Political Unrest Continues with Storming of U.S. Capitol

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Photo courtesy of www.nbcnews.com.

Protestors gather around the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

A hundred years from now, the date January 6, 2021 will be remembered as a significant and pivotal event in American history. It will be discussed in schools, at jobs, and around dinner tables.

Donald Trump lost the 2020 presidential election to Joe Biden. The electors cast their votes on December 14, 2020, giving Biden 306 electoral votes and Trump 232.  However, Trump did not concede defeat until two months after, and began to tell his supporters that there was major fraud in the presidential election. Many of his supporters believed him. 

On January 6, Congress was scheduled to certify the election results. A few hours before this, Trump made a “Save America” speech in Washington, D.C. in which he said, “We will never concede.”

As Congress was certifying the election results, pro-Trump protestors were peacefully protesting to try to overturn ther results of the election. However, the peace did not last for long, and some protestors began to break through the police’s barricades that blocked the United States Capitol. Their attempts were successful, and they were able to storm the building.

Capitol Police draw their guns on a crowd of people attempting to break into the House chamber. (Photo courtesy of www.usatoday.com.)

The senators and representatives were evacuated from the building as soon as they were notified about the break in. Most of the representatives were sitting in their chamber seats, and as soon as they were notified that violence had broken out, they were ushered to safety by Capitol Police. The representatives were moved into private rooms with windows and doors locked and barricaded. During the storming, a former female member of the U.S. military, Ashli Babbit, was shot in the neck by a Capitol Police officer and pronounced dead shortly after. Another four people were announced dead a few days later, including a police officer who committed suicide after witnessing what happened at the Capitol, and another officer who was killed by a fire extinguisher.

So far, federal prosecutors have charged at least 166 people for their alleged crimes in the riot and opened over 400 investigations into possible criminal activity. At least 15 of those arrested are veterans, and two are currently serving in the Army Reserves according to military service records.

While politics is a touchy subject, even with students, some shared their thoughts about the storming of the Capitol. 

Even though I do not support what happened during the riots, I will always stand by our president,” said eighth grader Bella Marx. “Also, I am only 13, so I don’t really have a say in what happens with the presidency and what other people believe.”

In terms of how history will cast its light upon the events, History Department Chair Mrs. Anne Franzen feels Americans need more time to process what took place. 

“We can only hope that historians look at the entire picture,” she said.  “Right now, the event and the information about it is still unfolding, so predictions will be difficult.  It is clear that there was a threat to the democratic process as well as to the lives of several people, but the consequences of the event are still unfolding.”

On a different note, multiple social media outlets, including Twitter (former President Trump’s biggest platform) suspended his account. Twitter’s reasoning was explained in an official statement: “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them — specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter — we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Trump used Twitter to air his opinions about what he considered to be a fraudulent election, tweeting messages such as, “Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!”

People are  now wondering if Twitter really made the right choice to permanently suspend Trump’s account.

Eighth-grader RJ Sahm said, “No, I do not think Twitter made the right choice because he did not say or do anything wrong.”

It is still unknown what the former president will do because of this, as Twitter was the social media platform on which he spent a majority of his time. He had over 90 million followers and almost 90 thousand tweets on his account.  Twitter was also a big outlet for his supporters to get information.

However, this is not all.

Trump is being impeached for a second time because of “incitement of insurrection,” according to the House.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said in one of her statements that the impeachments is “a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”

He is also the first ever president to be impeached twice. Impeachment is when a legislative body brings legal charges against a government official. If the president is impeached, he could be removed from office. Of course, Trump is no longer president, but if found guilty, he will not be able to hold any public office in the future. In order for an impeachment to occur, the House of Representatives must pass a vote that puts the president on trial. On January 13, 2021, the House did just that.  The impeachment trial held in the senate began on February 9, however there is no way of telling how long it will last. Trump’s first impeachment trial, however, lasted for three weeks. 

The United States Constitution requires that the Senate must have a two-thirds majority to convict the president of impeachment. The Senate enters judgment on its decision, where it may either convict or acquit the president. A copy of the judgment is filed with the secretary of state. 

If Trump is indeed found guilty of inciting violence, he will be restricted from running for office again in 2024 and beyond. In fact, this was the main reason for Trump’s impeachment – some Democrats and a few Republicans are afraid of Trump causing more disruption and conflict in the country.

Times may be tough in America right now as there seems to be a huge divide between Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals, but it is important to remember that we have more in common than we don’t, and that we are all Americans.