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The Capitol Hill Attack: What Should We Infer from It?

One can argue that the revolt the entire world observed last Wednesday, January 6, 2021, in the nation’s capital, has a raison d’être. The condemnation of that act came from many world leaders and from anyone who understands the importance of democracy and the role democratic institutions play in a country, especially in the United States of America. That was a scary event that shook the entire nation, and justice will indeed be served.

At the same time, many Trump supporters wondered why those who scream for the respect of the will of the people, who voted for Joe Biden, and who condemned the Capitol Hill attack in the name of democracy, did nothing or little in the days following President Donald Trump’s election victory in 2016 when there were riots all over the country. The reasons for that passivity were various and went from the president’s behavior towards women to his policies to ban some Muslim countries’ citizens from entering the U.S., for instance. That indifference from legalists to discourage the riots and call for the respect of the people’s will in 2016 played a key role in the last week’s event. Supporters of President Trump might have seen it as a kind of a double standard.

Many of those who stormed Capitol Hill weren’t racists and Proud Boys members. The majority of them were simple citizens who were angry and believed that they were defending and protecting their American democracy. Without being someone who wants to perpetuate Trumpism, it is important to question that double standard that led in some ways to the scene the entire world observed on January 6.

I am not here to celebrate or vilify anyone. The attack on Capitol Hill was neither an act of terrorism, an insurrection, nor a coup d’état, as some politicians, scholars, and the media argue. It is a jacquerie. It is a revolt of some citizens refusing the double standard they have seen since 2016 after the election of their president. It is an act of rebellion of people who have been treated as uneducated, racist, and anti-immigrant. It is neither the 1917 October Revolution nor Kristallnacht. There was no real strategy, no real organization, or tactics.

While a few Trump supporters were determined to create chaos, a large part of the Capitol Hill protesters appeared lost and wandering from one area to another in the building. It is a cry of anger, a cry of despair of individuals who believed the election was stolen from them. It is a cry we all must listen to and take the appropriate measures to avoid in the future.

President Trump’s supporters are also Americans, such as members of Congress, police officers, doctors, teachers, farmers, students, and businessmen. Taking the issue like they are the sole plague of our society will only intensify the division among citizens and lead to a possible civil war in the future.

The incoming Biden administration has a lot of work to do to reconcile the nation. It is time for healing. Unity does not come when the other side is vilified and censored. President Biden must be the president for those who like him and those who do not. He should be the president for those who voted for him and those who did not. It is vital to talk to our fellow Americans who do not see things as we do. It is time to listen to them, hear their grievances, put oneself in their shoes, and come together to build a better nation that is internationally respected.

With the crisis of democracy that many democracies are experiencing, the expansionist whims of Russia and Turkey, and China’s rise, the only way we can stand firm and powerful is to come together as one people, one person with one vision. The diversity of our political opinions, our multiculturalism, and our love of our freedom of speech must be our strengths. It is our duty as citizens who value life, advocate for freedom of speech, protest any type of oppression, and who unconditionally love this country to create a better relationship between everyone on this land no matter the color of their skin, their social status, their work, their sexual orientation, and their political affiliations.