U.S. Capitol Invasion Prompts Reflection

     The year of 2021 has been full of historic events, yet two of the most influential have included the swearing in of a new president, and the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Hundreds stormed the building, leaving disastrous consequences and a new administration attempting to reflect. It was predicted that the 2020 race and election would be close, and when a record number of people set out for the polls, it was determined that Democratic nominee Joseph R. Biden, Jr. would be the next president of the United States. However, claims of election fraud were suggested, and ultimately led to then President Donald Trump pressuring the Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, to overturn election results in his favor. 

     Regardless, it was divulged that President Biden had won the election and would be sworn into office early the next year. Unfortunately, the transition in power was not without trouble, and tensions peaked when a group of angered extremists rioted at the U.S. Capitol building. As lawmakers were counting ballots, hundreds of people charged the building. It is reported that many of the members came from President Donald Trump’s “Save America Rally,” in which the idea of a stolen election was promoted. Around 1:10 in the afternoon, President Trump urged supporters to flank towards the Capitol saying, “We fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” 

     Within minutes, rioters began fighting the police on the Capitol steps, leading to an evacuation being ordered. Shortly after, the mayor of Washington D.C. implemented a citywide curfew, ordering citizens to return home. Congressmen and women were in the throws of conflict, and many took to Twitter to tweet live updates. Soon after 2:00 pm, rioters were able to break through police lines and began to scale the barrier walls. While the conflict intensified, President Trump tweeted a plea for peace towards the police officers as they are “truly on the side of our Country.” Yet, his request was not met, and those within the Capitol building reported the sound of gunshots soon after. 

     The District of Columbia National Guard was mobilized in order to aid the local law enforcement, and President Trump released a video asking for the rioters to return home. At 8:00 pm that evening, Congress was able to reconvene. Since the riot, there have been five confirmed related deaths, and hundreds of arrests on various charges. This attack presented a dark background to the beginning of the Biden Administration. With the division between extremists of each party presenting itself in such a manner, it is clear that President Biden will have his work cut out for him in order to bring people together, and prevent further conflicts. 

     Sophomore Kate Vogelsperger noted how the Biden Administration can grow from this attack; she reflected, “the Biden Administration can learn that there is a growing responsibility for everyone in politics and government to ‘turn down the heat’ from the last few years.” Her opinion is shared by many who agree that the current office holders need to relieve the tension that has grown over the years between extremist groups. 

     Furthering this idea, Social Studies teacher Mr. Wieckiewicz said, “The current administration needs to know that this can happen again unless the responsible parties are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” This belief is popular in that people find that the best way to deter extremists from such actions is to display the consequences. Additionally, Mr. Wieckiewicz faulted the lack of education on political matters as a culprit. “This problem started with a failure to teach the American public about our American values of inclusion, equality, and acceptance,” he said.

     Overall, this disastrous riot will leave stains on American history and politics for years to come. It brought the weaknesses in the system to light, and now the administration must adopt a plan to rectify them in order to prevent something similar from occurring again. The fallout from the attack has prompted many to reflect on the political climate in America, and will hopefully lead to solutions that will aid in preventing such violent demonstrations.