CADY: U.S. democracy still rattled one year after Jan. 6 insurrection

A+vigil+was+held+at+the+U.S.+Capitol+Jan.+6+in+remembrance+of+the+insurrection+one+year+ago.+Photo+via+Flickr+

A vigil was held at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6 in remembrance of the insurrection one year ago. Photo via Flickr

Jan. 6, 2022 marked the one year anniversary of the insurrection that we saw take place at the United States Capitol following claims made by former President Donald Trump that the presidential election was stolen from him. This day symbolized a new level of political division so severe that people seemed to lose sight of the sanctity of human life.

Since that day, the foundation of our country’s democracy has significantly changed.

Preceding the insurrection, Trump spoke to his supporters and encouraged them to march on the Capitol as Congress certified the election results. Politicians and American citizens have widely debated whether or not Trump should be held responsible, considering he made statements such as, “We fight like hell. And if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Despite this, Trump was acquitted of inciting the insurrection.

However, law does not necessarily equal ethics. From a moral standpoint, Trump undoubtedly holds responsibility for the Jan. 6 insurrection and those who have continued to embolden him and his actions are also responsible for perpetuating serious issues in this country. Trump’s rhetoric for months leading up to the insurrection undoubtedly contributed to the chaos.

During a White House briefing Sept. 23, 2020 Trump said this in response to being asked if he’d commit to a peaceful transfer of power: “We’re going to have to see what happens. You know, I’ve been complaining about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster. And the ballots are out of control. You know it. And you know who knows it better than anybody else? The Democrats.”

As a country, for the past year we have heard a lot of dishonesty and misinformation, motivated by the claims that President Joe Biden is not the true victor of the 2020 presidential election.

As a result of this conspiracy, many American citizens, politicians and members of the media such as Fox News and Newsmax have fought to push this agenda. The Jan. 6 insurrection is a clear display of that. People resorted to violence out of anger and hatred; but mostly due to the belief that they were patriots fighting against a tyrannical government because that’s what they were convinced of.

This day was no display of patriotism; it was an act of terrorism.

People attempted to overturn a free and fair presidential election which was verified several times and also saw the highest voter turnout to date. The most Americans ever to come out and vote in a presidential election should have been celebrated as a wonderful display of democracy but instead was tarnished. Some Americans claimed that a high voter turnout was suspicious; but increased voter turnout is not a sign of fraud.

Effects of the insurrection have now bled into the way Congress operates.

Congress has relapsed from divisive to dangerous because the effects of the insurrection have proved to be lasting in the way its members interact with one another. There is such immense trauma, hatred and disaccord between members that some people have come to feel threatened by one another. For example, metal detectors are at the Capitol building per the request of some Democratic Congress members and have been there since several days after the attack

“This (Congress) is the worst I’ve ever seen,” Representative Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, said in an interview with The Washington Post this year. “We were threatened with people who carry guns and had to set up machines by which to detect whether or not we were armed. This is, it’s kind of scary.”

The most direct way to pay homage to this day is to say simply that it mattered. Jan. 6 was a heartbreaking day for the country and it took the lives of several people, but it affected the lives of every person in America. It was a result of misinformation spreading like a disease. It was the result of our president encouraging harmful and hateful actions. It should not soon be forgotten or diminished.

When we look back a year ago to the events of Jan. 6, we see a lot of spite, hate and senselessness. Since then, we have still seen an abundance of these things and the cycle will continue unless there are people in power brave enough to put their foot down and do what is truly right. Politicians need to take accountability for their actions and continue to reprimand those responsible for the insurrection.

This story was written by Grace Cady. She can be reached at grace.cady@marquette.edu