The United States Capitol Hill Siege: What Led to It and Who Is to be Blamed?

What Went Down at the Capitol Hill

The world is gripped by the events taking place at the US Capitol Hill; there is confusion, chaos and violence all happening at once. It can be classified as a classic case of breach of democratic values. Protestors stormed the Congress, breaking into the senate chamber and the house of the speaker.

This was done after being encouraged by the outgoing President Mr. Donald Trump on claims of electoral fraud on the same day when the Congress was convened in order to validate Democrat leader Joe Biden’s presidential win. As the violence continued, President Trump refused to condemn the protestors.

It was reported that four people died during the entire episode. Severe violence ensued as protestors were seen breaching barricades and advancing into the halls of the building. 

They also smashed windows and brawled with the police officers on duty in what is largely being considered as one of the most destructive breaches of security USA has ever seen.

The Presidential Election 2020

Democratic Party leader Joe Biden emerged victorious in the November 3rd US presidential election, defeating Trump by a narrow margin. Nevertheless, Trump still continues to use legal remedies to remain in office and upend his victory.

The Republican leader hasn’t yet conceded defeat, alleging a massive electoral malpractice and voter fraud.

Calling the elections completely rigged, Donald Trump also went on to compare the entire process to that of a third world country on grounds that there were ballots “pouring in from everywhere”. 

He also greatly emphasized on the fact that the machinery being used lacked ownership, and was something that nobody knew anything about.

Although he didn’t give any concrete evidence of allegations of impropriety, he talked about how the vote count changed over the course of the evening and the fact that he found it extremely strange that in certain states, he was ahead in the beginning but it got slowly chipped away as the mail in ballots were counted after the in person votes.

How the Chaos Unfolded

Prior to the incident at the US Capitol, large crowds of Donald Trump supporters had already occupied the streets in order to oppose the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the election. Some also camped out overnight just to catch a glimpse of Trump and his family along with top advisors at the ‘Save America Rally’.

Later on, a raucous congregation of aggressive demonstrators, many of whom fervently waved red colored ‘Trump 2020’ flags and sported T-shirts as well as hats printed with the former president’s signature slogan ‘Keep America Great’ advanced towards the second-floor lobby inside the building which was outside the Senate chamber.

The mob somehow managed to get past all of the guards situated at the entry points and conveniently entered the Senate chamber, the same place where just a while ago, the results of the election were being thoroughly certified. 

As per reports, one of the rioters climbed up the dais and yelled, “Trump won that election.”

Moreover, the protesters also roamed through the wide halls of Capitol Hill freely, some of them even entered and attempted to loot the offices that are used by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and several other lawmakers. 

Thankfully, all the lawmakers from the House of Representatives and the senate had already been safely evacuated.

What Followed Next

Soon after the law enforcement officials were successful in freeing the building from rioters, all the lawmakers, who were in a state of shock, extremely shaken but also undeterred, positively reconvened the stalled joint session to get back to business and officially confirm President elect Joe Biden’s victory after counting all the electoral votes from the presidential election.

However, the damage had been done. 

After the extreme disorder and havoc that ensued within the prestigious and one of the most important buildings of the United States of America, over a dozen in house Democrats were quick to respond and renewed the calls for Donald Trump’s immediate impeachment way before inauguration day.

Donald Trump was not even close to criticizing any of the events that happened at the Capitol Hill in any of his statements and speeches. 

He was also given an earful by some of his own Republican Party members like the Republican Governor of Vermont Phil Scott, who put forth the demand that Trump either be removed from the White House forcefully or resign himself.

An Embarrassment for USA?

Even as world leaders including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the fiasco, the one question that confronts all of us is that- Is the United States even capable of calling itself the flagbearer of democracy anymore? The shocking scenes that were witnessed by the world make it a lot easier to answer that.

The answer invariably tilts towards the negative due to the simple reason that this so called first world country couldn’t even ensure a peaceful transition of government. Donald Trump has undoubtedly displayed great levels of hostility on every facet of his administration but nothing can justify this.

Democratic Presidents are expected to be men of substance and showcase a responsible behavior towards the nation by respectfully accepting the mandate of the citizens. 

Even if he did suspect foul play in the election, recourse to legal remedies would have been preferable to mobilizing crowds and using them for political gains.

The most important feature of democracy is participation in a raw and authentic deliberative process. But after the widespread rioting followed by a situation of anarchy, it is safe to say that this process has collapsed in totality in the US. Only time will tell what the future holds for the leadership and politics of USA.

Written by - Isha Singh

Edited by - Sandhya R

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