Capitol Hill violence shows the partisan divide at Tech

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press

On Jan. 6 the United States Capitol building was stormed by supporters of President Trump, in an event that highlighted partisan disagreements across the nation, even on Tech’s campus.

The siege, fueled by claims of election fraud from the President and conservative media outlets, claimed the lives of five people, including an officer of the Capitol Police who was beaten by the rioters, and later died in the hospital.

The riot was conceived as a protest against the certification of electoral votes from the 2020 presidential election, won by former Vice President Joe Biden. Despite the riot, which resulted in death and extensive damage to the Capitol, the Senate returned to certify the election.

In the wake of the riots, the federal government has arrested many of the individuals whose pictures were taken. The FBI enlisted the help of the general population to identify those involved in the riots.

The violence contributed to the heavily increased security presence in Washington D.C. before the inauguration, as thousands of national guard soldiers patrolled the streets.

As of the Wednesday inauguration of President Joe Biden, there were nearly 30,000 guardsmen in the city, far more than the around 5,000 soldiers present in the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Stop The Steal” protests took place at various state capitols around the country, including here in Georgia.

Protestors roamed the halls looking for Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger who has been the target of attacks by the president for his handling of the presidential election and the senate runoffs, both of which were won by Democratic candidates. Governor Brian Kemp mobilized the National Guard in response to the threat.

The Georgia National Guard has recently been a constant sight in the city, as the governor also mobilized them to respond to protests in the summer.

Even closer to home than the state capitol, partisan disagreements came to a head on Tech’s campus.

On Jan. 6, the GT College Republicans tweeted, and then subsequently deleted, two messages regarding the U.S. Capitol riots.

One read “All cops are b*ds.”

“Cops let Black Lives Matter riot and kill people in the streets for 6 months. If you’re white they shoot you in the neck,” another said, referencing the death of a rioter at the hands of the Capitol police.

The account also responded to a tweet from GT Young Democratic Socialists of America about the capitol riot. Both compared the riot to a Black Lives Matter protest and contrasted the police response.

President of the GT Alumni Association Dene Sheheane, MGT ‘91, responded to emailed student complaints about the College Republicans’ tweets in an email later circulated on Reddit.

“We understand your concern that many of the posts may have reflected divisive views or inaccurate information,” Sheheane wrote.

“This is a student group that was registered on campus by students. Their views do not reflect those of the Institute, which is a public university and does not take political positions.”

According to the email, the Alumni Association continues to monitor the situation.

Additionally, the faculty sponsor of the group has been asked to meet to discuss “appropriate language to discuss in the spirit of civil discourse and protected free speech, as well as educate them about what crosses a line in that regard and will not be tolerated.”

In response to the attacks on the Capitol, President Ángel Cabrera released a statement the day after the incident, condemning the violence and drawing on his own experience of domestic unrest in Spain.

“Yesterday’s disturbing images of a mob storming into the U.S. Capitol brought me back to scenes 40 years ago in my native Spain when I was a teenage boy,” Cabrera wrote.

He continued, “I never imagined I would witness something remotely similar in the U.S., a nation I have always admired for the strength of its republic and its culture of democracy — and which I now proudly call my own. Yet, as painful as yesterday’s events were, I know American democracy will emerge stronger.”