Donald Trump's supporters stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday in an attempt to stop Joe Biden from being certified the winner. Although the situation was quickly brought under control, politicians and public opinion condemned the riots, and Congress officially certified Biden's victory afterwards, the far-reaching implications of the incident may not be controllable.
Obviously, the incident cannot be simply seen as a farce incited by Trump with his personal influence after losing the election. Nor can we easily jump to the conclusion that Biden's victory is a successful error correction or that the chaos caused by the election will end in two weeks.
The unprecedented mob in the Capitol, a symbol of the US system, is the result of the US society's severe division and the country's failure to control such division. Trump refused to admit defeat after losing the election, which resonated with a large number of his supporters. This has made many Republican senators dare not publicly oppose Trump's position. The Republican Party has been hesitating between whether to support the Constitution or defend its president.
Although it is unacceptable to storm the Capitol, which is a consensus in US politics and public opinion, the tear in the US is too deep. The abovementioned understanding is far from enough to alleviate the emotions of the defeated and their supporters. On the contrary, the act of storming the Capitol was denied and criticized, but the defeated side's repeated denials and attacks on the election results will leave a mark in the long run. It will pose a challenge to the authority of the Biden administration and weaken its motivating power.
Some US political figures denounced the Capitol chaos as an attack on US democracy, as if the country's democracy is still intact, and attacks mainly come from outside. But it represents an internal collapse of the US political system - this is where the seriousness of the problem lies.
The US is still a powerful country. Its strength is more of a legacy created by the previous generations of Americans. As time goes by and with abuses of resources by generations of politicians, the US political system has degraded. Trump's supporters have turned into mobs - this is a wake-up call to US society.
Every country has its own weaknesses and problems. Political degradation in the US is not necessarily an incurable disease. Perhaps the real problem plaguing the US is that the country's elites are too arrogant. They believe a lean camel is bigger than a horse, and no matter how rotten US democracy is, it is still superior to other countries' political systems. US political figures are also selfish. They are unwilling to take the lead in pushing for genuine reforms. They only shout empty slogans such as change and we can to fool voters.
More astonishingly, even after the institutional chaos within the US surfaced, US elites have no intention to reflect, but instead are still interested in attacking other countries. Over the past few years, it's fair to say the US' ideological offensives against China have reached great heights, with the consistent actions by both parties. Despite China's rapid development, they think the country has no political merits. Their denial of China further undermines their ability to tell right from wrong politically.
As a result, when it comes to politics, there is almost nothing left in US politics and public opinion but political affiliation. In addition, double standards are rampant. In Hong Kong, violent actions are described as a beautiful sight; in the US, people involved in this chaos are called mobs. The US can muddle along like this for a while, but it won't go far. The moral resources that the US has accumulated in the past will inevitably drain away as the situation goes back and forth.
US society really needs to examine itself carefully. Their political system, once strong, is outdated. US elites should face up to their country's flaws and stop covering up their own problems with extreme conflicts that stigmatize and suppress other countries, or use international confrontation to create a distorted balance.
The US needs to reform. Self-reformation is not just a requirement for developing countries. History will not end within Western systems. Signs are emerging around the world that the US and the West need to be as enterprising and inward-looking as the developing countries. The development of human society requires all countries to be humble and learn from each other's strong points. No one should regard exchanges between different cultures as a zero-sum game.