Stop denying what happened on Capitol Hill

It has been almost 16 months since Jan. 6 2021, when a mob of Donald Trump supporters, armed with everything from pipes and flagpoles to chemical sprays, stormed the U.S. Capitol and pushed their way through police lines into the ornate halls. The violent attack was undeniably an act of domestic terrorism as White nationalist symbols were on display, cementing the movement’s ideological extremism.

On the surface, that Wednesday started like so many Trump rallies that had happened before, but it was clear to anyone following the siege that this time the anger and tension was much more intense and bound to escalate.

Footage and images of the federal building’s front steps revealed a sea of appropriated historical flags, altered stars and stripes and conspiracy theory symbolism as well as adherents who are easily identifiable by their respective hate symbols. This is beyond doubt as Neo-fascist groups such as the Proud Boys, Three-percenters, Oath Keepers and Neo-Confederates made their presence known.

The raid on the Capitol occurred when lawmakers were meeting to certify Joe Biden’s election victory. The joint session came to a halt when people were forced to scramble for safety and wear protective gas masks while insurrectionists disputed the peaceful transfer of power. What resulted was more than 140 members of law enforcement suffering from injuries in the attack and a siege that caused more than $1 million of damage to Capitol possessions.

What I find the hardest to sit with is that the attempted insurrection and deaths that resulted could have been entirely prevented. Instead of diffusing the situation and speaking on a peaceful protest, Trump encourages his supporters to raid the capitol and uses his platform to blatantly encourage bigotry and hate filled acts.

If people in this country are no longer committed to a peaceful transfer of power after elections and condemning the elections as illegitimate because they didn’t go their way, is a truly hopeless way to go about “democracy”. People are so driven by prejudice and disdain for the other half that they attack citizens as traitors for having opposing views. Whether someone is born in another country or simply doesn’t look like the majority, is in no way justification for people with privilege and power to commit heinous crimes against their adversary.

Whether it be for threatening democracy or defending democracy, what is clear is that the nation is divided in partisan ways. We have picture and video documentation as well as testimony from the people that were at the rioton Jan 6, 2021. Even today, the concern is that far too many people are denying the truth that is right in front of their face. What happened on Capitol Hill was stark and jarring in nature. How we grapple and learn from what happened is up to us but what is imperative is that we do not ignore it.