Rioters Storm Capitol, San Dimas Looks to Future

San Dimas Community Post interviewed locals across the political spectrum to discover how they were feeling both during and after the election season. Photo: Rommel Alcantara

By Rommel Alcantara and Christian Shepherd

On Jan. 6, a surge of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol of the United States to interrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, resulting in five deaths and an unknown number of injuries.

The mob was successful in interrupting the certification for only a short time. Within hours, they were cleared from the building while U.S. officials reconvened to finish the process of certification. 

The attack was the direct result of a misinformation campaign led by President Trump, who has been sowing seeds of distrust in the election process before voting had even begun.

On Jan. 7, President-elect Joe Biden’s victory was formally accepted by Congress, and President Trump issued a statement saying that there would be an “orderly transition” of power on Jan. 20 despite his disagreements with the outcomes of the election. 

The effects of the Trump presidency and this election season have had far-reaching impacts on everyone in our country, including the residents of San Dimas. 

Prior to the insurrection that unfolded at the Capitol, San Dimas Community Post interviewed locals across the political spectrum to discover how they were feeling both during and after the election season.

Standing outside San Dimas’ Voting Center before the November 2020 presidential election, Jim Gallagher, an independent, said he would like to see more compromise in our political system. Photo: Rommel Alcantara

For Jim Gallagher, a civil engineer and declared independent, the main issue was how unwilling both sides of the political spectrum seemed to be when it came to compromise. 

“Honestly, I’m very concerned about division within our country and in our society. It feels like there’s a lack of compromise and meeting the middle ground with other people that have various beliefs,” Gallagher said. 

“The main issue I have with politics now is nobody’s looking for common ground. They’re just creating division, they’re creating fear, and I just think it’s really sad.”

Gallagher’s sentiments were echoed by Republican Jayanne Hampton and registered independent Perry Hampton, who said the current political climate is “kind of a mess.”

Perry Hampton, a registered independent, and Jayanne Hampton, a Republican, voted in San Dimas with their three children in tow. Photo: Rommel Alcantara

“I wish everyone would come together. People can have different viewpoints, but people should be civil to each other,” Perry said.

Jayanne said she believes actions are more important than character. 

“I’m judging someone based not on who they are, but what they’ve done and what they will do, and that person is Trump,” Jayanne added.

Michelle Pasos,  who was registered as a Democrat during the Democratic primary election, said she was critical of our current two-party political system and that it will only continue to create division rather than unity. 

Pasos said she felt strongly towards a leader that “cares for all people and who believes in equality, equity and social justice,” qualities that she felt President Trump has not represented.

Pasos got her wish after the 2020 election when Joe Biden was named President-elect.

Michelle Pasos, a San Dimas business owner, felt grateful about the results of the 2020 presidential election. Photo: Rommel Alcantara.

“I was so happy and that night, I allowed myself to feel all the feels,” Pasos said. “It was a very historic moment to see a woman of color become vice president. So I felt really grateful to know that I was a part of that process.”

Gallagher was more concerned about how Trump supporters were handling the defeat.

“Everyone’s having a hard time figuring what to trust in terms of information. I feel that good people [are] latching on to a person and holding them in such a high regard to abandon their values, even though they argue that they’re not,” Gallagher said.

“It just spins out of control, and I feel like it’s going to be difficult for people like that to break out of that cycle of self-evaluation.”

Gallagher, despite feeling that America is in uncharted waters, still believes that our country will be well on its way to bringing itself together again.

“If I had a crystal ball, we would be on the road to finding common ground with each other and being able to take positive steps to benefit not only our country, but humankind around the world,” Gallagher said. 

The Hamptons could not be contacted for a follow-up interview following the election. Before the results came in however, Jayanne said she felt that the best thing to do after the election was to simply return to ordinary life. 

“I hope this whole ‘this is ruining things’ stops and everyone just gets over it and accepts that they can’t change anything. Just live life.”

Correction: In the print version of this article, we incorrectly labeled Michelle Pasos as a Democrat. While Pasos was registered as a Democrat for the Democratic primary election, she identifies as an independent.

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