“Opinion: Protest at the Capitol Building”

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Joseph Romano, Staff Writer

So far, 2021 is off to a crazy start! First, in a sad outcome for many conservatives like myself, Joe Biden was elected President of the United States. He will be inaugurated on January 20th, 2021. While many elected officials in Congress attempted to stop this over allegations of voter fraud and cheating, they were unable to. This is disturbing considering the fact that a Gallup poll showed that “Fifty-nine percent of Americans say they are very (19%) or “somewhat confident” (40%) that votes in the presidential election were accurately cast and counted throughout the country.” With such a large percentage of the country doubtful of the results, how can we move forward with this process?

Second, there was a major protest at the U.S. Capitol just a few days ago on January 6th. There are many mixed reactions about what happened on January 6th, both within our country and around the globe. Some looked on in horror, while others pointed at various other violent protests that have occurred over the last few years in the United States.

In my opinion, I feel that Republicans who support Trump should be able to openly express their feelings about their political frustrations and beliefs. Republicans should be able to protest, just as Democrats have, as the First Amendment protects our right to assemble and express our views through protest. Plenty of extremists (some from the Democrat side) have expressed their feelings in a way that is disrespectful and dangerous. Looting and violent riots from the left have occurred just as recently as last October. For example, protestors in Philadelphia destroyed several businesses in a rage last fall. Jessica Muller, manager of a Cricket Wireless on Aramingo Avenue in Philadelphia, got hit during these riots. “We were out front trying to board it up and it was just crazy. It went from 25 to 300 people in like a blink of an eye and they were just destroying everything. It was crazy,” Muller said (ABC News, Philadelphia). This evidence shows that we cannot have a double standard or only allow one party to express themselves, or even to be seen as “the violent” group. Conservatives need to be able to share their reactions to these destructive events without fear of censorship.

As for the events of January 6th, many conservatives have had strong reactions. First and foremost, it’s important to point out that President Trump posted a video discouraging any violence during this protest. He said in his video, “Go home. I don’t want any violence or anyone to get hurt. We love and support the men and women in blue. We love you and support all of you. Thank you!” Despite the fact that he told people to be peaceful, Twitter and other social media platforms took down this video and banned him from posting. How is this fair? If we ban him from trying to spread peace, how can these same media outlets claim he was trying to cause violence?

There is also the question of how many protestors were there to peacefully express their opinions and their American rights, how many were there for violent reasons, and how some media outlets portrayed the whole event. Some members of Congress suggested that there could have been outsiders pretending to be Trump supporters causing harm. Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) even said, “Some of the people who breached the Capitol today were not Trump supporters. They were masquerading as Trump supporters and in fact, were members of the violent terrorist group Antifa.” Gaetz is not alone in his beliefs. 

Even though I support the Republican party, I acknowledge that those Trump supporters who participated in any violence or destruction of the day were in the wrong. Republicans believe in respecting authority, the men and women in blue, and our great Capitol building. We are the party that should and will encourage peace and respect throughout this great nation once again.