Virginia Tech expert weighs in on American democracy after Wednesday’s events at Capitol

Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 11:57 PM EST
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - An expert from Virginia Tech is weighing in on what the impact of Wednesday’s events at the U.S. Capitol could mean for our democracy moving forward.

Laura Belmonte is the dean of the Liberal Arts College of Human Sciences and is calling this a signature event that could make us re-think how our democracy runs.

“I can’t think of a close analog anywhere in U.S. history,” Belmonte said. “We have never seen really the full-scale occupation of the U.S. Capitol itself and our elected representatives and their staffs having to shelter in place.”

Belmonte specializes in U.S. history and says Wednesday’s events are likely the end result of inflammatory rhetoric.

“We really do have millions of Americans who, despite 60-plus court challenges, who believe there was fraud here and that this is the only remaining option in the face of this election,” she said.

Belmonte says it puts into question the political fate of Republican lawmakers who brought forth challenges to the 2020 election. She says the party is now at a crossroads.

“Do we really believe in the precepts of our Democratic-Republican system and even when the results of an election are not what we would hope?”

Regardless of which side of the spectrum you side with, she says this should disturb people who value the democratic republic that we live in.

“Whatever one’s political views are there were political events that transpired here that should leave us deeply shaken.”

Belmonte does not believe the events will change the inauguration or Joe Biden becoming the next president.

She says we should also consider how this looks to the rest of the world when historically we try to help countries who struggle to maintain a democracy.

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