The Capitol Hill Riot: Reflecting on What Can Be Learned


Ahmad Almuhtaseb, Managing Editor

It goes without saying that the events that transpired at Capitol Hill earlier in response to the results of the presidential election were on all accounts unjustified, dangerous, and absolutely immoral. The acts of borderline terrorism that ensued on our country’s capitol had little if anything to do with preserving the sanctity of our election and everything to do with months of aggression and tension from the controversial election being released all at once. It can be easy to brush off a situation like this as something that is entirely at fault to the radicals that pushed through that day, and such a statement would not be entirely incorrect. However, it is important for all of us to understand the horrifying message that is indirectly being sent by this event: the fact that the polarity and tensions between opposing viewpoints on anything that is remotely political in the world, especially in the United States, have become so intense that people will go to such dire extents to fight for what they believe is in the best interests of their ideology.

This is something that even affects us as students in High School, for even we engage in primarily political arguments and debates that can typically end in very hostile responses from both ends that make both parties angrier and less understanding of each other than how they went in. What happened at the capitol that day is nothing more than an incredibly extreme scenario in which a response to an opposing idea is taken too far, and as developing teenagers our reactions to ideas that displease us are primarily known for being over-exaggerated and particularly hostile. Getting in full-blown fights over something as simple as trash talking, explosive outbursts at parents over arguments, and other such responses are examples of unprecedented reactions to a conversation that we as teenagers commonly have. Considering many teens who are building their own ideas on the world around them, especially from a political standpoint, the events of the riot exist as a reminder to us all of the destructive consequences of these hostile debates and discussions, and it saddens me that there are already incredibly aggressive and over-politicized debates about the events that happened that day and what they mean for us as Americans. As it currently stands, we have put ourselves in a vicious cycle of aggressive political discourse and the hostile reactions that spur from them, and it is up to our generation to break this cycle. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with disagreeing with each other on something or favoring a particular side,  for this is something that is entirely natural to us as humans. However, when you come together to discuss these conflicting ideas, it’s time for us to spend less time shouting and more time listening. We cannot expect to progress as a society if we hold onto the defensive debate mentality, and it’s entirely up to us to change the description of these conversations from “debates and arguments” to “discussions and understandings.”