United States: A Storm that Will Last

The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden is taking on a martial air in Washington — the height of irony when the event should mark a great moment in the country’s democratic life. It should have been a civic celebration where the intensity of the electoral campaign gives way to a moment of national harmony. We will be far from that in eight days. Following the events of last Wednesday, the Capitol today is a fortress. Thousands of soldiers from the National Guard are converging on Washington to protect this solemn swearing-in ceremony. Anguish and anxiety rule the day. What else will happen to this American democracy? What is the next symbol to be attacked?

The United States is still feeling groggy after the events that have shocked a large part of the public opinion, including Republicans. On Jan. 20, the country will turn the page on Donald Trump to try to recover its unity. It won’t be easy. Too much hatred, too much mistrust, too much violence. The assault on the Capitol by the troops of Trump supporters has been described as a “profanation” of the American republic. There is no better word. In this nation where the respect for the separation of powers is the cornerstone of the democratic system, seeing hordes of conspiracy believers who support the White House tenant invade the space where the legislative branch meets has petrified both elected officials and citizens. The worst nightmare of the Founding Fathers seemed to become reality.

Some Democrats have used the term “coup d’état” to define what Trump wanted to do. The tenant of the White House has been saying the same thing for weeks when he talked about the results of the presidential elections. Beyond the confrontation between Trump and the Democratic Party, there are two — irreconcilable — Americas facing each other. Already, some pro-Trump demonstrations are planned for this memorable Jan. 20. No, indeed, the civic inauguration celebration will not take place, and Americans will be waiting for this fateful date with anguish. Biden won’t have time to find his bearings. From the very first minute of his mandate, he already will have to unite this divided nation. But Trump has unleashed a storm that will not subside with a few words.

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