The Aftermath: Breaching of Capitol Hill
The highlight of the day should have been Democratic candidate Rafael Warnock defeating Kelly Loeffler, republican senator, for the Georgia general runoff election for the U.S. Senate. This news came as a shock, considering that, with exception to Clinton in 1992, Georgia has been reliably republican since 1984, but events at the Capitol would dramatically overshadow this election. A Democratic triumph secured a 50-50 chamber of the U.S senate and would provide Joe Biden legal support to carry out his programs. The day also marked the certification of Biden’s nomination as president, dismissing accusations of voter fraud. But then a bizarre riot and a mass break-in at the Capitol resulted from a rally led by outgoing President Donald Trump: this led the headlines of the day.
Even during the weeks leading up to the certification, Trump encouraged his supporters to demand investigation of election results. Many rioters present during the attack on the Capitol had traveled from across the country. A heavy social media presence in conjunction with lingering election tension may have also been triggering factors to the assault. It seems as though this attack was planned however in order to ensure an assault of this nature and magnitude does not repeat, impeachment is vital. Under impeachment there will be massive research and investigation towards the roots and incitement of the insurrection. Jake Peterson highlights, “I think it is an important step to help us remember what horrible path we have gone down the past four years. When you impeach a President once, it's a front-page story for sure, but for only a few weeks, and it's something that may be mentioned in the history books on page whatever, but when you do it twice, I mean: somebody did something wrong, right? I also see it as important to help bar the president from running again in 2024, which may actually be good for both parties.”
Currently many fingers are pointed at Donald Trump who at various points encouraged and aggravated the unfortunate event. Before the attack, during a rally near the white house, there are a couple of moments where Trump beings to claim the Democratic party are somehow targeting him: “But this year, using the pretext of the China virus and the scam of mail-in ballots, Democrats attempted the most brazen and outrageous election theft and there’s never been anything like this. So pure theft in American history. Everybody knows it… I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard.”
The extent of frustration and accountability would have been much heavily considered had this attack been foreign. Similarly if we oversaw an event like this take place in a different country. As Jake Peterson points out, “It [The Capitol breach] says we have once again outdone ourselves. You know, if this was happening in Belarus, Sudan, or wherever, we would call it a coup, a violent attack on a place of government, yet we beat around the bush by calling it a protest or whatever you want to call it. It shows our world leaders abroad, that we are unstable and weak, which has been exactly what has been going on for the past 4 years.”
This event makes the double standard between the Black, and the broader POC communities, experiences’ in contrast to white people in America more apparent than ever. The message Black communities have been trying to convey can not be any more clearer. Everyday statistics will show you the gap between Black and POC communities in contrast to white communities. They will show that there are systems that continue to oppress these communities such as redlining. If this information does not already demonstrate the clear unfair treatment between POC communities and white ones then the recordings that show police brutality should. Apparently, that is still not enough for people to understand and support the BLM movement and other POC led movements. Is this breach a signifier of the unequal treatment between POC and white communities? The clear double standard can not be any more apparent than what it is now. We have physical evidence of privilege and oppression, what more is needed to understand that America still is not equal. As Anthony Miguel eloquently stated, “If the Black Lives Matter protests were not enough to convey the message that systematic racism lives on in this country, then the manner in which the Capitol Riot was handled should have. It was a blatant statement that institutional racism is still supported in this nation. In the Black Lives Matter protests, minorities were treated cruelly by police officers. In contrast, police officers praised and assisted the white men in the Capitol Riot.”
An event of this magnitude has only happened one other time, during the war of 1812. The attack was led by British troops who set fire to the building during a wider Washington assault.
Twitter/social media impact
News provides a critical service to many around the world. It was designed to be an objective view on the world’s events that boiled down the facts and asked for opinions only when needed. Now, however, it’s different. CNN and Fox News are center of politically-motivated news, in terms of funding and specific omissions from their stories and reports.
