Last summer’s images and videos in the United States looked like an apocalyptic movie: cars on fire in the streets, buildings being vandalized and burned to the ground, mobs of people entering restaurants, public parks, and private housing developments with violence to intimidate those not wearing Black Lives Matters flags and badges, among other scenes that would seem worthy of any movie in ‘The Purge’ saga.
During those horrible months, Republicans gave up asking the Democrats to repudiate violence. Biden and Harris denied doing so, and the Democrats just repeated that there was systemic violence in the country by police forces, completely ignoring the official statistics that refute this story.
Yesterday in Washington, there were other deplorable acts of violence and anarchy, but this time the perpetrators were not members of Antifa, Black Lives Matter, or supporters of the Democratic Party. This time it was a group of Trump supporters who attacked the Washington D.C. Capitol on a tragic afternoon that has already claimed the lives of four people.
Political violence in the United States has reached perhaps one of its highest peaks in recent decades. The verbal extremism from the two opposing sides has increased the focus of contingency, yet in no way justifying what led Trump’s supporters to do what they did yesterday. There were immediate repudiation and outright rejection of violence on the part of Republican leaders; President Donald Trump himself asked his followers to go home in peace, to respect law and order, to side with the police, a message that was quickly overturned by Twitter, along with the suspension of his account.
But it wasn’t just Trump. Many republicans, from Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and even the president’s own children sent messages asking people to respect law and order. Even so, the national and international press, and even the Democrats themselves, demonized the attitude of Republican leaders, and far from echoing the calls for rectification from a small violent base, they helped contribute to the febrile atmosphere.
A day later, President-elect Joe Bien and his running mate, Kamala Harris, gave speeches that far from appeasing the conflict will further alienate the two conflicting groups in the country. The president-elect once again accused the police of being racist and said:
“No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently from the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol.”
This suggests that law enforcement went easy on Trump’s supporters, completely ignoring the fact that four people lost their lives on this disastrous day. Meanwhile, Harris whitewashed the summer’s apocalyptic protests by calling them “peaceful,” while applying a different standard to what happened in Washington yesterday:
“We witnessed two systems of justice when we saw one that allowed extremists to storm the U.S. Capitol and another that launched tear gas against peaceful protesters last summer… We know this is unacceptable. We know we should be better than this.”
Anyone with a shred of integrity and sense of responsibility understands that there are no excuses, either for what happened yesterday or for what happened over several months throughout the United States; however, it is difficult at times to ask or expect that millions of people can have the same level of reasoning to resolve conflicts in a civilized manner, and almost impossible to think that black sheep will not come out to sacrifice themselves or destroy everything around them.
Nevertheless, the least that can be expected is that the leaders of a nation know how to process all these emotions, frustrations, and energies in order to find paths of reconciliation, one that today has definitely been undermined time and again by Biden and Harris and the Democratic Party. No matter how much the Republicans try to build bridges, if on the other side they throw bombs, it will be impossible to find mutual consensus.
Biden and Harris’s hypocrisy is unacceptable; the beatings, the destruction, the looting, and the breaking of the law, in general, cannot be viewed in a partisan light; otherwise, the essence of all that constitutes a great nation will be lost.
If this is the way forward for Biden and Harris, the United States should brace itself for troubling times ahead.