RALEIGH (WTVD) -- David McLennan watched Wednesday's disturbing scenes from Washington not just as a horrified American citizen but as a professor of political science, a teacher of the principles of U.S. democracy.
"I have never seen anything like this. This is domestic terrorism. This is sedition," said McLennan, who teaches poli-sci at Meredith College in Raleigh. "I will tell my students two things about what happened in Washington, today. Number one: this was not democracy. This was not what the country was founded on. I will also tell them the country will survive and thrive despite the attempted coup against the government."
Earlier Tuesday, President Donald Trump addressed his supporters who descended on Washington in protest of the ceremony on Capitol Hill to certify President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College vote win.
"We're gonna walk down to the Capitol," President Trump said. "Because you'll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength."
After hearing Trump repeat more false claims of a rigged election, many of the protesters turned into rioters at the U.S. Capitol. One waved a North Carolina state flag after taking over the Capitol steps; others stormed through police barricades. Tear gas was deployed. Inside, lawmakers ducked for cover; others given gas masks as the mob moved inside the House and Senate chambers. Secret Service agents drew their guns to keep glass-smashing rioters out.
"It's not protest, its insurrection! The world is watching," said Biden as he addressed the nation amid the chaos, calling on President Trump to demand an end to the violence.
"I have seen civil unrest. I have seen government hurt its own citizens. But, never have I seen U.S. citizens try to not just interrupt, but destroy a constitutionally-prescribed duty for congress," McLennan said. "You may disagree with what government does but you don't take that into your own hands and try to tear government down."
Looking for lessons from this dark day in American history -- Professor McLennan says it's that the constitution and law prevailed; the insurrection did not succeed. And January 20 will bring a peaceful transfer of power.
"It is a lesson, a living lesson for my students," he said. "Not just to show them the good things about the country, but the things that aren't so good. But the country can deal with it."