Social media is on an entirely different level. Twitter limits their tweets to 280 characters. Nothing in politics can be boiled down to 280 characters. There are different opinions and emerging facts that should be respected. This is usually why most articles are not 280 characters and are marked as developing. Especially among activists, Twitter can turn into a thunderstorm of hate. Conclusions are made before facts are presented, facts are pushed aside by those who believe in one and only one side, and figurative spittle and bile is spread around the community.
This is by no means the fault of Twitter’s moderation team. Each user, verified or unverified, can post up to 2,400 tweets a day. If 2,399 of these tweets are spreading misinformation, and other hashtags are crawling up the Trending page, it becomes like shouting into a dark hole. Nothing is going to happen, apart from a few suspensions. And there’s no arguing that this only happens on one side of the political spectrum. It happens on both sides. For example, @realdonaldtrump tweeted, “Did you see the way our people protected his bus?”, after a blatant attempt by his supporters to ram a Biden campaign vehicle off the road in Texas. Meanwhile, it’s little known that after Donald Trump got COVID-19 the hashtag #thereisagod started trending and many told him to drink bleach. Even though it’s somewhat justified because he continually downplayed the effects of the virus, where is the civility in literally wishing for someone to die? According to the Pew Research Center, 55% of people get their news from social media. People seeing these tweets, especially from public accounts, will get incensed to act on it, as proven by the Capitol attacks.
These platforms originally used to be a landing platform for original content and positive messages. Inevitably, after Section 230, people let their opinions loose and now it’s impossible to rein in both sides to have a calm discussion about their beliefs. Toxicity is strangling these platforms, and people couldn’t be more happier because the more controversial it is, the more exposure it gets. Their beliefs are being expanded, and others are shut down without a chance for defense.
Many people who use social media don’t even understand the whole story of the Presidency. People talk at great lengths about how Trump inherited a smooth economy from Obama. But without the tax cuts that he oversaw, it’s highly unlikely the economy would have seen any growth at all. And on the topic of immigration, it is shameful that the administration didn’t respond to what was happening with seperated migrant children and how the wall was one of the most idiotic plights in presidental history. But again, in Obama’s first three years of presidency, he deported 1.18 million people. Trump deported just 800,000.
However, because of the vitriol paralyzing the delivery of information, people have just chosen to ignore this information. Trump is by no means a perfect president, or even a good president - he’s done many stupid actions throughout his term, especially in muellering America’s presence on the global stage. Because of social media, all the bad actions have been amplified and all the good actions have been quietly stored away in a box never to be seen again. This is a dark moment in American history that will have fingers pointed at one side only. But no one has confirmed that everyone at the Capitol was a Trump supporter and people weren’t just there to incite violence. There are still many questions unanswered by this attack. And thanks to social media, they likely never will be.
Government in shambles; how will it repair itself?
The Capitol Building is destroyed and vandalized, leaving not only the government building in shambles but the country as a whole. Trump’s ambition of fueling this process has made many of his cabinet members resign. Biden has been confirmed president-elect, but the country still remains divided with two split parties, with completely different views and outlooks on the future.
The lack of security at the Capitol Building remains a shock as terrorists stormed the building, looting precious furniture, breaking windows, and vandalizing sacred property. In a video one black cop encounters a herd of pro-Trump terrorists: One Black Cop is overwhelmed with a group of Pro-Trump terrorists The officers are clearly not prepared for this mob of people and extra numbers had to be called to protect the building, and the representatives and senators inside. Biden’s inauguration on March 20th will most likely have violence, and after the insurrection and the damage it caused on not only the building, but our country's democracy, government officials have called for extra backup to prevent a breaching of a government building to ever happen again. Repairs are already underway at the Capitol Building, fixing the damage thousands of the rioters incited.
Our country is primarily represented by “the people.” A united people. Following this insurrection, our “people” are divided. Biden will have to work for 4 years to help repair this split in our country. Not only a divided country but one with the foundation of democracy in disorder. Due to the baseless claims of a fraudulent election, many Trump supporters have lost complete trust for the government which has resulted in massive protests and like what we unfortunately witnessed on January 6th, insurrection. Rebuilding this trust is not going to be a walk in the park. In fact, through the next four years of Biden’s term it is likely we will see conspiracies regarding a fraudulent election to continue.