The Aftermath of the January 6 Insurrection

Daniel O'Keefe, Junior

January 6 marked the one year anniversary of the infamous Insurrection on Capitol Hill. A day in which the electoral votes of President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris were to be peacefully confirmed turned into a bloody insurrection. In a meeting of protest, President, Donald Trump, encouraged his supporters to approach the U.S Capitol to in an effort to intimidate both Vice President Pence and Congress, and stop the certification of the 2020 election. This was due to President Trump’s refusal to accept defeat falsely claiming that there was widespread fraud in the presidential election. The crowd approaching the capitol had been so whipped into a frenzy that they stormed the building. When the violence had ended, four police officers and one insurrectionist were killed along. For Trump’s part in this alarming display, he was impeached for a 2nd time with seven Republican senators voting to convict him. It’s been over a year since the January 6 Insurrection on Capitol Hill, and our democracy is arguably in greater danger than it was last year.

Despite the former president being out of office, his lies and legacy continue to harm democracy. Due to his lies about the validity of the election that he claimed was “stolen”, Republican state-legislature have used his words as an influence to pass massive voter suppression bills across the country. Many of these voter restriction bills are mainly targeted to voters of color. This includes Texas banning 24 hour in-person and restricting mail-in voting and Georgia making it a crime to even give voters food and water in long lines to vote. Despite having a majority in the Senate, Democrats still face obstacles such as the filibuster to create laws to combat the voter-suppression bills.

Recent polling shows that a majority of Republican voters suggest that violence is the only way to fight for “freedom” in this country. This is due to multiple statements by people such as President Trump, Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) to name a few.

What is so horrifying is the number of voters that believe that January 6 was not an insurrection but rather a peaceful protest. In some instances, where the violent nature of the capitol riot is acknowledged, it is attributed to just a few crazy people rioting the capitol. Others compared the insurrection to the violent BLM protest that occurred during the summer of 2020 following the murder of George Floyd. This, of course, is a shocking and ridiculous comparison. First, a Harvard Radcliffe Institute Study from October 2020, citing information provided by the Department of Homeland Security,  showed that Black Lives Matters protests were remarkably non-violent, and what violence did occur was instigated by counter-protestors.  Next, it was never the aim of BLM protesters  to kill any government officials, unlike the attackers who were chanting to hang the then Vice President Mike Pence and put a noose outside of Capitol Hill.

Now, our democracy faces more danger than ever, as voters are asked to continue believing that the election was stolen and that violence is the key to fighting for freedom. The biggest question we should ask ourselves is: how many more lies must be spread before another violent attack like January 6 will happen? How much longer do we have to live in fear from these lies? And how much longer must we wait before our democracy is destroyed?