Biden must lead a nation divided
When I started writing this article I had planned for it to be about the Georgia senate runoffs. However, the horrendous events of this past week in Washington D.C. are difficult to ignore.
On Wednesday, January 6, Congress was breached by a mob whose intent seemed to be to disrupt the certification of the election, and sow doubt in our democracy.
But to really understand why this happened you have to look at the hours prior to this event. Around noon that day supporters of President Donald Trump were arriving for the “Save America Rally” which was being held right outside the White House.
At the rally, President Trump stated, “We’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue… and we’re going to the Capitol and we’re going to try and give… our Republicans, the weak ones… the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”(as viewed on BBC)
Immediately following the speech, the crowd began walking down the National Mall to the Capitol where they were met by Capitol Police and a fence. The first to arrive attempted to gain entry to the grounds and building right through the middle, but were met with tear gas and pepper spray which bought the police some time. However, as more and more people arrived from the rally, the crowd was able to flank the cops on the east side of the building and force their way through the barricades before moving to the main entrance.
Once they arrived at the steps they moved their focus towards gaining entrance to the building. They smashed open the doors on the side of the building and what followed was a swarm of people rushing into the building. Capitol Police inside were overwhelmed to the point that some rioters made it to the door of the House of Representatives.
Over the next few hours, a stalemate occurred which resulted in the death of four people, one of whom was a Capitol police officer. According to the now-former Capitol Police chief Steve Sund, (as stated to NPR), he requested assistance six times prior to and during the attack on the capitol.
It’s clear to me that the president is the one who needs to be blamed. His actions were reckless and endangered not only the members of Congress inside the Capitol, but the very core of our democracy. He chose to make things worse with a video later in the day, but also with his inaction. He could have deployed the National Guard in advance of the rally, or even the second that the crowd stepped foot on federal property, but he did nothing. Instead, Vice President Mike Pence was the one who had to take action to respond to the crisis.
This event – in my opinion, an attempted coup – will have a longer-lasting effect politically. Trump is facing a second impeachment, which could result in not allowing him to ever run again for president. That’s not a big problem in the long run, because he has polarized so many on the right and removed them from the Republican caucus.
He has created movement that believes in nationalism/Trumpism. He has pushed an America first agenda since he first ran in 2016, and it seems to have taken off in other countries. In 2017 Vice made a video called “Japan’s rising right-wing nationalism” which highlighted Shinzo Abe’s cabinet members with affiliations to right-wing fringe groups and the glorification of Imperial Japan. These groups took inspiration from American nationalism and hold many of the same sentiments.
The difference between the two is that Trump has created a unified front that follows him blindly. Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol, in essence, was the birth of a third party. Trump commands those fringe Americans who believe that they are the only patriots left in this country, and that’s why they followed his command and stormed the Capitol. They believe him like others believed Alex Jones when he said that the tragedy of Sandy Hook was a hoax portrayed by child actors.
Many people might not like Biden, but do need to see that he has the right sentiment for what we are going through. If we don’t unify now and find common ground, it will be too late. We might not be the best nation in terms of what we have done, but we always strive to be better.
Biden is a Democratic moderate who believes in returning us to the good old days of 2014 where President Obama’s tan suit was the biggest scandal going on. He wants to unify and bring back bi-partisanship and, to be honest, his biggest challenge is going to be his own party. I truly hope that he has a successful presidency, but I am worried about what Trump nationalism does to this nation over the next four years.
(As with all articles published in the Opinion section of mccaravan.org, the views expressed are those of the writer.)
Benjamin Fields is a senior at Mount Carmel High School. Fields grew up in Brookfield, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago and attended S.E Gross Middle School....