Yesterday was a day which that began with thousands of President Trump’s supporters in Washington for demonstrations turned violent as many in attendance saw Wednesday as a last stand for Trump because Congress was set to confirm that President-elect Joe Biden won the election. Trump — who lost the popular and electoral college vote — continues to dispute the election results, without evidence, and has encouraged his supporters to attend the rallies.
He took the stage about noon to roaring crowds, falsely claiming he had won the election.Later at the U.S. Capitol, throngs of people pushed past police who were trying to block them from entering the building as lawmakers inside debated counting electoral college votes confirming Biden’s victory. A mob was able to breach security and successfully enter the building, where one person was shot and later died.
There’s no doubt that quite literally the whole world had to get used to President Trump’s eccentricities, but now he’s clearly crossed a red line and done the kind of damage, both to the country he leads and to his own political career, that can never be undone. That is why presidents and prime ministers across the world got into a kind of a race to condemn the “attack on democracy” as soon as possible. One reason, of course, would be the rush to get on the right side of the new administration, which everybody will have to do business with. Even Trump’s friends and people he’s done favours to, including some within the US Republican Party, couldn’t help but distance themselves from a man who’s increasingly coming across as one who is just unable to digest his loss and is willing to cause lasting harm to the system as he throws another tantrum.
All this, of course, is the direct result of the fascism and intolerance brewing in the world’s superpower – and unleashed by Trump, even within a nation which has strong democratic foundations. Few had expected things would take so terrible a turn. Trump loyalists, including senior Senator Lindsey Graham, have disassociated themselves from him and spoken about American legacy.
There is now a very real division in the US. The most difficult task for incoming President Joe Biden will be to somehow repair the differences and put the nation back together on one footing. Reaction from Europe and the rest of the Western world has been one of shock and condemnation. While the Global South has justifiably looked on with a level of amusement and sarcasm, given what it has been subjected to by the self-righteousness of a war-mongering superpower over the years.
America will now struggle to wield the moral authority it has always used in order to weaponise its foreign policy. How will American leaders now lecture the world on high-minded values wrapped in holier-than-thou rhetoric and how will the world keep a straight face while enduring such lectures? Americans may want to prepare themselves for the sneers that will keep coming their way for a very long time.
America will need to heal itself before it attempts to heal the planet. United States today is a troubled society afflicted with a social, political and cultural sickness that has seeped deep into its folds during the last four Trump years. The new president will need to acknowledge it, diagnose it and then start to heal it. It will take a long time, but the world will wait because for all its ailments and psychological problems, America still matters to the world. Just a bit less so now.