On Wednesday, in what was supposed to be a Red Letter Day for American politics, when a ceremonial session of Congress was all set to formally announce the victory of President-elect Joe Biden, and his running mate, Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, a violent pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, and engaged in the destruction of property, stoked by their leader’s rhetoric that the elections were stolen from him.
In a tweet on December 20, the President had egged on his supporters to descend over the Capitol in Washington to protest against Biden’s confirmation: “Big protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”
What followed was an unprecedented institutional breakdown, the likes of which has not been witnessed - with the nation’s elected representatives scrambling for cover and crouching under desks as cops attempted to barricade the building.
By the time the President finally agreed to concede, unspeakable damage was done, resulting in the death of four people including a woman, and the arrest of over 50 people. An inglorious end to one of the most tumultuous regimes witnessed in American history - that of the 45th President Donald J Trump.
The events that transpired on January 6, are now being viewed through the prism of everything that is emblematic of Trump’s Presidency. Trump who survived impeachment once before left no stone unturned in his attempts to hold on to his seat of power. From outrightly refusing to accept the results of the US elections, to veiled threats, as it was revealed in the leaked telephone call transcript that was made public by US media, where Trump told Georgia’s Republican Secretary to “find me the votes.”
The fact that the superpower and the international role model of democracy that was once America was put through the wringer in Trump’s term goes without saying. His absolute arrogance and ignorance of facts, standing defiant in the face of undisputed science, continuing his reign of ‘error’ even as the nation recorded the highest number of COVID-19 fatalities globally with over 3,57,000 deaths, are cautionary tales for the record books. But what Trump achieved with his so-called ‘MAGA’ battle cry has only earned him the title of ‘Enemy of the State’, with several representatives going on record to demand that he be tried for treason and sedition.
Sadly, there’s a greater fallout of this shameful episode that may not be visible right now. While many have publicly denounced Trump’s maniacal move, Black Americans have called out the almost soft-handed manner in which the police dealt with the mob, drawing parallels to the fashion in which protests in the backdrop of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement were crushed with an iron boot.
The Capitol hill coup is certainly the end of the Trump presidency, but it signals the beginning of cracks that could widen into a chasm and further divide the polarised nation that America is turning into. Between keeping White supremacists in check and addressing concerns of racial and economic inequities amid a spiralling pandemic, the country’s healing process may be longer and slower than anticipated.