Well, my friends, it’s been quite a 24 hours, hasn’t it? Y’know … I’ve heard many people in the past day say, “This is not who we are”. Often in the past four years, I’ve said it myself. But today, as I attempt to take in all the news, attempt to figure out who I hate more, Donald Trump, those who have enabled him for the past four years, or those who did his bidding yesterday, I came to a conclusion: Yes, this is who we are, or at least this is who a good portion of this country are. It’s not who I am, and if you’re reading this blog, it’s not who you are, but … it’s obvious that there are many out there for whom yes, this is exactly who they are.
And following that realization, I ask myself, can “we” and “they” find a pathway to mutual respect, can we find a way to live side-by-side in this nation in peace and harmony ever again? It is too soon for me to answer this question, for I’m still far too angry to step back and assess it with a cool head, but it’s a question to ponder for another day, and one that I think we will need to try to answer sooner rather than later.
Yesterday’s chaos didn’t only affect the United States and those of us who live here, but was heard and felt around the globe. How could it not be? We are, whether some choose to believe it or not, all interconnected, we rely on each other in this global era. What happens here has ramifications far and wide. Here are some of the reactions from around the globe …
“The scenes from the Capitol are utterly horrifying. Solidarity with those in 🇺🇸 on the side of democracy and the peaceful and constitutional transfer of power. Shame on those who have incited this attack on democracy.” – Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland
“The United States stands for democracy around the world and it is now vital that there should be a peaceful and orderly transfer of power.” – Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
“Trump and his supporters should finally accept the decision of the American voters and stop trampling on democracy. From inflammatory words come violent deeds. Contempt for democratic institutions has disastrous effects.” – German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas
“In this sad episode in the U.S., supporters of fascism showed their real face: anti-democratic and aggressive. American society and institutions react with vigor to this threat to democracy.” – Luis Roberto Barroso, Brazilian Supreme Court justice and the head of the country’s electoral court
“Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbour. Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the US must be upheld – and it will be.” – Justin Trudeau, Canadian Prime Minister
“Closely following what is happening in Washington DC. These images are shocking, also because they hurt our democratic ideals. They show the extent of President-elect Biden’s task, which will be to unite American society around a common project. We trust him to do that.” – Sophie Wilmès, Belgian Prime Minister
“Like so many others, I’ve been watching what’s happening in the United States. I share the sentiment of friends in the US – what is happening is wrong. Democracy – the right of people to exercise a vote, have their voice heard and then have that decision upheld peacefully should never be undone by a mob. Our thoughts are with everyone who is as devastated as we are by the events of today. I have no doubt democracy will prevail.” – Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand
And from our own, former President George W. Bush …
“I am appalled by the reckless behavior of some political leaders since the election and by the lack of respect shown today for our institutions, our traditions, and our law enforcement. This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic – not our democratic republic.”
And from the incoming President-elect, Joe Biden …
“Let me be very clear: The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect the true America. This is not who we are. What we are seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent. It is disorder. It is chaos. It borders on sedition. And it must end. Now.
You’ve heard me say this in different contexts: the words of a President matter, no matter how good or bad that president is. At their best, the words of a president can inspire. At their worst, they can incite. To storm the Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices, and to threaten the safety of duly elected officials is not protest. It is insurrection.
The world is watching — and like so many other Americans, I am shocked and saddened that our nation, so long a beacon of light, hope, and democracy has come to such a dark moment.”
It is past time for Donald Trump to be removed from office, and I’m not sure this nation can afford to wait another 13 days until Joe Biden takes the Oath of Office. But then again, might his removal by the 25th Amendment set off fresh attacks like the one we saw today … or worse? Barring his removal, I think that at the very least, Mike Pence, Congress, cabinet members, and perhaps even the Supreme Court must find a way to tie his hands (and mouth) until January 20th. This ‘man’ has no business having his finger on either his Twitting machine or the nuclear codes. Think about it.