In Washington, the world witnessed an unprecedented raid of the Capitol by pro-Trump supporters to subvert the election results. The mob attack was egged on by Trump’s continual assertion of a rigged election. Thousands of protesters violently besieged the Capitol while members of the Congress were meeting to ratify November’s presidential election. This deadly incident was believed to have been prodded by President Trump after attending the “Save America” rally in which he pledged to “never concede” an election. He told his supporters, “We had an election that was stolen from us. It was a landslide election and everyone knows it, especially the other side.” However, President-elect Biden also condemned President Trump’s effort to override the election as “trying to use a mob to silence the voices of nearly 160 million Americans.”
The rampage was a last-ditch act of desperation, anger, and division that was further instigated since President Trump failed in the November election. Former President Trump persistently opposed recognizing Biden’s victory despite winning both the electoral college and popular vote. He claimed that Biden’s victory was obtained through election misconduct, as he asserted that hordes of dead people voted and a pile of fraudulent Biden ballots were included in the count after Election Day. The spread of conspiracy and misinformation by Trump’s fabricated allegation gradually eroded trust in the voting system. A Republican and former director of the election in Kentucky, James Young, said, “The onslaught of unfounded fraud claims has fostered scepticism from the electorate towards local election officials, who had already been contending with the unprecedented challenges of conducting a safe election amid a pandemic.”
Chaos, inequality, and right violations rose dramatically under Trump’s presidency. Washington has seen many protests over the years, from peaceful demonstrations of the Black Live Matter Movement to violent storms on Capitol Hill. It reflected that American democracy is gradually backsliding. Since former President Trump took office, his wanton behaviour and authoritarian rhetoric have repeatedly transgressed democratic practices. Many analysts argued that, for reasons transcending Donald Trump, liberal democracy would remain in retreat.
The situation has changed dramatically following the traumatic mob at the Capitol. A large majority of American voters have criticized the violence and uphold the peaceful transfer of power. Both Democrats and Republicans are calling for swift actions against the insurrection that Trump provoked. Former Vice President Mike Pence said, “This attack on our Capitol will not be tolerated, and those involved will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of law.” Democrats confirmed the second impeachment toward Trump for “incitement of insurrection” in the Capitol. This impeachment indicates that “no one is above the law, and wrongdoers are needed to be held accountable.” Historian Carol Anderson, a professor at Emory University, said, “When we don’t hold folks accountable for the violence that they do to American democracy, we end up with insurrectionist storming in our national Legislature.”
Even though the anomaly of Trumpism is in peril, political divisions still widely remain in the United States. It is crucial to understand what issues roil society, making healing more effective. For decades, The United States witnessed a grave “racial injustice and disparity” in how black and white people are treated by law enforcement, which can be seen in the Black Lives Matter Movement and the Capitol storm. According to The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, “when Black people protest for our lives, we are all too often met by National Guard troops or police equipped with assault rifles, shields, tear gas and battle helmets.” Moreover, Associate professor of history of Rhode Colleges, Charles McKinney, also asserted, “The response from law enforcement was a blatant display of systemic racism, it was a display of white privilege, the disparities in policing in this country.”
The incoming inauguration of President Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris was seen by many as unique opportunities for improving a better America. After being sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, President Biden moved swiftly to sign a series of executive orders to reverse previous administration policies. Firstly, he tore down anti-immigration policies, ending the U.S.-Mexico border wall, and terminating a travel ban on Muslim minorities. His moves gave many immigration activists a high expectation to overhaul the existing immigration system. According to Lorella Praeli, the president of Community Change Action, said, “We are truly in the cusp of a new day, and I could not be more thrilled. The new administration and Congress will face a political mandate to deliver on the vision for a more just and free country.”
Secondly, he dedicated to addressing the overwhelming impacts from the covid-19 pandemic, strengthening the economic recovery, and altering Trump’s environmental agendas. He invoked a “Defense Production Act” to ramp up protective equipment supplies, testing kits and vaccine materials. He also urged all American to wear masks, social-distance and imposed a travel ban on European Countries and South Africa to combat the spreading of new Covid-19 variant. For the environmental agenda, President Biden decided to rejoin the Paris Agreement. He also began to alter a slew of Trump’s environmental policies, including putting a halt to the Keystone XL pipeline; enforcing a temporary moratorium on oil and natural gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; re-creating a working group on the social costs of greenhouse gasses; and reversing the rollbacks to vehicle emission standards.
Thirdly, he committed to prioritizing justice, restructure unequal systems, and eradicating systemic racism. He dismantled the Trump’s 1776 Commission which restricted the government’s capacity to promote diversity and racial equity. Vice President Kamala Harris mentioned, “the U.S. justice system does not apply in the same way to white and Black people in the U.S., rich and poor,” and pledged to address the disparity. Moreover, President Biden recently retracted the Trump administration policy that prohibited transgender people from serving in the U.S. military. President Biden stated, “What I’m doing is enabling all qualified Americans to serve their country in uniform and essentially restoring the situation as it existed before with transgender personnel.” As a fact, Trump’s order had brought controversial criticism and protest from gay rights advocates who slammed the ruling as “bigoted” and “irresponsible.” Nearly 60 percent of Americans also supported that transgender people should be allowed to serve in the U.S. armed forces.
Although this is just the beginning of the Biden administration, this list of reversal orders from President Biden is a step in the right direction in ensuring that all Americans of all backgrounds and races have equal opportunity to access government resources, benefits and services. Moving forward, it will be important that Americans continue to hold their federal and state governments accountable for protecting all its citizens, no matter their age, race, gender, ability, and class, or democracy will collapse.