OPINION: How far can they go to destroy our democracy? Reflecting on the Capitol insurrection

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Elle Love
SENIOR ONLINE REPORTER

How far will many supporters go to protest a fair and thoroughly-checked election? Photo courtesy of Reuters.com.

With the incoming Biden administration transition going into effect despite several efforts to overturn the election, we must understand that Biden being elected alone will not be the end-all-be-all to the glaring number of problems that we face in America.

Supporters of the Trump administration stormed the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 6 in response to the congressional meeting to certify the election results for President-Elect Joe Biden’s win. Videos of the insurrection of the U.S. Capitol surfaced on various social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, with one video showing Trump supporters taking selfies with the Capitol police. Other photos included one supporter sitting inside Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office.

In what could be seen as “an attempted coup,” the riot occurred after President Trump gave a speech earlier that day. He encouraged supporters to march on the Capitol in protest of the 2020 election.

“We’re going to walk at the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women and we’re not going to be cheering much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong,” Trump said.

Trump’s lawyer, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, called thousands of supporters to settle the dispute of the election with “trial by combat” and assured them that he was “willing to stake my reputation” on the grounds that election fraud is possibly at stake, despite these claims being consistently ruled as baseless in court.

“And if we’re wrong, we will be made fools of,” Giuliani said – as if the Trump train hasn’t already left the station, and we haven’t seen the graphic and ridiculous nature of the very thing many Trump supporters accused Biden supporters of.

To see imagery of Trump supporters barging into the Capitol illegally to suppress the votes of a fair and thoroughly-checked election is not only reprehensible, but it also displays how severely undervalued democracy is for many of us who voted for a better leader and a better future.

Even with some Trump supporters believing that the election was “fraudulent,” despite lacking sufficient evidence to support the claim, 62% of all U.S. voters said they believe Trump is losing his case for election fraud due to “insufficient evidence,” while 28% believe that the courts were biased against Trump. This is according to a report conducted by Morning Consult and Politico among 1,990 U.S. voters. The survey additionally found that 80% of Democrats believe Trump has insufficient evidence, and 56% of Republicans believe there is bias against Trump in these election court losses.

This doesn’t differentiate between Republicans who decry Trump’s actions and those who support it. A few Republicans who originally intended to vote against certifying President-elect Joe Biden recently backed out, including former Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA).

“When I arrived in Washington this morning, I fully intended to object to the certification of the electoral votes. However, the events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider, and I cannot now in good conscience object to this certification of these electors,” Sen. Loeffler said on the floor. “The violence, the lawlessness and siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent and a direct attack of the very institution my objection was intended to protect – the sanctity of the American democratic process.”

Many Nebraskan politicians also decry the actions of Trump supporters, including 2nd Congressional House Rep. Don Bacon (R-NE), Governor Pete Ricketts (R-NE), Sens. Deb Fisher and Ben Sasse (R-NE) and 1st Congressional District Rep. Jeff Forternberry (R-NY).

“What is happening at the U.S. Capitol is unacceptable. I condemn the violence in the strongest possible terms. Peaceful protest is the American way. Violence and destruction of property are not. I encourage the violent protestors in D.C. to leave and go home,” Ricketts said in a media release.

What is a glaring issue is that the rioters who stormed the Capitol did not do so in a “peaceful protest,” and yet they did not have pepper balls or rubber bullets hurled at them, even while they stormed in and attacked the Capitol officers. Who did? Countless people who protested racial violence before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially after the killing of George Floyd sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the world.

D.C. police made 52 arrests in the storming of the Capitol. In comparison, D.C. police made 289 arrests on June 1 during the Black Lives Matter protests following Floyd’s death. In a larger comparison, there were 14,000+ arrests at the George Floyd protests nationwide, according to nonprofit consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen in a tweet.

These numbers represent the double-standards of law enforcement. Racial justice is undermined when we let individuals protest the very election that had the largest turnout of black votes in America.

The number of Black Americans eligible to vote for president has reached a record 30 million in 2020, with more than one third living in the nation’s biggest battleground states – Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – and making up 12.5% of the U.S. Electorate compared to 11.5%  in 2000, according to Pew Research.

To contest this election on the grounds that Trump did not win feels very racially charged, as if we’re not allowed to pick a leader that cares about citizens who have a different skin color and came from different aspects of life from him. To brush off this level of injustice disrespects the integrity that America is supposed to demonstrate as the hegemonic power that it once was.

In order for us to make it clear to our elected officials that we are genuinely unsatisfied with the state of our democracy, I encourage you to call their numbers and email them. They should know their constituents will not settle for obstruction of their votes by those who are not happy with the election results.

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