Global Reactions to The Capitol Riot

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By Juliana Lee, Junior Editor

Covered by newspapers and news channels around the world, the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was an attack on America’s sacred democracy. Reactions have ranged from shock to horror, with many enraged by the failure of the police to control the situation and by President Trump’s direct incitement of the violent mob. January 6th was the official confirmation of the president elect, a day known to be a peaceful transition of power, but it is now a day that will live in infamy forever.

Leaders of countries around the world were shocked by Wednesday’s horrific events.

Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, asked his country to learn from America. “We have a responsibility as Canadians to continue to lead with respect, to engage substantially with different points of view and to never resort to violence as a way of impacting public discourse.” 

Emmanuel Macron, President of France, condemned the acts of Trump supporters and explained that “[W]hat happened today in Washington, D.C., is not America, definitely. We believe in the strength of our democracies. We believe in the strength of American democracy.”

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, stated, “I’m pretty sure I feel like the vast majority of friends of the United States of America, like millions of people who admire American democratic tradition. A basic rule of democracy is after the election there are winners and losers, both have to play their role with decency and responsibility so that democracy itself remains the winner.”

Late night TV show hosts also broke away from their usually upbeat programs to address the issue as well.  Jimmy Fallon of the Tonight Show, expressed his disgust and outrage, saying: “If my grandfather were alive today and saw what was happening in the country that he fought for, he’d be disgusted. People walking around with the flag upside-down, thinking they’re patriotic? Today was not patriotism, today was terrorism.”   

Members of the Black Lives Matter movement also communicated their disappointment and anger towards Wednesday’s events, emphasizing the differences in how their peaceful protestors were treated by the police. Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Patrisse Cullors told CNN, “The word I keep using is “disturbed.” I’m really disturbed by how far we’ve allowed white supremacist violence to reign in this country. And I was the most disturbed by the double standard. I’ve spent the last 20 years being a protestor, a community organizer, and, in the last seven years, supporting and helming the protest movement that is called Black Lives Matter, and we’ve experienced military, National Guard, militarized police, rubber bullets and tear gas at protests which are largely peaceful and protests that are talking about racial injustice and the fight for Black lives. And so, to watch mostly white people, white men, storm the U.S. Capitol with no consequence or accountability was shocking. We have to come to terms in this country about who this country truly protects and who it does not.”

From a history teacher’s perspective, Mr.Terry explains his initial reactions to Wednesday’s events. “What happened at the Capitol last week was a symptom of a larger issue in our society – a lack of appreciation for or understanding of our democracy, and an interest in authoritarian forms of governance. What we witnessed was not an ordinary form of protest in that its goals were to attempt to undermine and subvert the results of our legal election process. This is not something we should take lightly and deeper conversations as a society about how democracy works and why it is preferable to authoritarianism are necessary for us to have a viable path forward as a nation.” He also believes that the media had a huge influence on the Trump supporters’ emotions and motivations for attacking the Capitol. More specifically, how it portrayed misinformation about the election.  “Our means of acquiring access to information has exponentially grown in the past 25 years since the internet became widely available and it is my belief that this access has outpaced education for our citizenry on how to sort, select, and meaningfully digest this information. I believe we have a responsibility in our schools and in our society to develop our civic literacy alongside our media and information literacy. Doing work on this front is also necessary for us to have a viable path forward – otherwise those who propagate myths and falsehoods may do everlasting damage to our ability to make collective decisions as a citizenry.”

The student editors at Patriot Press were horrified by Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol. Lauren Reiser, author of the article “Opinion: Donald Trump Needs To Be Removed From Office, comments on the reactions towards the riot; “The United States is supposed to be one of the prime examples of democracy, and it is embarrassing that other countries had to see this disgusting attack on our capitol and our democratic process.”

As a whole, this day was truly an attack on democracy and sent shock waves around the world. The impacts of this event will be tremendous in the upcoming weeks, and our country clearly needs to reflect on the causes of this insurrection.

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