This week, we mark the one-year anniversary of the most significant and darkest political events in modern American history – the attempt by a defeated president and members of his political party to overturn a democratic election and violently prevent the peaceful transfer of power.
The unprecedented nature of the failed insurrection of Jan. 6, 2020, at the Capitol cannot be denied – a mob of thousands, many armed, attacked the United States Capitol, some calling for the murder of lawmakers as they met to certify the results of our presidential election.
Some on the right want to portray this attack on our constitutional government as just a demonstration that got out of hand; or more unbelievably, something staged by the FBI, mythical ‘Antifa’ infiltrators or Democrats and overblown by the media. Just as unbelievably, like the fraudulent claims by Trump of fraud, some on the right now ‘double down’ on these lies as well.
It’s shocking to most Americans that a supposed majority of Republicans buy into the shaky concept that the election was fraudulent (despite close to 60 failed court challenges to the contrary). Even more shocking is polling that apparently shows about a third of Republicans buying into the big lie who believe that using violence to overturn the election would be appropriate.
As the bipartisan committee formed to learn the details of how and why this happened (including those responsible for planning the insurrection) gets set to publicly reveal what interviews with some 300 people and reviews of 35,000 documents have revealed, there is continued concern for our democracy.
As the New York Times stated in its Sunday editorial, ‘Every day is Jan. 6 now.’ That’s a reference to the continued, sometimes under-the-radar efforts by Republicans to subvert the will of the electorate in future elections by passing new voting restrictions in multiple states designed to disenfranchise some voters and in some cases, overrule their decisions by partisan takeovers of state election boards and positions.
Conspiracy-believing extremists have threatened election officials; (including some loony here pointing a fake gun at our own Clerk and Recorder, post-election) threatened violence against elected officials pursuing the truth, and seemingly pushing their desire to advance their dream of minority rule despite incontrovertible evidence they lost.
In the end, we can hope and encourage the bipartisan select committee investigators to name the administration co-conspirators, detail their scheme to retain power through illegal means, and refer them for certain prosecution by the Justice Department.
The clear and present danger to our democracy demands it.
Jail terms already handed down to some of the rioters will have to be matched with much stronger measures against those leaders who planned and coordinated the insurrection, and have their crimes revealed in detail.
This is not over. Rep. Adam Schiff, who led one of the impeachments against Donald Trump and famously said at the time “Right matters, truth matters, decency matters,” is now among those warning that the threat to our democracy actively continues with the attempts to rig voting in future elections; to allow those in power at the national, state and even local level to subjugate the will of the people.
The close call that nearly undermined democracy on Jan. 6 , 2021 should motivate all electors to become activists who want to work to protect our most precious democratic right beyond simply voting. Real patriots must stand for their country at this moment.
Featured image: Pro-Trump rioters breach the Capitol Jan. 6. Wolfgang Schwan photo.