By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor
BRIDGETON, N.J. — In his weekly NJ.com column, Bridgeton mayor Albert B. Kelly condemned the rioters who carried out a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago.
Mayor Kelly began the column by pointing out people’s inherent need to allow historical events such as the riots on January 6 to digest. That could perhaps be the reason why Mayor Kelly wrote a column about the events nearly two weeks after they happened, but regardless, he thinks the Capitol riots represent a damning reality about the United States’ political climate.
“After the passage of a few days, I think we have to wrestle with the fact that what we saw on Jan. 6 is exactly who we are and exactly what we’ve become,” Mayor Kelly wrote. “Over the next weeks and months, the emotions of the moment will give way to more reflective ones. As that happens, my hope is that we all carefully consider what is at stake in this country. The riot at the Capitol building is what happens when you lance the boil of hate and rage that’s been stoked over of the last few years, and when it all explodes.”
In Mayor Kelly’s opinion, the pressures that led to January 6’s events built up in a number of different ways — including the spread of misinformation on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. He also feels that “what the public has tolerated” in the current political climate and people hoping “the fever would break and the infection would subside” also contributed to the build-up to the Capitol riots.
After citing a number of smaller, but similar instances of politically-motivated violence across the United States, Mayor Kelly referred to the Capitol riot as a “wake-up call.” The Mayor also called on education about civics and government to improve.
“This is the chance we get to make a course correction. Our democracy will not just take care of itself, nor is it self-perpetuating; things will not just magically work out as we go about our daily business and we take it for granted,” he said. “We have to respect the rule of law actively and we have to insist on fidelity to the Constitution, even as we struggle to apply it and even when we disagree with the politics of the moment.”
Five people, including U.S. Capitol police officer and New Jersey native Brian Sicknick, died as a result of the January 6 riot. The rioters were supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump. They hoped to disrupt the official confirmation of President-Elect Joe Biden’s victory over President Trump, who encouraged his supporters to “fight like hell” and march on the Capitol at a “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington, DC in the morning of January 6.
“Now, it is up to Congress to confront this egregious assault on our democracy. And after this, we’re going to walk down, and I’ll be there with you, we’re going to walk down, we’re going to walk down,” President Trump said. “Anyone you want, but I think right here, 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.”
President Trump was banned from numerous social media platforms — including Twitter and Facebook — as the tech giants felt that the President used those platforms to incite his supporters.
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