As the calendar flips and we enter a New Year vestiges of 2020 have not vanished, and this is particularly distressing when the democratic process has been violently usurped by Trump protesters storming the Capitol Building on Wednesday afternoon.
The insurrection in the nation’s capital is reminiscent of the reaction following the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 and the subsequent firing on Fort Sumter and states seceding from the union. Suddenly, the U.S. was embroiled in a bloody Civil War that left thousands lifeless on battlefields.
Outrage from Trump protesters has been brewing for months following his defeat by Joe Biden, and he has done nothing to stem the tide of dissent, in fact, his rhetoric has fulminated and fueled the anger.
A crowd of angry protesters, some hoisting flags, many outfitted in camouflage gear were filmed breaking windows, pushing past guards at the Senate floor, and forcing confrontations. Even before the eruption of violence several buildings in the area were evacuated and Vice-President Pence who was overseeing the electoral vote count was quickly escorted to safety. His departure was soon followed by members of Congress.
While the protesters were massing outside the Capitol Building, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was berating his fellow GOP members for objecting to the count, advising them on the danger they were precipitating. “We cannot imitate and escalate what we have repudiated,” he said in the Chamber, referring to what Democrats had done in the past.
There is no provision in the Constitution that specifies what can be done if a president refuses to leave office, though as President-elect Biden said on Wednesday, “he can be evicted.”
Now, it is reported that the National Guard is on the way, and we can expect further brutal encounters as the turmoil increases.
There is still no word from Trump as it is now reported that a woman has been shot and in critical condition.
One of the most unpredictable years in America may be but a terrible harbinger.
“This is not dissent, this is disorder, bordering on chaos,” Biden said in a special press conference. This lawlessness, he said, was “mob violence and not representative of the American people.” But the Civil War reminds us that such behavior and outrage is not unprecedented.