s election, in addition to the crimes committed on January 6th, to prevent the demise of democracy.