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Academics and diplomat react to U.S. capitol riot

Posted at 7:30 PM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-07 00:24:49-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Those who study and teach American politics and history describe Wednesday's events at the U.S. Capitol as a dark day for democracy.

Tensions already were high leading into Wednesday’s counting of the Electoral College results, a process for peaceful transfer of power that has existed since the days of founding fathers.

"And you do so in a manner that paves the way gracefully for the next person to sustain the political process," Jay Dow, political science professor at the University of Missouri, said.

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It was anything but graceful as Pro-Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in a matter of minutes. The scene was unprecedented in modern history.

"The British burned the capitol during the War of 1812, in 1814, so the damage to the building itself was far more extensive than what's likely to have happened today," Peverill Squire, political science professor at University of Missouri, said, "and of course, that was a foreign invasion, rather than domestic insurrection."

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Professors and diplomats said they believe the attempt to overturn America’s presidential election will have long-lasting effects at home and abroad.

"I think a lot of people on both sides of the aisle – conservatives, moderates, liberals – who were appalled by what they saw today," Allan Katz, former U. S. Ambassador to Portugal, said.

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Katz watched the siege unfold from Portugal.

"In some ways, my hope is this – that maybe out of all of this, we can look at each other and say, 'Well, we're not that we may disagree about a variety of issues. We may fight hard and campaign because we want our person to we're supposed to the other person to win, but we are not about that,'" Katz said, referring to Wednesday's violence.

The Capitol has been the scene of protests and some violence, including a shooting back in 1954, but experts said they've never seen it on a scale like Wednesday's.