Ordeal Of Democracy Where Is The End Of This War?
Dr Mohammad Didare Alam Muhsin
America encountered another difficult test of democracy. As US lawmakers sat on 06 January in a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill, the US House of Representatives, to approve Joe Biden's victory in the November presidential election, hundreds of fierce supporters of incumbent President Donald Trump went there, broke down the security barricades of the building and clashed with police. They broke through the police barricade and entered the building, vandalized it. Police used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse them. Massive riots and shootings killed at least five people, including a policeman. Police were forced to escort members of the House of Representatives out of the session. It took police three hours to evacuate Trump supporters from the Capitol building. When police finally declared the Capitol building safe around 5:30 pm local time, lawmakers were able to return and resume the session. Authorities in Washington, DC, had to impose a 15-day state of emergency.
If the United Kingdom were to be the birthplace of modern democracy, the United States would be called the lighthouse of democracy. Despite many ups and downs since its inception as an independent state, the country has been practicing democracy uninterruptedly under the same constitution. Capitol Hill has been a witness to this uninterrupted practice of democracy in the country for more than two hundred years. The infernal violence that took place on Capitol Hill that day, to disrupt its normal democratic activities, has never been witnessed by America in its more than two hundred years of history. It has pierced the heart of every self-respecting and thoughtful American.
The concern for American society and democracy is, Donald Trump is not just an individual here. He represents a large section of the society, who holds and nurtures a mindset just like him. Trump has polarized them through the last two elections. Keep in mind that even though Trump lost the election, he bagged about half of the total votes casted. You could say that he just narrowly missed the train. Maybe not all of these people who voted for him agree with this sort of activities of him. Many may have voted for him simply as a Republican candidate. However, if you keep a close eye on the post-election developments, you will understand that the number of violent, intolerant people like Trump is not small in American society. This is where the real cause of concern lies. On January 6, they landed on Capitol Hill in a decisive battle. Apparently, they have lost the battle this time. As outgoing Vice President Mike Pence put it: "To those who wreaked havoc in our Capitol today, you did not win,". (The New York Times, January 08, 2021).
Let's take a look at the impact of the Capitol Hill incident on the world. Democracy has turned out to most people in the modern world as a people-oriented system of government. This is because the system, on the one hand, allows ordinary people to express their support or resentment through elections, and on the other hand, ensures a peaceful transfer of power. As one of the world's leading powers in the pursuit of democracy, the United States has made significant contributions to the practice and development of the democratic system across the world. Despite the absence of real democracy in many countries, they have been practicing democracy, at least on paper, because of being in the sphere of influence of America and its allies. You could rather say that if America played a more honest role here without looking at its own political and economic interests and there won't have been interference from other competitive powerful states pursuing undemocratic authoritarian regimes, democracy might already have stood on a solid foundation in many other countries of the world. Whatever it is, the Capitol Hill incident has weakened the moral strength of America in playing its role across the world as a pioneer and guardian of democracy that it has apparently been doing so far. The dictatorial regimes, which have grabbed power by force and are ruling people against their will in different parts of the world, will now laugh at America sarcastically if it preaches democracy and will say utterly or in silence, 'Sir! Fix your house first'. So, understandably, this incident could emerge as a huge blow to the practice and development of democracy around the world.
The war between truth and falsehood and the conflict of justice and injustice have been going on in this world since time immemorial. None of the social and political welfare schemes that have been introduced in different countries of the world have happened in a single day. They have gradually formed through various conflicts, blows and retaliations, day after day. The vested interests have always sought to deprive the common people of their just dues by shutting their mouths and misleading them with various tricks. However, it has been seen at various turning points in history that, when the people's eyes are opened and they wake up, all the conspiracies float away like straws. This is how the world came to be today, this is how it will move forward. However, this war will never end. As long as this earth exists, the moon and sun will rise and set, this war will continue, will keep continuing.
(Dr Muhsin is Professor of Pharmacy, Jahangirnagar University).