Go to contents

Politics of refusal and division leaves shameful smudges on U.S. democratic history

Politics of refusal and division leaves shameful smudges on U.S. democratic history

Posted January. 08, 2021 07:23,   

Updated January. 08, 2021 07:23


Violent supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump who does not accept his election defeat made dramatic scenes on Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol where a joint session was organized to certify the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. As they breached the U.S. Congress building, senators and representatives were evacuated under police escort. The violent conflict between the roaring occupants of the premises and police troops ended up with many injured victims, four deaths including a woman shot by the police to death and 52 arrests. As the turmoil in the campaign to refuse Trump’s defeat escalated high enough to get the U.S. Capitol unprecedentedly occupied, it will be remembered as a disgraceful stain on 240 years’ democratic history of the United States since its foundation in 1776.

Although President Trump’s supporters signaled their demonstrations in advance, he is to blame for instilling fury and misbelief in the minds of his followers; and in essence aiding and abetting the breach of the Congress. Addressing a group of demonstrators at a park near the White House, he reiterated his refusal to concede. After his followers swarmed the Capitol, the president called for peaceful protests. However, Trump did not demand a disassembly but instead praised the rioters as “patriots.” U.S. politics is driven into a chaos as not only Democrats but also Republicans raise their voices for President Trump’s impeachment just two weeks before his official retirement. Washington, D.C. issued a state of emergency to keep it valid by Jan. 21, the day after the presidential inauguration ceremony.

The riot at the heart of U.S. politics clearly demonstrates not only how severely the nation has been divided for four years with President Trump in office, but also how deeply the scars of division are left on its democratic leadership and spirits shared across the globe. Former U.S. presidents slammed the storming of the Congress by calling it dishonor and shame. British, German, Canadian and many other Western leaders criticized the scenes as disgraceful and stressed the significance of a peaceful transfer of power, which sounds like a fearful voice that Trump-style extremism may infect their countries.

As President Trump says he will continue to protest against the election results even after he leaves office, the nation will be left in a long drama of confusion and chaos for the time being. The unsubstantiated refusal to lose the election is not only a downright infringement of basic democratic values and rules, but also a destructive attack on the fundamental order observed by democratic citizens.

Having said that, it was fortunate that the joint Congress session was resumed a few hours after such a craziness stormed the building, testifying the strength of the U.S. democratic system. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said right after the reopening of the session that violence always loses but freedom always wins. Many U.S. electorates chose Biden as he pledged to restore U.S. ideological values. Given that Georgia, a predominantly Republican state, voted for the Democratic presidential candidate and two Democratic senators, even those on the opposite side hope Biden to bring back restoration and unity to the nation. This message resonates with South Korean politics where division, extremism and hatred tromp reconciliation and mutual prosperity.