SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Though Capitol Hill and Washington D.C. may have calmed down after yesterday’s mobs, the factors that played into them could have a lasting impact on the country.
Julia Hellwege, an assistant professor of political science at USD, says she wasn’t surprised how Wednesday’s events unfolded.
“We know that there had been planning underway and calls for action from Trump supporters since the election, specifically saying, come to Washington on January 6th. And so, to me, it was very shocking to see how easily insurgents entered into the Capitol building,” Dr. Hellwege said.
She believes there were many factors, including a sharply divided electorate, that have played into the build-up of what the country has experienced.
“But I think the bottom line is, and whether you see it as a factor or as an outcome, is the increased polarization in our country has been extraordinarily detrimental. I think, in this case, the polarization can be seen as a factor because, I think, the outcome, for me, that we’re seeing, is the deterioration of democracy and deterioration of democratic principles and congressional procedure,” Dr. Hellwege said.
Hellwege says our democratic ideals are the strength of the nation, but democracy can be fragile when there are shocks to the system.
“I’m hoping that more Americans understand a bit more about the nuances of democracy that’s not so simple that, well, because we go and vote, we’re a democracy nor the idea that, you know, we’re the greatest democracy in the world because we have the freedom of speech, right. There are so many different parts that make a democracy. We have to work at it, constantly,” Dr. Hellwege said.
Hellwege says U.S. citizens can expect to see a lot of calls to action happening in the coming weeks before inauguration, but not a lot of actual action being done.