The ugly events on Wednesday afternoon, which culminated in a disgraceful mob violence after pro-Donald Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol where they smashed windows and occupied offices, have been, rightly so, widely condemned.
World leaders, too, did not hold back in calling the chaotic scenes as an attack on US democracy just moments after the outgoing US president had spoken to protesters in an address to repeat his false claim that he was the legitimate winner of the November presidential poll.
The Capitol building was immediately forced into lockdown as armed rioters interrupted the US Congress’s count of electoral votes meant to officially certify Joe Biden as president-elect.
Since his ascendency to the US presidency in 2016, Trump’s lack of diplomatic skills and his grotesque display of empathy for violent racists in the US has earned him more enemies than friends internationally.
His highly disconcerting rhetoric in the wake of protests sparked by the death of African American George Floyd in which he called governors and law enforcement officers to dominate angry protesters, offered insight into his racially charged character.
Interestingly, the very same Trump has routinely responded with kid gloves when it comes to transgressions coming the way of his supporters. Listen to him.
“I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us. But you have to go home now. We have to have peace. We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt. It’s a very tough period of time, there’s never been a time like this where such a thing happened, where they could take it away from all of us. From me, from you, from our country. This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home, we love you, you’re very special. You’ve seen what happens, you’ve seen the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel, but go home and go home in peace.”
What is clear is that American exceptionalism is a lie told so many times and the world believed it. What we know now is that democracy everywhere is fragile, even in the so called “free world”.
People everywhere should guard against extremisms and threats to the foundations of democracy.
Equally, there can never be no such thing as one country acting like the world’s great CIA, with so much impunity.
What we now know for sure is that America has never been great, perhaps better, but like the rest of the world, it was never great to many.
But we can create a better world by guarding against the disregard for democratic institutions, the fear monger, the hate and the white supremacy on display at the US Capitol.