U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated Wednesday, sparking various reactions throughout the country and Ohio University political organizations in light of the recent storming of the U.S. Capitol.
Following the riot that broke out at the U.S. Capitol building Jan. 6, OU organizations, including OU College Republicans, OU College Democrats and OU Moderates, are taking steps to address the riot and educate their members.
OU College Republicans, or OUCR, President Chase Conklin said the group put out statements addressing its concerns with the Capitol storming.
“As College Republicans, our governing body put out statements and stuff,” Conklin, a junior studying environmental geography, said. “We put out similar statements reiterating that we did not like the violence and all that, but we support people in their free speech.”
Haley Janoski, OU College Democrats membership director and a sophomore studying communication studies and Spanish, said the first meeting of Spring Semester will cover the events at the Capitol and how to respond to it.
“On Tuesday will be our first meeting of the semester. Our meeting topic is just going to be a discussion about what's happened over the last week or two, especially the riot that happened,” Janoski said. “And then along with the discussion, we're going to be having sort of like a presentation PowerPoint in which we go over various vocabulary relating to the riot, so like what these different groups that were present stand for.”
Some members of political organizations at OU think the political climate has changed since the storming of the Capitol building.
“Our organization feels as if the current political climate has become more divided since the events unfolded at the capital,” OU Moderates President Ryan Gwin said in an email. “We wish to move forward from here and want the government and the nation to work towards more unity in the future.”
Others feel as though the contrast between both parties became more prevalent after the events that took place at the Capitol.
“I think the election of Trump has probably galvanized a lot more people on both sides, brought them into politics and being aware of what's happening,” Janoski said. “I'd say last week's events, though, made it much more stark.”
Janoski also thinks the events at the Capitol were unprecedented circumstances.
“When Trump got elected a couple years ago, I knew things might turn out to be bad, but I never expected that it would get to this point,” Janoski said. “But, looking back at all the events of the past four years, it makes sense as to why it culminated in that event and these kind of racist sentiments.”
With the storming of the Capitol building being close to Inauguration Day, some are hoping for a controlled environment during the inauguration in light of the events.
“We don’t have many fears with this inauguration because we trust and have faith in the extra safety protocols put in by law enforcement and the mayor of Washington D.C,” Gwin, a sophomore studying early childhood and elementary education, said in an email. “We understand that they have learned from the events that unfolded at the capitol on January 6th and will be prepared for Inauguration Day.”
With the transition to Biden’s presidency, others hope to have a more unified future.
“I just hope as a country we can come together — wishful thinking,” Conklin said. “(I) hope that … we can try and figure out what's going on with this pandemic, what we actually need to do with it and try to revamp our economy.”