Jan. 6, 2021, is a day which will live in infamy. A day when the Capitol Building was violently assaulted, breached and legislative chambers invaded by a large mob intent on leaving destruction in its wake.
Washington, D.C., is not your ordinary city, nor was it intended to be. In that sense, it should not be surprising for its residents to be forewarned of usual demonstrations or counter-protests. It is the seat of power of the nation’s people, and they deserve the right to redress grievances.
However, the “Stop the Steal” protest event was far from ordinary. It was never intended to be ordinary at all. Based on news reports, months of planning went into this effort, with money raised for moving large groups from around the nation to participate in the protest. In the morning, President Trump addressed the large crowd and urged them to move forward and take Capitol Hill, which they later did.
As this protest began to pick up steam, with barriers breached and doors broken down, it was immediately apparent to viewers watching events unfold via social and news media, the large crowd was not intent on staging a “peaceful” protest but were taking the building by force. Reporters on the ground began describing it differently—as an “insurrectionist assault” on the Capitol Building and its chambers.
This was the first time the Capitol was ever breached by a large force of its own citizenry, determined to seek out certain individuals to allegedly kidnap or even kill. And now, based on news reports, it appears they may have had help within the House and Senate chambers, as well. In due time, the facts of the matter will come out as investigative efforts by law enforcement and the FBI move ahead.
How do I feel about all of this? Having invested 15 years advocating for rural America in D.C., engaging members of both houses in office chambers and meeting rooms, I am not only greatly alarmed but also angered by the actions of a riotous mob which has been disrespectful of the democratic process by which “we, the people” have chosen to govern ourselves. It was a violent invasion, a “rape,” if you will, of the heart and soul of our nation’s democratic spirit.
Watching the events unfold as I worked in the office, I had a front row seat as video after video began streaming on social media. Mainline media were also present, reporting as the assault progressed into the day.
Later, reporters began using the words “insurrection” and “sedition” as they were able to interview members who emerged from their hiding places.
This is no longer about allegations of election fraud. More than 60 court cases have proven that beyond reasonable doubt. It has never been about fraud, but our former president refuses to concede and admit defeat. He was prepared to do whatever it took to assume the presidency, including setting aside a certified vote of the people to do it.
Mr. Trump also encouraged people to engage in felonious acts in an attempt to take back the presidency. In blunt terms, it was a coup attempt, an insurrection, an act of sedition.
For myself, sadness, anger, grief and horror describes my reactions, and those feelings of loss have never left. How can one regain a sense of wholeness?
Satisfaction and return to a peaceful, calm, orderly government requires a dramatic focus for justice to be served, in whatever the findings bears it out. This is not vindictive nor is it a refusal to bring about forgiveness, healing and unity. That can and will ultimately come, but justice, in a nation which is governed by laws, cannot remain unsettled.