Judging Trump’s Attack on Congress: Damage to Democracy Must Not Be Excused

Incidents that could destroy the basis of democracy are happening one after another in countries that tout the sovereignty of the people. An attack on a national Congress, similar to the attack on the U.S. Capitol two years ago, has occurred again, this time in Brazil, a major South American nation.

The incident in the U.S. was incited by former U.S. President Donald Trump. A special U.S. House of Representatives committee last December released a final report condemning this affair. The committee recommended that the U.S. Department of Justice indict Trump on four criminal charges, including instigating a riot. This is the first time that Congress has recommended the prosecution of a U.S. president, which indicates the gravity of the matter.

Can a democracy function merely as an ideal system with no substance? Can it avoid becoming a mere shell of itself? We would like to draw lessons from such incidents in other countries without making light of them.

The contents of the report from the House are astonishing. The report blamed Trump for the invasion of the Capitol by his supporters, which resulted in the deaths of five people, including a police officer. The report stated, “The central cause of Jan. 6 was one man, former president Donald Trump.”

The report recognizes that the former president did not acknowledge his defeat, and that he incited his supporters to move to the Capitol to overturn the election results. Above all, on that day, he made a speech to the tens of thousands of his supporters gathered in Washington, D.C., encouraging them to “fight like hell,” and instructing them to march to the Capitol.

Trump’s approval of the attack on the Capitol must not be excused. If he gave the order, it would be outrageous. The only thing to say is that he is destroying democracy.

The request for criminal charges is not legally binding. Nonetheless, if he is guilty of inciting a riot, there is a possibility that he will be barred from ever holding public office again.

Trump blasted the committee’s investigation as a “one-sided witch hunt.” There are some who believe that it is indeed partisan politics because the conclusions are spearheaded only by the opposing Democratic Party. However, the report is the result of about 1,000 interviews with high-ranking officials from the previous administration over the course of a year and a half. We want the report to be taken seriously.

The attack on Brazil’s Congress on Jan. 8 of this year appears to refer to the actions of Trump’s supporters. The ringleaders are supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been called “the Brazilian Trump.” Without any acknowledgement of Bolsonaro’s loss in last fall’s presidential election, continued protests degenerated into a riot, and a mob attacked three buildings, including the presidential palace and the Supreme Court.

It can be said that this incident is a sign that Trumpism, a doctrine that turns a blind eye to inconvenient facts and is prepared for violence, has spread even to Brazil.

Bolsonaro himself was in the U.S. during the riots, but he cannot evade responsibility. Furthermore, his son is visiting Trump’s Florida residence. He also consulted with Steve Bannon, Trump’s close associate and former chief strategist.

After the attacks began, Bannon also repeatedly made inflammatory posts, praising the rioters as “freedom fighters,” This cannot be overlooked.

There are also some countries that stop such attacks in the planning stages. Germany is an example. Last December, 25 far-right plotters who had been suspected of planning an attack on the German Parliament, with the intent to overthrow the government, were arrested. The plans included formation of departments modeled after the judiciary and health branches of the government, in addition to the military. It is beyond dangerous to dismiss such plans as pipe dreams.

It is not clear whether this group was poisoned by Trumpism. However, they have in common words and conduct based on groundless assumptions and selfish claims. If dissatisfaction with the government is acted upon, there is an undeniable fear that similar triggers will spread to Japan as well. We must share a common sense of crisis and use these incidents as a tool to reaffirm the value of democracy.

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About Dorothy Phoenix 106 Articles
Dorothy is an independent video game developer, software engineer, technical writer, and tutor, with experience teaching students how to program and make games. In addition to programming and video games, Dorothy also enjoys studying Japanese language and culture. One of her goals is to exhibit a game at the Tokyo Game Show someday.

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