What if a leader cheats his people?PARK HYUN-YOUNG
The author is the Washington correspondentof the JoongAng Ilbo.
“I want to know if my president has lied to me,” said an Iowa resident as she cried in a phone conversation with a public broadcasting program on Jan. 6, when the U.S. Congress finalized the victory of President-elect Joe Biden. She was an avid supporter of Trump and voted for him in the presidential elections, but she was shocked to learn the truth after believing Trump’s claim that he won a huge victory.
Her tearful voice reminded me of someone who was rescued from a religious cult. She managed to break her illusions about Trump, but the mobs who went on the rampage in the Capitol still believe that Congress and the courts were wrong. She hoped Trump would tell the truth to the family of a woman who was shot and killed during the riot.
The mobs broke into the Capitol and attempted to enter the meeting hall. A woman who was climbing through a broken window was shot by the police. She was not the only one to die in vain. A policeman was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher by the mob and killed. The mob occupied the Capitol, brandishing pipes and bats. The representatives evacuated and their aids spent four hours blocking the entrance with furniture and hiding under desks.
Trump was the “spiritual leader” who turned his supporters into a violent mob. He agitated them, saying, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women, and we’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.” Of course, Trump did not join the mob. It has become routine for Trump to avoid telling the truth at all costs.
The media distinguishes his lies from the truth through fact checking, but it is a meaningless effort to the supporters who only listen to what Trump says. The lies Trump made to maintain his power shook the trust in the election system, the basis of democracy, and developed into a catastrophe that took at least five lives.
Americans take this event as a shock bigger than the Sept. 11 terror attacks. This time, Americans, not enemies, attacked the country. The mob that was misinformed by the president’s lies exploded in anger and became domestic terrorists.
Despite certain accomplishments in the economy, foreign policy and revamping conservative values, Trump is to be remembered as an agitator who drove the country into crisis with his lies. Angry mobs, misinformation and a lying president can be found anywhere. That’s why the world is astonished by the events in the United States and is taking it seriously.