This Is Not a 'Peaceful Transition' - OZY | A Modern Media Company

This Is Not a 'Peaceful Transition'

This Is Not a 'Peaceful Transition'

By Christina Greer

Trump supporters near the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
SourceSelcuk Acar/NurPhoto

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE

Because while millions will breathe a sigh of relief that the four-year national nightmare has finally ended, Biden leads a dangerously divided nation.

Christina Greer

Christina Greer

Christina Greer, Ph.D., an associate professor at Fordham University, is the producer and host of The Aftermath and The Counter on OZY, political editor at The Grio, the author of Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream, and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC. You can find her at @Dr_CMGreer on Twitter.

As we begin to celebrate the inauguration of Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States, there is a cloud that hangs over this momentous occasion. Instead of reveling in the moment that a Black Indian American child of immigrants will also be sworn in as our first female vice president, millions of Americans are bracing themselves for violence from white nationalists in the form of protesters and even those within the ranks of U.S. military personnel.

Far too many Americans are scratching their heads and wondering how we got here. Another set continues to claim that this insurrectionist behavior is “not who we are.” In response to those who cannot believe America is infiltrated with hate-filled racists and those who are befuddled by their behavior, my question is simply: “Where have you been, and why have you not been paying attention?”

Many Americans are praising the peaceful transition of power from the Trump administration to the new Biden era. To that, I argue that we must look more closely. The presidential election was held on Nov. 3, 2020, and the sitting president refused to acknowledge Biden’s win, even after the states of Georgia, Arizona and Pennsylvania were certified. Trump refused to acknowledge Biden’s electoral success even after more than 50 judges ruled against him. He refused to accept his loss even as state houses across the country certified Biden’s win in mid-December. Sadly, Trump dealt with his global embarrassment the way he has dealt with all of his previous embarrassments: He sued, denied the facts and tried to galvanize others to believe his delusions of grandeur. Trump’s refusal to accept his loss and attempts to establish a Biden win as illegitimate, delay the transition process and incite his supporters to “fight for him” in any way they deem fit, has eroded the peaceful transition of power.

Trump Supporters Hold "Stop The Steal" Rally In DC Amid Ratification Of Presidential Election

Protesters gather at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Source Tasos Katopodis/Getty

Trump set the stage for the horrid events of Jan. 6, 2021. He has continued to fill his supporters with conspiracy theories and excavate the ire they feel about “their country being stolen.” As Americans and people around the world watched his supporters beat police officers with American flag poles, fly the Confederate flag within the hallowed halls of Congress, wear swastikas and paraphernalia denouncing Jewish Americans, we also watched far too many police officers stand by in tacit support of those events — at least one went so far as to take a selfie and others seemed to assist the rioters in their disruptive seizing of the Capitol. The behavior of those police officers has created a cloud over the Biden-Harris inauguration on Jan. 20, so much so that the FBI is vetting National Guard troops to thwart the possibility of an insider attack — and removed two of them from duty for possible extremist ties.

When Democrats are upset, they knit pink hats and march. When Republicans are upset, they take up arms and threaten to kill elected officials who stand in their way.

The theme of Biden’s inauguration is unity. Biden and Harris are now trying to set a tone to (re)build this country after four years of neglect. Now Republicans want to call for unity while they also make false equivalencies between white nationalist insurrectionists and Black Lives Matter protesters from last summer. Republicans refuse to take responsibility for the seeds of dissent they have sown for years. They now want to talk about riots and property damage and moving forward. But Biden will not be able to successfully begin his tenure as the 46th president of the U.S. if the majority of the Republican Party fails to recognize the dragon they have excavated, fed, cultivated and encouraged these past four years. They have created such a murderous rage, their supporters are now comfortable threatening sitting elected officials in governorships and state houses across the country. The “both sides” argument will not stand. When Democrats are upset, they knit pink hats and march. When Republicans are upset, they take up arms and threaten to kill elected officials who stand in their way. These two sets of supporters are not the same and should not be treated as such. The events of Jan. 6 were treasonous, and until Republicans admit that, the success of a Biden presidency and his ability to work across the aisle will be limited.

Washington, D.C., has been turned into a military zone for Biden’s inauguration. What should be a joyous and celebratory event has turned into a desolate scene where millions fear for the safety of the incoming president and vice president. Due to the failures of the Trump administration in dealing with the pandemic, inauguration crowds were going to be limited anyway, but the events of Jan. 6 have exacerbated the need for Democratic supporters to stay away from the capital, for public health and now public safety concerns. Outgoing President Trump announced on Twitter (before he was banned for good) that he would not follow tradition and attend the swearing-in of Biden, something that George H.W. Bush did when he lost to Bill Clinton in 1992, and something Hillary Clinton did when she lost to Donald Trump in 2016. Very few people thought Trump would have the class, dignity or respect for the executive office to actually attend. However, his petty confirmation of this fact as his last act as president will further solidify his inability to respect the office of the presidency and the optics of a peaceful transition of power.

Biden will not take the ceremonious stroll down Pennsylvania Avenue due to public health and now public safety concerns. Instead, he will head to Arlington National Cemetery to pay respect to American soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for this country. Biden understands the role and gravity of the office, as much as anyone who has been a public servant and vice president can. Biden will be sworn in today, and millions of Americans will breathe a sigh of relief that the four-year national nightmare has finally ended. For those excited about a Biden presidency, that sigh of relief must be met with patience as Biden begins the arduous work of rebuilding a nation divided and still thirsty for blood.

Christina Greer

Christina Greer

Christina Greer, Ph.D., an associate professor at Fordham University, is the producer and host of The Aftermath and The Counter on OZY, political editor at The Grio, the author of Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream, and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC. You can find her at @Dr_CMGreer on Twitter.

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