Stressors of continuing American civil unrest post January 6 riot: Commentary

"Seek Peace, And Pursue It (Washington, DC)" by takomabibelot is marked with CC0 1.0

By | Rachel Brooks

January 8, 2021

Commentary

On January 6, 2021, the American Congress met to hold the official counting of electoral college votes that would make President-elect Joe Biden officially the 46th President of the United States. Until that date, Joe Biden’s candidacy and election were contested and scrutinized for allegations of voter irregularity and voter fraud.

 On that day, Republican Senators and House Representatives, Joe Biden’s party of opposition, were to contest the election for the final time. This is legal in the US Code and Constitution. They had signed a coalition to review the anecdotal evidence of election fraud and irregularity presented by multiple teams across the swing states which determine the election’s final results. The lawsuits had been tossed out of the state courts and Supreme Court for lack of “damning evidence” as well as for procedural issues, such as incorrect filers. 

Yet, something that should not have occurred on January 6 did, and it sent the American populace spiraling further into unrest. For on January 6, a group of embattled protesters burst through the doors of the Chambers of Congress and stormed the room where lawmakers were meeting. Protesters included Donald Trump supporters who were present at the nearby March for Trump, as well as at least one member of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

The Capitol was secured nearly four hours after the siege by protesters. This was reported by The Denver Channel ABC. 

Donald Trump made a speech at the March For Trump rally in which he stated that his supporters should “march on the Capitol.” He is regarded as, at least, partially responsible for the incitement of violence at the Capitol on January 6. 

For his part to play in the incitement of riots, Donald Trump was banned from social media outlets, and talks ensued over impeaching him so that he cannot serve out the remaining days of his presidency. Likewise, Trump was held responsible for the obstruction of the normal process of contesting election irregularity, including attempting to force Vice President Mike Pence to reject the electoral votes from states where election integrity was held under intense scrutiny.  

In the wake of that riot, five people were killed. One woman, Ashli Babbitt, was fatally shot in the neck when she was trying to force her way to the windows of the chamber. This was confirmed by the account of Thomas Baranyi, another protester who reached to pull Babbitt away from the windows. When she was struck, he states that she fell back on him, and assured him that she was fine, before blood issued from her wound, and her mouth. The story appeared in full detail in The Epoch Times on January 8. 

In addition to Babbitt, and those who had a fatal reaction to tear gas, U.S. Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick was fatally injured in the human stampede. 

The Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ordered flags at half-mast on Capitol Hill in Sicknick’s honor.  

In addition to deaths, there were also a series of injuries during the Capitol Hill protest. One included a police officer being wedged between a metal door and an anti-riot shield. He is caught on video, bloody at the mouth, begging for help as he is crushed by the teeming press of people. 

In addition to the officer, the New York Post reported that one of the rioters, a Massachusetts woman named Therese Duke, was punched in the face and sustained a bloody injury during a riot altercation.  

Above deaths and injuries, a series of pipe bombs and other weapons such as Molotov cocktails were retrieved from the scene. 

A lawsuit was filed in the State of Georgia by federal prosecutor Sidney Powell, which provided a document containing the anecdotal evidence of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential cycle. Powell has since been sued for defamation by Dominion Voting Systems, the company she accused of employing fractional voting and other tactics to change election outcomes. The lawsuit against Sidney Powell comes to $1.3bn. Dominion Software will likewise pursue further lawsuits, potentially suing Donald Trump soon. 

Legal teams supporting Donald Trump’s challenge of the election have since dropped their lawsuits, citing the events of January 6 as their reason. The lawyer for Trump’s case in Pennsylvania stated, in a court filing, that he would like to withdraw as counsel for Donald J. Trump because he found Trump’s actions to be “repugnant.” 

In the wake of political upheaval, Republic Underground’s media vice president and human rights lawyer Irina Tsukerman spoke with International News (Azerbaijan) regarding the legitimacy of election integrity concern, and how it was disrupted by the chaos of January 6. Tsukerman noted that the American people are weary of multiple controversies, and some may wish to merely return to their lives, leaving issues regarding the electoral system of the American republic unanswered. Tsukerman likewise noted that confidence in the voting system is severely rattled after the events of the 2020 presidential cycles, and the recent Georgia Senate runoff, where there likewise appeared to be some of the same problems as were reported with the presidential cycle. 

Political upheaval continues to threaten the United States, with supporters of Trump now angered by those of the Republican party who took a stance contrary to Trump’s election contest. Politico reported that several of Trump’s reporters were seen on January 8 surrounding Senator Lindsey Graham, and calling him “a traitor.” 

Tablet Magazine made a distinct comparison between “two Capitol hills” within the United States that had fallen within the last six months. In June 2020, the capitol hill of Seattle was taken by far-left protesters in their CHOP zone, defunding the police protests. 

At the heart of American unrest, is the deep polarization between party lines. Tablet’s commentator noted that both Democrats and Republicans are supercharged in their efforts to blame one another for “destroying” the Republic, when, in fact, the polarized sides are fueling a tit-for-tat division that influences explosive acts such as riots rather than political discourse. 

As the world looks on at American civil unrest, it may wonder what the threat to American democracy is, and what the solution is. The threat is an increased escalation of the two parties as enemies rather than equal voices of a bipartisan government. Should America fail to reform its partisan system and to equally address the concerns over voter disenfranchisement and human rights, American civil instability will increase.

Whether that increase will be incremental or sporadic remains to be seen. American conflict de-escalation could be achieved by addressing the concerns of both parties, with legislation for a forensic audit of all voter processes, and with greater controls in place for human rights issues such as police brutality. America will be forced to recall its commitment to diplomatic compromise between constituents for its republic to remain intact after so much chaos in its recent history.