The black blot on democracy
The year 2020, for me, ended on January 6, 2021, when the world bore witness to a spectacle that was unimaginable till it happened. An insurrection bid in the oldest democracy of the world. The sitting President of the USA trying to overturn his electoral loss through a coup in a desperate last ditch attempt to hold on to the Presidency. The Capitol building being raided and under siege by Donald Trump’s supporters in response to his call to help him cancel the results of what he called a rigged election. But the seeds of the chaotic day were sown much in advance.
In the months leading to the Presidential election, Donald Trump had started spreading the wild conspiracy theory that the election would be rigged for him to lose. Maybe he knew after all that he would lose. Anyways, taking this as a cue, all his supporters voted en masse for him. When he still lost after garnering a whopping 75 million votes, he claimed that no one can get more votes than this and used it as the premise to establish that the election was indeed rigged. When a lie is repeated consistently over a period of time, people start believing & buying into it. Trump has clearly exploited this gullibility among his supporters. Every time he stood his ground on his lies when his claims were dismissed it strengthened the belief among his supporters that he has won the election. He only exhorted his supporters to assemble at the Capitol building, gave them no instructions & left it them to decide further course of action. Since he kept saying to save America he has to remain President, people decided to take things into their own hands. Simply put, he tried to engineer a coup without explicitly inciting it.
A fluttering Indian flag in the midst of the protestors raised intrigue and consternation among Indians the world over, the fallout of which continues on social media. Among the group of Indian migrants who are Trump supporters and affiliated with the Republican party and were part of the protest was one person from my home state and an alumnus of the engineering college where I had studied who brought the flag to the protest. Once it was determined that he is a Christian there was even more confusion. After India’s PM had openly endorsed Trump in his reelection bid, doubts had creeped up about the involvement of Hindu migrants who support Hindu nationalism in the protests. Indian flag amongst the protest can be easily construed as India’s participation in the coup attempt. Moreover Indian migrants who are now US citizens carrying Indian flags into a politically charged situation internal to the US is atrocious and can have consequences. As the FBI identifies the protesters and especially the ones who barged into and pillaged the Capitol building, there will be more clarity on whether there were any sinister motives in breaking into the building and if the lives of the senators assembled inside were under threat.
After 4 years of allowing Trump to post his whims and fancies and brainwash his supporters with his narratives and rhetoric on social media, Facebook and Instagram have finally suspended his profiles till his Presidential term ends and Twitter has suspended his personal account permanently. He has actively used social media to propagate his Make America Great Again (MAGA) ideology and to brainwash his supporters into believing that him being President is the only way to save American democracy and regain America’s lost glory. This mirrors exactly how the Indian PM has won two terms in office in the name of protecting Hindu religion and regaining the lost glory of Hindu culture. Trump is an authoritative billionaire businessman who wound his way into the President’s chair. Antagonizing the most powerful world leader who doubles as a billionaire businessman would have been literally impossible for the social media companies.
As the US senate contemplates impeachment proceedings against Trump to remove him from office immediately especially in the light of him still having access to America’s nuclear codes and barring him from holding a public office in future, I believe any action taken against him now will only bolster the belief in his supporters that he really won. Letting him go without repercussions will be as dangerous as shutting down his voice & jailing him for sedition. Add to this his white supremacist support base & the long standing gun control issue in the US. Looks like the country is descending into dark & dangerous times. Biden’s call for the country to heal may not be heeded after all.