Messy and chaotic practices of democracy in the United States: The Capitol riot that shocks the world

2021-December-7 19:04 By:

By Junye Zhang

On Dec. 5, 2021, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a report on its website titled "The State of Democracy in the United States."

This series of infographics centers on the second section of the text, "Messy and chaotic practices of democracy." This section illustrates that democracy in the US has gone wrong, which is reflected not only in its system design and general structure, but also in the way it is put into practice. The gunshots and farce on Capitol Hill have completely revealed what is underneath the gorgeous appearance of the American-style democracy. The death of Black American George Floyd has laid bare the systemic racism that exists in American society for too long, and spurred a deluge of protests rippling throughout the country and even the whole world.

While the COVID-19 pandemic remains out of control in the US, the issue of mask-wearing and vaccination has triggered further social division and confrontation. Dividends of economic growth are distributed unfairly, and income growth has stalled for most ordinary people for a long period of time. The American-style democracy can hardly uphold public order and ethics, nor advance public well-being to the fullest.

Here are highlights from part one of the text: The Capitol riot that shocks the world.

Messy and chaotic practices of democracy in the United States: The Capitol riot that shocks the world

(1) The Capitol riot that shocks the world

On the afternoon of 6 January 2021, thousands of Americans gathered on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C. and stormed the Capitol building in a bid to stop the joint session of the Congress from certifying the newly-elected president. The incident interrupted the transfer of US presidential power, leaving five dead and over 140 injured. It is the worst act of violence in Washington, D.C. since 1814 when the British troops set fire to the White House, and it is the first time in more than 200 years that the Capitol was invaded. Senate Republican leader described it as a “failed insurrection”. A scholar from the US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) exclaims that the US is not nearly as unique as many Americans believe, and that the Capitol riot should put an end to the notion of American exceptionalism, of an eternal shining city on a hill.

The assault on the Capitol has undermined the three major bedrocks of the American-style democracy.

First, “democracy” in the US is not democratic as it claims. The refusal of some US politicians to recognize the election results and their supporters’ subsequent violent storming of the Capitol building have severely undercut the credibility of democracy in the US.

Second, “freedom” in the US is not free as it claims. Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms suspended the personal accounts of some US politicians, a de facto announcement of their “death on social media”. This has bust the myths of “freedom of speech” in the US.

Third, the “rule of law” in the US is not bound by the law as it claims. The totally different attitudes taken by US law enforcement agencies toward the “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) protests and the Capitol riot are yet another reminder of the double standards in the US “rule of law”.

The assault on the Capitol sent shock waves throughout the international community. While deploring the violence, many people also expressed disappointment at the US.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that what happened in the US Capitol were “disgraceful scenes”.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that “in one of the world’s oldest democracies ... a universal idea — that of ‘one person, one vote’ — is undermined.”

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa commented that it “shook the foundations” of democracy in the US.

Former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono tweeted that the political farce in the US offers much food for thought, and that there is no perfect democracy, especially when it comes to its practices.

Editor: JYZ
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