New President Joe Biden is facing immense political and social control. How to repair a nation broken in itself by the Trump years and the meteoric rise of the far right within it?
How to appease a polarized society like never before? How to restore a more civilized public dialogue? How can we give the United States a less isolationist foreign policy?
Since challenges never come alone in times of major crisis, how do you begin the work of national reconstruction while combating a pandemic, of which more than 400,000 Americans have already died?
At the same time, Joe Biden inherits another poisoned legacy of the Trump era: the toxic impact on democracy and Americans of the attempted coup on Capitol Hill on January 6. An immediate impact, but also in the longer term.
Encouraged by a Donald Trump who, in the face of his defeat, shouted “fraud” to better mobilize his base, this riot was incredibly violent. Political and physical.
This attack on the Capitol was an act of domestic or domestic terrorism. Far-right terrorism committed by a bunch of rabid Trump followers. In the immediate term, the effects are devastating.
The Biden-Harris duo, the Democratic Party and their supporters were all deprived of a more “normal” swearing-in ceremony. Instead, their coming to power took place in a capital under siege with an unprecedented level of security.
In the medium and long term, the impact of the events of January 6, 2021 will also be felt across the United States. First of all among the elected officials themselves, Democrats or Republicans.
In the legislative assemblies of the world’s greatest power, an advanced democracy, elected officials will henceforth be afraid. Fear for their own safety. The images of the Capitol riot are likely to haunt them for a long time.
Although they live in an already violent and armed society with this fear in their stomachs, many American citizens will now feel it for their national institutions.
To install fear within a specific group, a political party and sometimes even an entire population: is not this, always, the real objective of terrorism?
A fear that eats away. A fear which, dully, destabilizes and paralyzes. This fear, whether spoken or not, will also feed on the slew of new security measures inevitably adopted by states after a major terrorist attack.
Whether the terror is domestic or of foreign origin, the price to be paid is there. Both visible and invisible, but still devious. Terrorism throws entire societies or groups into collective post-traumatic stress disorder.
President Biden and his vice-president, Kamala Harris, will have a long way to go to heal the one who, since January 6, has plagued their country.
The hope, however, is that over time, the decidedly benevolent attention they attempt to pay to their gravely wounded nation will at least help to mitigate the most insidious backlash.