Was Jan. 6, 2021, just another day in our nation’s history or was it a day that will live in infamy? Was it a seminal day for democracy or should the U.S. Capitol riot be dismissed as a mere incident? Here are my thoughts.
The event was “a violent and unprecedented attack on the U.S. Capitol, the Vice President, Members of Congress, and the democratic process.” That’s what a report published by the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs and U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration said.
On the flipside, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called Jan. 6 “a dark day for Congress and our country” in which the Capitol was “stormed by criminals who brutalized police officers and used force to try to stop Congress from doing its job,” he also made clear that he thought Democrats were trying to “exploit this anniversary to advance partisan policy goals that long predated this event.”
He was referring to potential attempts to try to abolish or weaken the legislative filibuster to pass voting rights protections that Republicans have blocked.
Let’s review the facts.
In 1814, the British attacked and burned our Capitol, the president’s house and other government buildings. Since then, there have been occasional shootings and bombings at the Capitol, but the acts of Jan. 6 were unprecedented, involving hundreds who temporarily halted the proceedings of the Congress.
While other dates of infamy, notably Dec. 7, 1941 (bombing of Pearl Harbor), and Sept. 11, 2001 (attack on World Trade Center and Pentagon), involved the deaths of more people, at least seven individuals, including three law enforcement officers, died because of the Jan. 6 riot.
What’s an insurrection? That’s a violent attempt at taking control of government.
The Jan. 6 invasion of our Capitol building was aimed at “overturning [President Donald Trump’s] defeat in the 2020 presidential election by disrupting the joint session of Congress assembled to count electoral votes that would formalize then President-elect Joe Biden’s victory,” according to Wikipedia.
Was it an armed insurrection? Federal prosecutors have filed weapons charges against more than 80 of the rioters, so yes.
Is it a date that will live in infamy? Infamy is an evil reputation brought about by something grossly criminal, shocking or brutal, as defined by Merriam-Webster.
So, yes, Jan. 6, 2021, is the date of an unprecedented armed insurrection that will live in infamy. That isn’t so hard to conclude, is it?
Why, then, is that so hard for our Republican leaders to say on the anniversary of the insurrection?
Neither former vice president Mike Pence, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., former secretary of state Mike Pompeo nor former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley appeared or issued a statement memorializing the event.
In fact, during a moment of silence held on the House floor in honor of law enforcement officers who protected them, only two Republicans were present: Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and her father, former vice president Dick Cheney.
Immediately after the 2021 riot, McConnell said, “There’s no question — none — that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day. No question about it.” McConnell also called it “a disgraceful, disgraceful dereliction of duty.”
Karl Rove, deputy chief of staff in the Bush administration and Trump 2020 campaign adviser, said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, “There can be no soft-pedaling what happened and no absolution for those who planned, encouraged and aided the attempt to overthrow our democracy. Love of country demands nothing less. That’s true patriotism.”
We Republicans, and all citizens, need to know the facts.
Our thanks to Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., who voted for establishing the U.S. House select committee on the Jan. 6 attack. Our contempt for Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., as well as Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., for opposing the committee’s establishment. Shame on them.