Editorial: To wave off insurrection is to doom democracy – San Antonio Express-News
This is Jan. 6. It happened. The insurrectionists must be held accountable.
Remember Jan. 6.
This isn’t a play on a famous battle cry. It’s an appeal to not forgetting what we saw, heard and felt during one of the darkest days in our nation’s history — when fellow Americans, infected by the lie the presidential election was stolen, stormed the U.S. Capitol to stop the certification of Electoral College votes and deny the will of most American voters, who chose a new president.
It’s an affirmation to not allow the history of that day, less than 10 months old, to be hijacked, whitewashed and thrown into a memory hole.
It’s a call to let facts and memory jolt us into understanding the reality of that assault, and to stir us into taking more seriously the ongoing attempts in statehouses and courts to undermine democracy through exclusion, suppression and gerrymandering. So much of this stems from twice-impeached former President Donald Trump’s lie that an election he lost by more than 7 million votes was “stolen.”
Nothing should unify a nation more than an attack on its Capitol and an attempt to overturn election results, even if the insurrectionists are native-born.
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Nothing should more motivate members of an institution whose members were in fear that day, Democrats and Republicans, to pursue a thorough investigation of how that attack came about and to hold responsible everyone involved in its incitement.
Yet except for U.S. Reps. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, the only two Republicans on the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, no other Republican member of the House has any desire to get to the truth of that day, and many are now denying, diminishing and deflecting what happened.
Two of them, Reps. Andrew Clyde of Georgia and Troy Nehls of Texas, are immortalized in photos helping barricade House chambers against the marauders, yet now they claim the attack wasn’t that dangerous.
But while we were unified for a few hours on Jan. 6, in our fear and disgust of the rioters’ violence, that time has long passed, vanquished by the Republican Party’s subservience to Trump and concerns that his most rabid supporters will punish them at the polls or with more acts of violence.
Trump and his most outspoken supporters bizarrely call the riot a “peaceful” rally, as if millions of us did not see and hear a lynch mob hunting elected officials through the halls of Congress and calling for the hanging of Vice President Mike Pence.
The insurrection was televised. We saw videos of the mob breaching the Capitol, something not done since the British attacked in 1814; bringing the Confederate flag into the building, something not done during the Civil War. We saw the mob fighting with police officers, yelling expletives, and punching, kicking and beating him with American flags.
Through the House Select Committee’s investigation and the work of journalists, we will learn more details about who aided the inciter in chief, Trump, in his authoritarian attempt to disrupt certification of the votes.
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Last week, Rolling Stone magazine reported that members of Congress and White House staff were involved in the planning to reverse the election results and the events leading to the violence. Renegade loyalists to a defeated and disgraced president may have been in the vanguard of the physical attack against democracy, but men and women sworn to defend the Constitution were in the war room orchestrating the legislative and judicial assaults.
If we lose this democracy, it won’t be because of stealth movements hidden from the American people. It will be lost in full view.
Remember Jan. 6, because that will be a date when either the loss of our democracy was accelerated or when we the people, understanding we could lose it, rededicated ourselves to its defense and preservation.