His Doing

Followers of the U.S. president stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C. The country is threatening to collapse. Donald Trump alone bears the responsibility.

And Donald Trump just keeps lying. While his supporters were storming the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., filled with hate and aggression, he stood in front of the White House and spoke again about a stolen election. His call for the rioters to go home peacefully had nothing conciliatory, nothing deescalating and certainly nothing presidential to it. It is unforgivable. The president of the United States alone bears responsibility for the fact that the United States of America is threatening to collapse right now.

Trump has spent four years agitating and inciting. He has built up a world around him that respects no democratic principles and that functions only through hate and contempt. He has ignored facts and realities, again and again declared them to be lies and has lied himself. To secure his power, he has turned the White House into an autocratic space. Everyone who dared to disagree with him had to leave.

He has mercilessly exploited the country’s divisions and converted the needs and fears of his base into a weapon that he has directed at his own fellow citizens. Instead of taking his office seriously and living up to the responsibility to improve the well-being of people in his country, he has abused the Oval Office and abused his subjects. “We love you,” the president said as the mob drew out weapons, smashed windows in the Capitol and swung wildly at everything that defines the U.S.: respect for democracy, for free elections, for a peaceful transition of power, for one’s political opponent.

One has to suspect that this destruction is what Trump loves, not the people. They delivered to him what he had provoked them to do again and again. The images from the U.S. Capitol city are so shocking, but they are also, sadly, consistent. Trump the rabble rouser has, less that two weeks before the end of his presidency, reduced society’s common understanding of what defines this nation to soot and ashes.

This Nation Has Lost Its Shared Identity

Democracy would outlast this president, the optimists said after Joe Biden’s victory. It has not fallen yet, and it would be fatal to give up now. Trump will still have to leave the White House. Biden will become the next president on Jan. 20. All representatives and senators who wanted to disrupt symbolic certification of the election results in the Capitol should hopefully have come to their senses after the violence. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, finally spoke, before the escalation on the streets and very late in the insanity of this transitional period, and warned that such conduct could damage the republic forever. But he, too, has damaged it; all those who have silently conceded to Trump for so long have damaged it.

A woman died during the unrest at the Capitol. These images will not be covered up any longer with a few patriotic words that are supposed to bring the people together. Since Trump’s presidency, that already became a little more difficult with every day, with every Tweet. The president kept digging the hole deeper. Protests against racism and racist police violence had already revealed that nothing is okay in U.S. society now. Trump’s presidency has finally caused the nation to lose its shared identity.

Biden will try to repair it. He has spoken often in past months about the soul of the U.S. What the citizens of Washington experienced was not really what America is, Biden said on that terrible afternoon.

It is not the real America. It is not the millions who elected Biden and a Democratic majority in the Senate. The violence also shook many who simply elected Trump again. But those who no longer see themselves represented in the country’s values and fundamental convictions are also part of this nation. They have unleashed a destructive power that Trump created. It is his doing. It will not disappear with the inauguration of the new president. The U.S. is a different country from this day forward.

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