As bullets took precedence over ballots in Washington, President-elect Biden said this was not ‘dissent, but disorder’. Trump, perhaps out of compulsion and in a faux sense of lachrymose grandstanding, urged peace and calm. The damage had been done; Trump was trying to lock the barn door after the horse had bolted.
Political irony once again, where social media behemoths (Twitter, Facebook and YouTube), long espoused to perpetuating free speech had to suddenly take down the video, with Twitter even temporarily suspending the account of the ‘leader of the free world’; the head of a country that’s based its geopolitical reputation on the proliferation of rule of law and order.
But policy took over from politics. Hours after the fracas, Congress reconvened into the dead of the night or early in the morning (3:30 am), based on your biological clock. Trump’s deputy, Mike Pence, as Vice President and ergo President of the Senate, in Harry Potter’s Snape style of redemption from erstwhile Death Eater to member of the Order, jettisoned his boss’ ululations of voter fraud, and went ahead with the procedure to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. Thus bringing an end to President Trump’s tumultuous term in office, which metaphorically played itself out as an insurrection, in Senator Romney’s words, or perhaps while we’re on the Potter trail, let’s call it the Battle of Hogwarts?
What was breached was not just the Capitol Building, but the whole idea of ‘American Exceptionalism’ and the sacrosanctity of peaceful transfer of power that Washington has long codified and belabored for other fledgling democracies to adopt and for autocracies to imbibe.
Donald Trump is defeated, Congress ratified that yesterday, but the events of 6 January, evince that while Trump will soon depart, Trumpism will live on, in one form or another.
(This is an opinion piece and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)
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Originally published at https://www.thequint.com on January 8, 2021.