In the wake of President Donald Trump’s administration, the U.S. Capitol insurrection teaches Americans valuable lessons on white supremacy, the polarization of political parties and where politics must draw the line.
Investigations conducted by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have revealed President Trump’s supporters planned the Jan. 6 domestic terrorist attack through platforms like Reddit and Parler, bringing pipe bombs, molotov cocktails and tools used to break entry into the U.S. Capitol building.
Parler is a social media app used primarily by Trump supporters and far-right extremists as an alternative to Twitter. Since the insurrection Amazon, Apple and Google have removed the service from their platforms. Protests were planned using Parler and other social media without mentioning a date and setting until that day, giving the organized coup an advantage.
White supremacist terrorists were seen waving confederate flags in the Capitol, while others climbed walls and broke through windows, proudly stole podiums and sat at the desks of U.S. representatives. Violence erupted between the terrorists and law enforcement, leading to hundreds of injuries and spreading civil unrest throughout the country.
The DHS and FBI describe white supremacist extremism as America’s No. 1 threat of domestic terrorism, responsible for more homicides than other extremist movements. Hate crimes connected to race or ethnicity are rising substantially.
According to the FBI, domestic terrorism is an act that violates criminal laws and proves lethal or dangerous toward human life. This includes acts with the intent of intimidating or coercing a civilian population, or influencing government policies through those criteria, which aligns directly with the Capitol siege.
The insurrection resulted in five deaths, with three people facing deadly medical emergencies and a woman shot while penetrating the building through a window. A federal murder investigation has been opened for a police officer who was trampled to death.
The terrorists also put members of congress at risk of contracting COVID-19 by refusing to wear masks, aside from the initial threat of violence. Since the virus is potentially lethal, this alone classifies the riot as an act of domestic terrorism. There’s concern that case numbers may rise among protestors and domestic terrorists, as they deliberately ignored COVID-19 guidelines and pose a great threat to national security.
The threat at the Capitol shows a distinguishable difference between the attack and the rioting during Black Lives Matter protests. There was little immediate police, FBI or national guard presence at the Capitol despite disruptive intentions, and the terrorists succeeded in breaching multiple rooms of the building for four hours. This forced a lockdown of the Capitol while congress hid before evacuation began.
In comparison to 2020’s BLM protests with a peaceful majority—accompanied by extreme police and national guard presence—it’s a clear example of white supremacy within government structures. It seems that little concern was anticipated since protesters were white in majority, again showing the polarization behind this country’s privileged stance on racial issues.
Close FBI investigation of the election results is necessary to answer the questions of the public and verify the validity of the political process. If change is needed to the political process or its decisions after all evidence has been gathered, recorded and evaluated, then discussion must occur moving forward. Constant allegations of fraud made by President Trump contribute to misguided distrust in the electoral process, thus making it harder to criticize government processes when backed by legitimate concern.
Healthy concern about state rights brings into question the ballot collection methods of various states, especially during a pandemic when voting remotely is more common. Though an investigation may provide additional information or context toward the political processes of the states, the goal shouldn’t be to deliberately overturn election results without concrete evidence of fraud.
After Trump’s three tweets which called upon supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol and reinforced the idea of voter fraud, Twitter temporarily suspended his account before ultimately deleting the tweets and issuing a permanent ban on Jan. 8. The tweets contributed to the violence using terminology which painted the picture for a stolen election, despite countless statements by state and government officials disputing the president’s baseless allegations.
This is a blatant disruption of the peaceful transition of power, which has been a fundamental part of this democratic union since the end of George Washington’s presidential term in 1797. Since the insurrection, Trump has promised an “orderly” transition through Social Media Director Dan Scavino’s Twitter page, though the damage was already dealt.
Trump has made multiple violations of Twitter’s policies, including the Civic Integrity Policy which includes posting content that contributes to misinformation about civic processes. Past violations added to the outcome, as Trump’s tweets have glorified violence during 2020’s Black Lives Matter protests. The platform released a statement mentioning that the ban was issued to prevent incitement of further violence.
Since the ban, Trump has falsely claimed that Twitter is revoking his right to free speech, showing that he’s either unaware of his rights as defined by the U.S. Constitution, or he willfully neglects this knowledge to support his narrative. Private social media companies reserve the right to limit speech or ban any user after multiple violations of their terms of service, as the First Amendment applies only to the government.
There’s been discussion amongst house Democrats and Republicans about enacting the 25th Amendment to remove Trump before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. With the vote set to occur Wednesday, house representatives have already received alarming threats from Trump supporters.
Though it’s unlikely due to a lack of time, turning a blind eye or a threat of potential armed uprisings from radical and alt-right extremists, it’s in the best interest of the country’s processes and the safety of its people to remove Trump from office immediately, regardless of political affiliation.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost
- Pierce College Foundation to celebrate former federal agent Frances Davis and others at 2021 Distinguished Alumni event - April 7, 2021
- Pierce County government branches connect residents to COVID-19 relief and resources - February 24, 2021
- From on-campus to online: how the Office of Student Life navigates the remote experience - February 22, 2021