On January 6, a year ago, a large number of Trump supporters violently stormed the US Congress. This scene is still vivid today. This is a major impact on American democracy in the past 200 years and is a concrete manifestation of the clamor and political polarization in the United States. A year later, congressional riots still affected the political trend of the United States, the functioning of American democracy became more and more ineffective, and American society continued to move along the direction of internal tearing.
Congressional riots may be the prelude to a worse future
January 6, 2021, was the day when “Capitol Hill” fell.
At that time, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives convened a joint meeting to count and certify the votes counted by the electoral colleges of the states in the U.S. presidential election. But shortly after the meeting began, the demonstrators rushed into the Capitol building screaming and insulting all the way, taking photos, photography, graffiti, and sabotage, while the MPs who were participating in the joint meeting lay on the ground to protect themselves and put on gas masks to evacuate.
The riots uncovered the “gorgeous” robes of American democracy and showed the shadows and scars behind them to the world. A year later, the arrest, investigation and prosecution of the rioters are still ongoing. Many Americans believe that congressional riots are a sign of increased political violence, not an isolated incident.
In an interview with a reporter from Chinanews.com, Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations at the China Foreign Affairs University, believed that the congressional riots originated from a deep tear in American domestic society.
This tear has always existed. From epidemic prevention and control to embarrassing withdrawal from Afghanistan, from wildfires to soaring oil prices, the Associated Press described the United States as “almost divided in every imaginable way” in the past year. Nancy McLean, a professor of history and public policy at Duke University in the United Kingdom, even predicted that “if we do not consider the deep historical roots of what happened at this time last year, these events may be the prelude to worse outcomes in the future.”
Li Haidong said that the impact of the Congressional riots on the United States lies in all aspects. The collapse of the United States’ image as the so-called “lighthouse nation” not only has the world increasingly seen the true face of American democracy, but Americans themselves lack confidence. As Judge Reggie Walton said, “Because of what happened that day, it is difficult for me to convince people in other parts of the world that we are the lamp on the mountain.”
The U.S. partisanship has also intensified after the congressional riots. Despite Biden’s call for unity and bipartisan cooperation, Congress is more divided than before. Li Haidong said that the legitimacy of U.S. President Biden’s administration has always been “barbecued”. Many motions have also been questioned by Republican support groups. This has led to a substantial decline in the willingness and ability of the U.S. government to resolve domestic issues. Even the two parties in the United States continue to dispute whether they should wear masks, vaccinate and other epidemic prevention measures, and the implementation of other government orders is even more difficult.
When Biden took office, he hoped to use changes to rebuild a better future. But today’s American people believe that some things have changed forever-they no longer believe that divided countries can be reconciled.
Can American democracy move forward?
After the Congressional riots, the “American Democracy” collapsed. At the end of 2021, the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Aid issued a report that listed the United States as a “democratic retrogressive country.”
“American democracy is getting worse and worse, and its functioning is becoming more and more ineffective.” Li Haidong said that the ultra-left and far-right people in the United States are extremely large, and the centrist forces that consolidate the stability of American society are gradually becoming thinner. As time goes by, the United States is very likely. Continue to move along the direction of the tear within the self.
Shi Yinhong, a professor at the School of International Relations at the Renmin University of China, also believes that the Congressional riots fundamentally reflect the partial failure of the liberal democratic system in the United States during major internal and external shocks.
Americans themselves are not too optimistic about the prospects for democracy. According to the latest poll by the Washington Post, Americans’ pride in American democracy has dropped sharply, from 90% in 2002 to 54% now.
Another poll shows that about two-thirds of Americans believe that the congressional riots are “a sign of increased political violence in the United States,” which threatens American democracy.
Thomas Dixon, a professor of political science at Royal University of Canada, even wrote an article in The Globe and Mail, reminding Canada to protect itself from the “collapse of American democracy.” He predicted that by 2025, American democracy may collapse, leading to extremely unstable domestic politics. The economic, racial, and social gaps in the United States have led to the polarization of political ideologies between the left and the right, and the increased polarization has also led to the paralysis of the government. The moderate political center is rapidly disappearing.
What Biden may not expect now is that he will hear from worried leaders of other countries a question he never thought he would hear-“What about American democracy?” “Will the United States get better?”