Helt almindelige amerikanere er villige til at ty til vold.
Who participated in the insurrection a year ago? The answer might surprise you
Ordinary American citizens are willing to resort to violence.
“What the fuck is going on?” Those were the first words I heard when my Danish friend called me on January 6 last year. We were on opposite sides of the globe and were both watching, paralyzed by the images on our TV screens.
The images on the screen showed thousands of aggressive people, many with Trump flags and in military-like attire, hammering at police officers, smashing windows and doors and forcing their way in to the Capitol building, where the crowed went howling and screaming from corridor to corridor to find prominent politicians’ offices. That day, both civilians and police officers lost their lives.
“It will be ok. The American system is strong,” said my former colleague when I spoke to him a few minutes before the conversation with my friend in Denmark. He is an elderly gentleman, and he served at the University of Washington as a professor of history for more than 30 years. I had called him crying, hoping to hear some calming words from this experienced man – I needed him to say that America would be ok after this.
Who went to Washington DC that day when the situation went crazy and people stormed Congress?
Contrary to what one might think, many of the rioters were citizens without extreme right winged leanings. And that fact is scary.
It turns out that those who behaved most violently on January 6, 2020, were not people on the authorities list of threats. Most have never committed a crime before. They were our neighbors, active in their churches – ordinary Americans. In other words, they do not fit the profile of a typical extremist.
But they believed, were completely convinced, that Trump won the presidential election. Their sense of justice had suffered a setback. And so they felt violence was ok.
If ordinary people feel that they have the right to use and react with violent, anti-democratic methods when their sense of justice is violated, then we are potentially facing a huge problem in the future.
Despite the fact that this feeling of injustice and election fraud was rooted in conspiratorial beliefs, the events on that horrible day in January last year, show us that this or a similar attack on our democracy could happen again if an election result goes against some people´s preference.
How long do we have a democracy if various private individuals feel they have a right to violently oppose democracy – even when there is no, as in absolutely none, zip, zero, evidence for their claim of fraudulence?
Since the attack on democracy a year ago, conspiracy theories have not diminished. On various electronic platforms, multiple outrageous conspiracy theories thrives. In these lonely Corona times it might be understandable that some people can fall into a black hole and be trapped and sucked in to such a universe. After all, we all need a sense of community and on a certain level, these groups offer that – however sick they are in their mindsets. But who bears responsibility and who do we hold accountable for the threat to democracy?
In the United States, economic means create power. At the same time, political decision-making processes moves at a snail’s pace. Meanwhile, social platforms are making money, and the conspiracy theories people are willing to believe in are becoming more and more insane.
To put it mildly, it has been an uncommonly ugly sight to see politicians compromise on democratic principles instead of showing the people that they are working to make the democracy they claim to be fighting for stronger and make sure nothing like we saw last year will ever happen again.
Whether it’s a right-wing Trump extremist, a hard-working UPS worker, or a young man looking for an adrenaline rush that took part in the terrorist attack on Congress and US democracy last year, the fact is that they need to be prosecuted – every single one of them.
Because everyone has an individual responsibility, and one should be held accountable for one’s actions – even if one regrets or was caught in the moment and did things one would otherwise never have done.
The investigation process is underway, but it is moving far too slow, and it is important for the surrounding community’s belief in the system to get a feeling that the justice system and democracy work – preferably before the next presidential election.
We cannot forget, however, that the main culprit for the attack on the US election process is Donald Trump – and he must be held responsible for having used ordinary citizens as puppets in his attempt to overthrow democracy in God’s own country.