With tensions high across the nation and the 46th president just being sworn in, lively discussions and opinions are being shared across the country, including among students on the Northeastern State University campus.
The storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6 shocked many students. What began as a protest from right-leaning civilians to halt the count of the Electoral College votes certifying Joseph Biden as the 46th president went south as protesters began to break into the building.
The riot, which many are calling an attempted coup, resulted in many arrests and five deaths, one of which was a police officer. Audrey Gilliam, NSU sophomore, believes there is no excuse for the events of that day.
“Given the circumstances, the violent events in the U.S. Capitol are unjustifiable,” said Gilliam. “Although the unpacking of the exact events isn’t complete, and much of the information being taken in is the mere definition of confirmation bias, I believe it was a planned attack that threatens and undermines the very meaning of America’s democracy. It's something that is a direct result of months upon months of heightened rhetoric from outgoing President Trump, as well as other political figures that these extremist groups have looked up to.”
Following the riot, articles of impeachment were presented against the now-former President Donald Trump on the grounds of “inciting an insurrection.” The evidence presented to Congress claimed Trump had riled up and encouraged the crowd, which eventually generated the fatal riot. The vote passed 232-197, with 10 Republican House members joining Democrats to impeach the president, making him the first president to be impeached twice.
Ivee Baker, NSU senior, believes the impeachment was justified. She also thinks Congress should be worrying about many other things.
“My opinion on the matter is that, yes, it was warranted,” said Baker. “Considering the grounds for previous impeachments, inciting insurrection is pretty high on the list of things that warrant it. The only thing it can really accomplish at this point is keeping him from running again, which I think is worth something, but at the same time, Congress could definitely be focused on more pressing issues.”
As a result of the Electoral College votes being counted and the election officially concluding, Biden was inaugurated Jan. 20. With the country still heavily divided, students agree Biden has his work cut out for him to restore unity, which is one of his major stated goals as president.
Lauren Cole, NSU student body vice president, is hopeful for the future.
“I have a lot of hope for the future of the country,” said Cole. “No president is perfect and each administration has its flaw, but I am very excited for President Biden and Vice President Harris to lead our country to unity. After seeing our country so divided for the past four years, I am looking forward to the change, and I am so glad that I got to witness history today.”
Several right-leaning students and some who had supported Trump were also contacted for comment, but all declined to speak for the record.