The Capitol building and its political climate

On January 6th, a few weeks ago, a mob stormed the United States Capitol building to stop the democratic process of certifying the electoral votes for president, but this historic event did not come out of nowhere. This was an attack a long time in the making, both in the political climate and the planning by the perpetrators. 

For years before the Trump presidency, the Democratic and Republican political parties had been drifting away from each other.. Political rivalry can be very helpful because it brings multiple viewpoints and gives the people a choice as to what they think is best. However in America people on both sides of the political spectrum were dismissing and demonizing people who didn’t agree with them, this was very hurtful to our democracy because it was no longer about challenging one’s views and compromising, it was now about if one side or the other would “win”. 

Onto this stage stepped Trump, he was a reality TV star with no history in politics, but he was able to use the growing political divide to his advantage. By making people think that he would “fight” for them and help them “win,” in this new political battlefield he gained a lot of support. Trump also knew that for a fight there needs to be an enemy. On the campaign trail, he tweeted saying that the enemy was illegal immigrants in the United States who would take the jobs of American workers, and that another enemy was the liberal politicians who would take away the guns of American civilians.

In the end, it worked for Trump, people thought that he would fight for them and they voted for him, and on January 20th, 2017 Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. Throughout his presidency, he did many questionable things such as going as far as bribing a foreign leader to get “dirt” on a political opponent, but his supporters didn’t care because to them the other side was already the enemy and the president was only exposing the truth. 

During Trump’s presidency a fringe group created a conspiracy theory called pizzagate (that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring in a pizza restaurant) began gaining traction, this group known as QAnon grew online with hundreds of thousands of members in facebook groups and online forums. The group believed that president Trump was the savior who was protecting them from the Democrats and when asked about this theory Trump’s only response was that he knew nothing about it. While conspiracy theories have always existed in the United States, their rapid growth over the internet was something completely new that made QAnon much more dangerous. 

With the 2020 election looming, Trump had to get enough votes to win, but with an opponent that was a substantial threat, Trump was struggling in the polls, but by telling his supporters the media was biased and those were not the real numbers, he still kept the illusion that he was ahead. When the election results came out with Trump losing to Joe Biden, Trump made unfounded allegations of widespread voter fraud and claimed that he was the true winner of the election.

Many believed this lie that Trump told to the American people, and they gathered in Washington on January 6th with military-grade weapons. After a speech where Trump continued his claims that he had not lost the election and after telling the crowd to “fight,” the mob went to the Capitol and took control of it. And while the rioters were eventually kicked out, the fact that such a thing happened was very jarring for the American public and projected an image of instability worldwide. 

Hopefully the nation can recover from the political divide, and we can see the members of opposite parties as fellow Aamericans first and foremost. There is a lot of rebuilding that needs to be done, but I believe that we can eventually get through this rough patch of American democracy. While mild political rivalry is fine and even essential, we should never get to the point of demonizing people with other political views.