The shocking sights that the world was subjected to on January 6, 2021, as Trump loyalists stormed the Capitol in Washington D.C. should not have taken any careful observer of the Trump presidency by surprise. It was the day some of us had been dreading and fearing for a long time. Indeed, it was the logical culmination of the assault on democracy that he has orchestrated over the last four years of his presidency and even before that, during the election campaign of 2015-2016.
Greed, selfishness, disdain for Americans who don’t shamelessly kowtow to him, disrespect for the Constitution, and for governmental agencies and institutions, these have been the hallmarks of the Trump administration. After he lost the election to Joe Biden in November, it became increasingly obvious that he was going to pursue a scorched-earth policy to do as much damage as possible to American democracy, out of revenge and pique. This insurrection is the consequence of Trump’s hatred—possibly a symptom of self-hatred—certainly of mental instability.
But unfortunately, the fact that a megalomaniac was able to pursue and enact such a destructive tenure in the Oval Office is an indication that there is something seriously wrong in America on the ideological level. The kind of deep division that currently exists between the right and the left goes all the way down to its roots. The nation is riven in two, we can now speak of “Red” America and “Blue” America. And they are at war: in states, counties, villages and even families, anger shows its ugly head on a daily basis, leaving divorces and broken friendships in their wake.
We’ve dodged the bullet this time, the Constitution guided our Senate and Congress, and enough of our elected officials “did the right thing”—even if some did it reluctantly and only at the last possible moment–but we need to fear for next time. Democracy is in grave peril not only in the US, but all over the world and it has become vulnerable to the kinds of demagoguery and autocratic abuse that we normally see only in “banana republics”. The assault on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 was the proof.