By Segun Ige
THREE consecutive Wednesdays of January 2021 will ever be remembered in Washington, D.C.: Wednesday 6, Wednesday 13 and Wednesday 20.
On January 6, the storming of the Capitol by some arguably anti-Biden mob seems to have shown how fragile and delicate democracy could be. What has always defined America’s exceptionalism of democracy was truly put to test on that day as pro-Trump supporters, in vexation and vituperation of the Congress’ certifying of the Biden-Harris win, invaded the Capitol with live ammunition.
We could see certain Congress men and women budging and dodging and scrambling for dear life. Almost immediately, the police were notably paralysed. Trump, who appeared to have “incited insurrection” in an earlier address, instigated the House of Representatives to debate on whether or not President Trump should be impeached.
And on Wednesday 13, a week after, the debate was remarkably significant in that, unlike 2019, ten Republicans had to vote for Mr. Trump’s impeachment, hence making him to be the first US president to be impeached twice.
It is noteworthy that the 232 (mostly Democratic) votes for the removal of Donald Trump are the same as won the Electoral College votes. Does it mean that the 10 Republicans that sidelined the Democrats have been stupefied by the Trump philosophy and ideology? What did or didn’t Trump do wrong or right to have sprawled certain Republicans to ‘defect’ and ‘deviate’, literally and ideologically, from the ‘Pro-Trump Republican Party?’ Could it be that making “America First” has unleashed cleavages in the party as well?
To start with, I believe Mike Pence was under duress to declare Donald Trump’s “inciting of insurrection,” sedition, or subversion as thought-out plan. Republican Congressman Jim Jordan points out that Democrats are ‘obsessed’ to ‘cancel’ Donald Trump, or better still Republicans, from the face of America.
Well, it does seem certain Americans who are not of the Pro-Trump Republican Party are likely to be anti-Trump, or pro-Republican-Democrats. Such defect might technically mean carpet-crossing, in this case ‘Trump-crossing,’ which is typically un-American.
Citing Abraham Lincoln’s all-important “history” of ‘America United,’ Speaker House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi says Trump is a threat and damage to the rule of law and Constitution and should, therefore, be impeached, in the words of one Democrat, “not one moment longer.” But ultimately, Pence’s rebuttal of the 25th Amendment did appear to be comparatively unmatched and uncalled-for, broadly speaking.
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After a spirit-filled embattled election, Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., was sworn in as the United States 46th President on January 20. During the election, I could hear Donald Trump saying he easily won if legal votes were counted; I could remember him saying the Democrats were trying to steal the election from him; and I could hear him surnaming them shenanigans because, he claimed, “there is no way (zero!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent.” Such was the tumultuous and tempestuous election I have ever seen in America. Donald Trump would be the fourth president not to attend Inauguration Day on January 20, since Andrew Johnson of 1869.
Early hours in the morning, one could see Mr. President heading towards Joint Base Andrews where he gave a succinct address to his unmasked “MAGA (Make America Great Again)” supporters. Social distancing, as it were, was extremely violated. 400,000 deaths have been recorded in the U.S. because, for one thing, former President Trump took the virus with levity, calling it “China virus,” yet again.
Second, America became helpless with its removal from the World Health Organisation, WHO. Third, Americans became more vulnerable and more divisive with the testing of Trump for COVID-19. Whilst Trump seems to be defeated, Trumpism doesn’t appear to be, especially when the outgoing President said: “I will be watching. I will be listening,” and, more pungently, “we will be back in some form.” This is one of the profound priorities the Biden administration is trying assiduously to combat.
The pitch of Biden’s Inaugural Address was spiced and interspersed with the soul-penetrating sound patterns of sadness and seriousness. Sadness because of the lasting damage the Trump administration has wrought on the people of America and the American Democracy. He mentioned political extremism, white supremacy and domestic terrorism as causes of the sadness.
As Americans groan and moan in secret and in silence, the Biden administration might sort of seem to be the possible solution: Biden has immediately commenced some big reversal of Trump-induced executive orders within his first full day in the Oval Office by releasing a national pandemic response plan, including 10 executive orders intended to fast-track coronavirus testing toolkits’ capacity, require mandatory mask-wearing on federal property and expand robust production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, in particular Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna jabs.
Surely he lamented, without mincing words and mentioning Trump, the devastating impact disagreement and disunison could have on a multi-peopled, multi-racial, multi-coloured America.
Indeed, fighting the battle for the soul of the nation would not be easy to come by, even after the election. Well, 36 years as Senator and eight years as former Vice President, President Biden is pretty experienced and equipped to intervene and intercede, even at such a crucial time like this, when America has more been torn apart idiosyncratically and ideologically. How about the 75,000,000 supporters who voted for Trump?
How will Biden convince and integrate them into his formative policies, if they decide to come back “in some form” yet still? Will he and Harris be able to have their backs in ensuring a United America? Irrespective of the culture, background, nationality, gender, and race, it would take the Biden-Harris presidency tactical intelligence to rescue and restore a country seriously steeped in, and ripply bifurcated along the ethno-culturo lines of, institutional racism and white superiority.
Ige, a social commentator, wrote via email@example.com