COMMENTARY: DEMOCRACY UNDER SIEGE

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By Togba-Nah Tipoteh

It was on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 at high noon when the Electoral College of the United States of America (USA) assembled in the Capitol Building of the USA to deliver the final outcome of the 2020 Presidential Election, that thousands of the supporters of President Donald Trump pulled out of their Confederate deck their trump card, tramped on the steps of the Capitol Building with the Confederate Flag and placed democracy under siege. The work of the Electoral College was stopped abruptly, as the USA Vice President Mike Pence was taken into safety by government security guards.

This siege left people in a state of wonderment about how the siege could happen in the United States of America, considered globally as the Citadel of Democracy. In a democracy, where the Will of a least the majority of the people prevails, democracy in the USA was placed under siege by less than 10,000 persons in a population of some 330 million people. After four hours of the siege, the National Guard of the USA entered the Capitol Grounds and brought lawness to the state of lawlessness, rendering it possible for the Electoral College to reconvene. At the end of the siege and with the reconvening of the Electoral College, the official announcement was made about the electoral outcome, reflecting the Will of the people: Former Vice President Joseph Biden and Senator Kamala Harris were elected President-elect and Vice President-elected, respectively. It was such undemocratic action like the siege that led me to post my only tweet to date: The United States of America was a Symphony Orchestra called Democracy. Now, I hear only one Trump-et.

Certainly, this siege was not the first time that democracy has been placed under siege. During the time of the Pharaohs in Egypt, slave labor was used and abused in the building of pyramids, some of which became the burial grounds for dead Pharaohs and their servants who were buried alive with them. During the Roman times, Jesus Christ was crucified upon the machinations of religious leaders with the Order of Caesar. We remember how Mohammed was chased out of Mecca. Let us not forget the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade of half a century ago when greedy African rulers and greedy Slave Owners arranged the shipment of millions of Africans to the United States of America to work as slaves on cotton plantations. Millions of the slaves perished on account of the harsh treatment that they received from the Slave Owners. The USA Civil War flowed out of the divergence of views and the Confederate Flag became the flag of the South, home of the cotton fields and the Slave Owners. This was the Confederate Flag that was flown in the Rotunda of the USA Capitol Building on January 6, 2021.

We recall the two World Wars in which over 100 million people died, fighting to protect the interests of the few Powers That Be, not forgetting civil wars around the world, including the Civil War in Liberia from 1989 to 2003 that took the lives ofone-tenth (300,000) of the population.

Having gone through the strains of EBOLA, the world is now faced with another human- made virus, the corona virus that has become pandemic, having claimed the lives of nearly two million people in a surge of almost 80 million cases globally. Therefore, democracy under siege persists with its deadly consequences. What is the Way Forward for the Better? Such a way emerges when the masses of the people become aware of the sources of the crises in ways that motivate them to work collectively and non-violently to institutionalize a fair electoral system in which good people get elected. It is only through the election of good people, people with records of working in the interest of the masses of the people, that good decision-making can emerge to remove democracy from under siege and placed in the state of lasting democratic institution building for the Will of the People to prevail.

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