It was horrifying, disgusting, downright disgraceful and was like a scene out of a gangster movie. It would have hardly been surprising had such development occurred in a “shithole country”.
But, that such horrific and disgraceful event would not just happen in the capital city of the United States of America but on the grounds of the Capitol says a lot about race, class and privilege in the world’s greatest and oldest democracy.
In the aftermath of those developments, questions are being asked and rightly so, where was the mammoth security presence so visibly present on the streets of Washington D.C. and other US cities during the nationwide “Black Lives Matter” protests sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Police officer.
What if, just what if the riotous mob that invaded the grounds of the Capitol and broke into offices smashing glass doors, looting and confronting security officers were Blacks?
They would have more likely than not been met with the “fire and fury never seen before” response akin to what President Trump had promised North Korean leader Kim Jung Un during a tense standoff some time ago.
Members of Congress who were at the time meeting to confirm the vote electing Joe Biden as President of the United States of America had to be evacuated by security officers from the senate chambers to a safe place.
Such was the scale and intensity of the assault by the Trump inspired riotous mob, flashed on TV screens around the world, that it prompted a wave of condemnation from world leaders.
Many have questioned why the Police did not immediately respond to President Trump’s exhortations to his followers to march on the Capitol to disrupt Congress’ confirmation of the election result.
The rancor and division emanating from the elections have tended to draw into sharp perspective issues of race, class and privilege. The run-off elections in the state of Georgia, which saw two very wealthy individuals pitted against a Black preacher and a rights activist (Jewish) was a clear reflection of this divide.
The huge turnout of Black voters at the run-off polls in Georgia, a former slave holding state, appears to be a clear signal suggesting a rejection of Trump’s policies, especially his pandering to far-right groups, including neo Nazis and white supremacists.
But while President Trump’s charges that Democrats are socialists who are out to turn America into a socialist state may have resonated with his supporters, it did not prove convincing nor appealing enough to deter black voters from embracing the Democrats, neither did his charges prove sufficient to stave off defeat of his candidates.
Both Republican candidates (male and female) were dubbed the “Bonnie and Clyde of corruption” after it had been revealed that they had been involved in speculative purchases of stock in companies involved in the production of anti-COVID-19 vaccines.
But to be sure, from all indications, and unlike previous elections, the economy was not as significant a factor, as many would be inclined to believe, that led to the defeat of the Republican party. In the view of many, it demonstrates that the American people rejected Trump’s policies of hate and division which, according to them, are characteristic hallmarks of his reign.
In the view of a number of Liberian-Americans, this newspaper spoke to, feeling incensed by Republican Senators and President Trump’s opposition to the proposed US$2,000 COVID-19 relief package, they turned out massively at the polls in Georgia.
But in a lot of ways those developments bear strong parallels to the situation in Liberia. According to analysts, the invasion of the Capitol by a Trump inspired riotous mob violently attempting to unduly influence the US Senate confirmation of the elections results can be likened to the seizure of ballot boxes by a town chief in Gbarpolu as well as the intervention of the Poro bushmaster to frighten off supporters of leading female candidate, Botoe Kanneh.
And in the wake of these developments, questions are being asked what will happen just in case the loser of the 2023 Presidential polls refuses to concede, especially if the loser turns out to be the ruling incumbent? Will the US intervene which is likely but on what are the moral high grounds upon which such intervention will be premised?
Recalling past elections in which supporters of the loser, now the ruling incumbent cried foul claiming he had been cheated; had it not been for the presence of thousands of armed UN Peacekeepers, it would have probably been a different story by now.
It is often said that when America sneezes Liberia catches a cold. This latest sneeze by President Trump could prove very contagious and appears more likely than not to spread the REFUSAL TO CONCEDE VIRUS to other fragile democracies, especially those in “Shithole Countries”, ours being no exception.
The violence carried out by the Trump-inspired riotous mob should be condemned by every well-meaning world leader including Liberia’s President George Weah.
But whether he can, remains an open question. As our old people say, to circumcise a baboon (chimpanzee) is easy but who will hold it down to have it circumcised?