Letter to the editor: Democracy under attack

Democracy Under Attack

Recently I read that the Capitol had been stormed by far-right Trump supporters. I was shocked when I heard the news. At first, I thought it was a joke; I didn’t believe that this was my reality until I saw it live on TV. Watching anxiously, I began to worry that our democracy is under attack.

The foundation of our democracy is based on the idea that after we vote one president out, we peacefully transition to the next. The rioters’ actions show a blatant disregard for that system. Even ten year olds like me have a better understanding of right and wrong. It saddens me that these adults represent our great country. What message are their actions sending younger-generations who view them as role models? I hope they are ashamed of their insolent behavior. Four hours of mayhem resulted in countless injuries, 52 arrests, and five deaths (including one police officer). A plethora of crimes were committed at the Capitol, e.g. seditious conspiracy. The rioters’ actions threaten our democracy because it shows they cannot accept defeat which means we can’t have presidential succession without chaos. If our society permits these senseless acts, the principles of democracy become obsolete.

I fully blame the rioters, albeit Trump certainly incited violence with his egregious speech. The incident at the Capitol has ignited a discussion on the topic of free speech and censorship. In my opinion, there shouldn’t be limits on free speech because whether people who acted violently were provoked by someone, they still are responsible. On social media, guidelines have to be objective because subjective standards allow for “unpopular” viewpoints (as determined by a few people) to be banned; this is a slippery slope that is dangerous to the free exchange of ideas.

I expect that if we continue down this road, the violence coming from extremist viewpoints will only continue. The only way to end said violence is to push past partisan lines and truly become unified as a nation.

Benjamin Epstein, Westport