US should work to put its own house in order

By Maitreya Bhakal
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, January 12, 2021
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Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather near the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C., the United States, on Jan. 6, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

Americans are generally proud of their elections and democracy, however, some are reluctant to accept the results of the 2020 election. After numerous attempts to change the outcome, they finally tried the violent route. 

On Jan. 5, a mob stormed the United States Capitol building when lawmakers were certifying the electoral vote, seeking to overturn the election results. Following decades of inciting violent insurrections in other countries, America finally experienced the same in its own country. 

One female protester was shot and later succumbed to her injuries. So far, five people have died and multiple police officers have been injured. 

U.S. politicians scrambled to explain the insurrection and tried to divert attention by espousing meaningless clichés such as: "This is not who we are." 

Many have compared the Capitol break-in to the storming of the Hong Kong Legislative Council building in July 2019. Both incidents are similar to some extent, as the groups of rioters share common traits such as a disdain for peace, low tolerance for alternate viewpoints, and a proclivity for violence and destruction.

U.S. lawmakers condemned the incident on Capitol Hill as a violent riot, insurrection and sedition. This is in spite of the fact that Nancy Pelosi actually called the Hong Kong riots back in 2019 "a beautiful sight." 

Why is there such a stark difference in the choice of words? 

It took U.S. police barely a few hours to kill an unarmed protester – something that did not happen in Hong Kong even after a whole year of violent riots. 

A curfew was quickly announced in Washington in a fraction of the time it took to announce half-baked lockdowns to fight the pandemic. The counting of the electoral vote then continued in Congress after protesters were removed from the Capitol premises. 

President Trump's election in 2016 left an open wound in the United States. However, he did not create the quagmire in which the nation finds itself today, he just rose from it. With the pandemic dealing another blow, it is still unclear what the future holds for the U.S. 

Many Americans must be distressed to see democracy being subverted in this way.

Besides the riot in the Capitol, more than 21.8 million COVID-19 cases had been reported in the U.S. as of Jan. 9, with over 369,000 people dying from the coronavirus. Maybe it is time for America to focus more on solving its own problems and less on those of other countries.

Maitreya Bhakal is an Indian freelance commentator on global issues.

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