Ripples out of America
The whole world watched the storming of the iconic Capitol building and the Legislative Arm of the American Government. There was no bewilderment from others at the desecration of the “bastion” of democracy because the bursting of the pent-up anger by upholders of the foundational malaise of that country portended similar eruptions in their own countries.
While the incoming President is determined to unite his nation, other leaders worldwide are compelled to tackle their peculiar foundational maladies. Based on the prevalence of structures in the on-going revolution in America, other nations are enjoined to build strong institutions that would withstand the unbridled ambitions of any demagogue. For Nigeria, it is a strong reiteration of the call for true federalism.
The assault on the United States Congress was the culmination of the efforts of an incumbent President to overturn the results of an election he lost by clear margins in the popular vote and at the Electoral College. His predisposition not to accept a possible loss was expressed long before the Voting Day. It was a repetition of his refusal to commit to conceding should he have lost in 2015.
After Biden had clearly won the Election of November 3, 2020, Trump and his enablers challenged the result and lost 59 cases in courts across the nation as well as at the Apex Court. Undeterred, he cajoled officials in Georgia” to find the votes” to give him victory. He failed in his attempt to scuttle the routine tabulation at the Electoral College. His final desperate hope was to request his Deputy to hand him victory, although Mike Pence’s duty at the January 6 Joint session of Congress was purely ceremonial. Therefore, he summoned his supporters nationwide to gather in Washington DC for a rally at which he gave them orders to march on the Capitol because “you will not take back your country by weakness but by being strong.” There was no greater evidence of culpability in the events that unfolded.
“Taking back the country” was the rallying rant of an amalgamation of many groups made up of genuinely disgruntled citizens and outright bigots of race, religion, et cetera. It was their march in Charlottesville in 2017 that brought Joe Biden into the race, with his avowed goal “to save the soul of America.” Despite atrocities committed by the white supremacists on that occasion, Trump still averred that “there were fine people on both sides.” Other extremist groups stepped out during the campaign, with fanatical support for Trump who did not once restrain but encouraged them with words like “stay back and stand by.” These constituted Trump’s base of supporters who exhibited a Hitlerian cult following.
January 6 was their Battle Day to liberate “their country” from all perceived interlopers who truly dominate America’s demography. Anyone who did not join them in their quest was a traitor and enemy to be eliminated. These included the Vice President, Mike Pence, the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, and all who voted for the certification of the results. The majority of the people’s representatives stood their ground and carried out their constitutional duty. The President’s trump card had been played and the resultant insurrection led to his impeachment for the second time.
In his closing remarks during the impeachment, the Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer, recalled that when Benjamin Franklin was asked if the new nation would be a Monarchy or Republic, he replied: “A Republic, if you can keep it.” Any institution, such as a democracy or a federal structure, survives only with the will of those who are determined to sustain it. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.
The 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden, inherited a “Divided States of America” but with a determination to unite the nation while tackling the COVID-19 Pandemic that was mostly ignored by his predecessor, causing more than 400,000 deaths. Trump had been warned that the Pandemic was the greatest threat to his Presidency while domestic terrorism posed the greatest danger to his country. In his characteristic disdain for truths, the 45th President dismissed the threat while encouraging the danger. Like ethnicity in many nations, the roots of racism run deep in America and cannot be uprooted overnight; especially with a great percentage of the citizenry subscribing to the fears and hatred exploited by Trump who expressed a determination to continue the movement he has championed in his tumultuous tenure.
While Biden struggles in his herculean task to save his nation, the rest of the world must take a cue from the events in America and boldly tackle the festering malady in their respective countries. Nigeria must hearken to this demand of the times.
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