I was incredibly ill with the COVID on January 6th last year. I have seen no entries in my Facebook memories for last year since a cursory post from January 2nd. COVID-19 was the worst experience of my life, bar none. That being the case, I did not experience the Capitol Hill riots in real time. THAT being the case, the riots seem very surreal and ethereal to me, being I don’t have personal account to fall back on in remembrance. But, I have gone out of my way to collect as much information on them as I can over the last year, and I believe that the Trump supporters and other right-leaning individuals who are, today, severely downplaying the severity of those riots, do our country a grave disservice. The events on Capitol Hill of January 6th, 2021, should go down as a dark day in American history. For many Trump supporters they won’t–because it isn’t about what’s right to them, it’s wholly about what Trump says is right–but they definitely should.
There is no reputable data that even suggests that any malfeasance during election 2020 rose to the level of election altering. That being the case, the “Stop the Steal” movement is predicated on a 100% false narrative. Trump lost the election fair and square, just as Hillary did four years prior. Trump had been priming the pump for the narrative of election fraud for more than four years, though. Trump actually contended during the 2016 election cycle that if he lost it would assuredly be due to election fraud. In the run up to the 2020 election he, once again, promoted this same narrative. Whenever Trump could work in into the discussion, he asserted–as populists are wont to do–that there were forces aligned against him that would stop at nothing, up to and including election fraud, to make certain that he wasn’t president of the United States when January 2021 rolled around. That this assertion on Trump’s part harkened all the way back to the previous presidential election was utterly lost on his most ardent supporters. That he had asserted the exact same thing during an election cycle in which he won the presidency did not suffer these individuals even the slightest skeptical moment when assessing Trump’s claims. As such, to say that the pump was well-primed, as far as wide-scale belief that the 2020 election was in fact stolen from Trump, is a severe understatement.
The fact is, the peaceful transition of power in a country is, historically speaking, relatively anomalous. Generally speaking, power changes hands in any given country through bloodshed. The fact that in America, we have had almost 250 years of such transitions without any blood shed is a very notable thing. That we can get a third of a billion people to come together to elect our governmental officials, and that then those who are newly elected can take their place in our seats of power in an orderly and peaceful manner, as far as its relative novelty is concerned, is difficult to overstate. Liberal democracy is a wonderful idea and practice, and each and every one of us should be incredibly skeptical of anyone calling that process into question. It should require incontrovertible proof that the process is corrupt before anyone lifts even a marginally violent hand to contest that transfer of power. Once again, as far as the 2020 election cycle is concerned, no such proof exists, and that is what makes what happened one year ago on this very date so incredibly remarkable and regretful.
Those who stormed the Capitol Building on January 6th, 2021, on the false assumption that Trump won the 2020 presidential election, absolutely assaulted the foundations of liberty that our blessed country in predicated on. It was reprehensible behavior from the side of the political aisle whence many of my own ideals originate, the right. Many conservatives are justly offended by what these rioters did. Unfortunately, there are also many purported conservatives who not only downplay the riots as being virtually a nonissue, but who continue to spread the false belief that Trump should still be president; who duplicitously contend that while they believe that the riots weren’t anything of merit or notoriety in our great country’s history, those very same rioters were simultaneously fully justified in storming those barriers, overrunning those police officers, breaking and smashing into the chambers of Congress, galavanting around the foundations of American government, driven by the patently false belief that congress shouldn’t be validating the 2020 election results; that in the year 2021 the peaceful transition of power that is the mainstay of our constitutional republic was no longer legitimate; that because they had given their minds and their hearts over to a demagogue of the worst order, violence had now become part of a process that each and every one of us should cherish for the historical marvel that a peaceful transition of power just so happens to be.
January 6th was a nauseating display of an utter lack of dignity, humility, decency, reason, discernment, and patriotism, as well as an utter lack of faith in our American order — an order that has served not just the people of the United States, but the people of the entire world incredibly well for almost 250 years. It was very much an assault on the heart of republican liberal democracy. It was an affront to the founders of our great nation and to the citizens of the United States of America who believe that our democratic processes are sacrosanct, and that it should take far, FAR more than the word of a demonstrable liar, demonstrable cheat, demonstrable philanderer, demonstrable corrupt New York businessman who had somehow parlayed those traits into a four year stint at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and was now deploying those very same traits in an effort to unduly remain in office, in direct assault on the peaceful transition of power that every single American should cherish and honor as the absolute wonder and miracle that it demonstrably is. Shame on those rioters, shame on their enablers and apologists, and Shame on Trump — a shame that Americans who played no part in such a disgusting display of mindless partisanship must now bear. Those of you discounting the January 6th riots’ magnitude do your country a disservice today, even though it seems incredibly doubtful to me that you will ever recognize that reality, so far down the rabbit hole of mindless tribalism much of our great nation has gone.