2021 Capitol Attack

Abigail Ramirez

If two words wholeheartedly described America, persistent and determined would be the top two. This is good, as it represents the ability to go on, the ability to move forward. However, when taken in malicious terms, these words could be deadly, harmful, and tragic. Events that have these two words in them, specifically, ones that cause harm and destruction in their very path, are hazardous to a community, country, or continent.

We all have witnessed an event like this last month. Just weeks before a new president was to be sworn into office; Congress finalized his vote. While this was happening, however, Trump held a rally right outside of the Capitol building, and thousands of his supporters were there. Trump had said a few words that enticed a mob to storm the Capitol building as a congressional meeting was taking place within the senate chambers. These words were violent, filled with hate, and above all, driven by pride and greed. On January 6, 2021, a pro-Trump rally stormed the Capitol building to overthrow the election results. The Capitol building was looted, damaged, and images can be found online of people bringing in confederate flags, taking selfies with officers, and other obscene happenings. Here are just a few quotes, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.

“We don’t have a free and fair press. Our media is not free, it’s not fair. It suppresses thought. It suppresses speech, and it’s become the enemy of the people. It’s become the enemy of the people. It’s a—it’s the biggest problem we have in this country. No third world countries would even attempt to do what we caught them doing.…”

“Because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength and you have to be strong….”
“And, you know what? If they do the wrong thing, we should never, ever forget that they did. Never forget.…”
“We must stop the steal, and then we must ensure that such outrageous election fraud never happens again… but we are going forward; we will take care of it going forward…””…I think one of our great achievements will be election security because nobody until I came along had any idea how corrupt our elections were… something is really wrong, can’t have happened and we fight, we fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore…”

“So we are going to—we are going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue… and we are going to the Capitol, and we are going to try and give—the Democrats are hopeless, they are never voting for anything, not even one vote, but we are going to try—give our Republicans, the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re try—going to try and give them the kind of pride and boldness that they need to take back our country. So let’s walk down Pennsylvania Avenue.”

Those last two quotes were the strongest of Trump’s words, which caused the attack. Regardless of our political beliefs, a person with so much influence and power such as that (or the lack thereof) saying such things can be perilous. In addition to this riot, five lives were lost amid the chaos. So far, dozens of arrests have been made, but there are still many people who have gotten away with what happened that day.

Congresswoman Lori Trahan expressed her frustrations and sadness by saying, “It was as sad as it was enraging to watch hundreds of insurgents rush the same steps of the Capitol that I stood on with my daughters just days before and where I’ve met with students from all over Massachusetts. It was appalling to see a mob trample over the hallowed ground where President Lincoln’s desk was located with a confederate flag, hunting down members of Congress and disrupting the work to certify our elections. Nevertheless, Democracy prevailed in that terrifying moment. We did not succumb to domestic terrorists hellbent on overturning an election. We returned to the House floor that night and continued the important work of the American people.”

Although sad, Congresswoman Lori Trahan expressed her want for justice and accountability. “We have a long way to go to heal our nation from that dark day, but that long road must begin with justice and accountability. We need to bring those who stormed the Capitol, leading to the deaths of seven people, to justice, and we need accountability for the individuals, our former President included, who incited this violent act of insurrection.”

It is within this event, however, that we learn something about Democracy. It is that Democracy, though significant, is too fragile. Whether political, moral, or racial, Sides pitted against one another can make or break a government like ours. We all learned that regardless of whoever is elected for office or whoever is in charge, we should not turn to violence to express our frustrations and anger. As mentioned before, regardless of where people stand politically, it is never okay to say anything dangerous that could entice a mob. No one is above the law. No one can overrule or out-do something that has more power over them. If there is one thing that we have most definitely taken away from this, sometimes, we need a disaster to truly reform. It sometimes takes catastrophe and damage to truly bring out the good in people, to bring a country together in unity to realize that events like this are genuinely detrimental to Democracy.

Here is some food for thought:
“The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is, because man is disunited with himself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.