On January 6, I believe America reached an inflection point. For the first time since 1814, our capitol building was occupied by force. As the nation watched the interruption of the democratic process that has so far repeated every four years, one question became clear.
What happens when the American spirit of protest and resistance becomes a tool to destroy the very system that allows it?
A protest is good and healthy, but what occurred on Capitol Hill that Wednesday was no healthy protest. It was an attack on the democracy, disguised as an example of the very thing it was trying to destroy.
What does it mean for America when some believe they can save democracy and freedom by destroying, disrupting, disbelieving? When truth becomes so deluded and blurred that the objective reality we all share is shattered into separate fragments like broken glass, with no possibility of creating a concise image?
What must we do to ensure that American democracy is preserved, and arguably, the idea of global democracy itself, when its very fruits are used against it?
Before the 2020 election, I wrote a piece asking our future president to acknowledge the many pro-democracy movements that 2020 saw globally. I plead for official recognition of the validity and righteousness of these champions of liberty, who against the odds of their oppression, stood for themselves and others in the name of democracy.
Today, I recognize that the strongest way to support global democracy is to be democratic ourselves. To lead by example as we have for so many years before, and inspire the values of individualism and freedom which we take for granted.
It is an uphill battle for America. Democracy is what we make of it, and it depends as much on the people as the government.
Do we allow the mob that stormed capitol on a Wednesday Scott-free, so that they may return on a Friday more mainstream? Or do we punish them for their blatant sedition, and push the fringes of their movement deeper into extremism?
Our government can do one thing, but people can do more. It is during times like these that the American people must stand up for true freedom and democracy, against those who call themselves “patriots” while peddling their ideas of violence and anti-democracy.
The moment the confederate flag found itself within the halls of our Capitol, it was clear. No longer can the United States have double standards — we are either a free democracy or we are not.