Trump caps off four years of democratic backsliding by encouraging insurrection

Staff Editorial

Words cannot adequately capture how we feel about the recent riot at the U.S. Capitol, though it is our duty to try.

A terrible tragedy occurred on Wednesday at the Capitol building, where thousands of pro-Trump protestors broke the barricades around the sacred democratic institution and unlawfully stormed the building.

Never did we think that the floors of the House and Senate would be occupied and defaced by American citizens seeking to overturn the outcome of a fair and free election.

The riot at the Capitol is a direct result of the rhetoric of President Trump and his lackeys in the Senate and House.

This seditious act is a fitting end to four years of incendiary rhetoric from the President. If the arc of history bends toward justice as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Trump” shall surely be uttered with the same contempt that we say the names of James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson. And we must also remember the complicity of people like Senators Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) in stoking the flames of sedition.

Trump had an opportunity to salvage some inkling of his already dismal reputation by issuing a strong response to the Capitol break-in. Instead, he squandered that opportunity by telling extremists, “We love you, you’re very special.”

The violence that Trump has encouraged is not merely his problem. His rhetoric has been co-opted by countless supporters, in and out of government.

The riot also exposed the stark hypocrisies of law enforcement in the United States for those who have incessantly denied that police could err. More specifically, it often ends up being those who manage the police, like the executive branch, that fail at mobilizing resources effectively – and fairly.

One Capitol Police officer, when asked by the New York Times why rioters weren’t being forced out of the Capitol, said, “We’ve just got to let them do their thing now.”

If those rioters had been a different skin color or political persuasion, we don’t believe events would have ended the same way.

In June, Black Lives Matter protestors in Washington, D.C. were met with a helicopter circling above them, imitating counterinsurgency tactics used in Afghanistan – all for the President to have a photo op where he held the Bible upside-down. Why wasn’t there this type of strong law enforcement response yesterday?

It would be incorrect to say that this incident exposed the flaws in American politics. The truth is that we’ve known about the threat of democratic backsliding for years.

The United States has been a democracy for 245 years. It has never been a perfect democracy, but we as a country cannot realize the project the Founding Fathers set out to achieve if we simply give up.

America didn’t give up through the Revolution, or the War of 1812. We didn’t give up during the Civil War, and we sure as hell didn’t give up during the past several years of democratic backsliding – at least, those of us who weren’t ignoring it.

When your children and grandchildren ask you, “What was it like in the 2020s?,” do you want to tell them we laid over and let conspiracy and violence run free? Or do you want to tell them that we swiftly said “No!” to reactionarism and insurrection?

Our country is only the sum of its parts. One of those parts must be a free press. America is lucky that its freedom of the press allows the public to learn about threats to democracy like this. The Californian and other publications must use this freedom responsibly, to report on the truth. And the truth is that the President encouraged a takeover of the Capitol and disruption of our democratic process. He must be removed from office immediately.