The calendar turns again to that somber anniversary. The second one. And still so raw, so unresolved, so dangerous.
A date to mark, to reckon with, to never forget.
Another date that will live in infamy.
We have had many dates in our national story that were likewise seared in the memory of those who lived through them — moments when history suddenly swerved in a new and unanticipated direction, creating a "before" and an "after" in the American psyche.
April 15: Lincoln’s assassination.
December 7: Pearl Harbor.
November 22: Kennedy’s assassination.
And of course, 9/11.
Just to name a few.
These tragedies rend our national fabric. They were attacks on our nation and on our head of state.
But what about 1/6? Its denouement remains unresolved, questions without answers, a story without an ending. Purgatory.
It was an attack on the very meaning and security of American democracy orchestrated by a man who had sworn to uphold the Constitution as the chief executive of our nation. Unbelievable. But believable. Buttressed by reams of evidence, including the man’s own words and deeds.
And yet, here we are. Rather than unifying us as a nation, this date and all it represents divides us, weakens us, challenges the confidence we have in what we once believed was inviolable.
The scene of the insurrection — our mighty Capitol — is once more beset by chaos. This time it is coming from within the House, quite literally. But the two events are inextricably linked. For the most part, the rebels of January 2023 are marinated in the same Big Lie and nihilism that fueled the mob in 2021. In fact, many of these congressional office holders were cheerleaders and even participants in the earlier attacks on American democracy we now commemorate.
As shameful as these events are, they are as much a part of who we are as a country in 2023 as “We the people” or “a more perfect union.” We cannot afford to look away. These forces of autocracy and the extreme far right might have been tempered in the recent midterm elections, but they were far from vanquished. As we see in the spectacle of choosing a speaker of the House, the chaos is endemic to the current Republican Party.
Is this really what the American people want? Not if recent elections are any indication. When you look around this country, there are many reasons for hope that our nation “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal...can long endure.”
To endure, we will have to find a way out of this quagmire. And to do that, we will have to find a way to move beyond one of the most disgraceful and dangerous chapters in our history.
Lest we forget. January 6.
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The worst and saddest part is that almost half of our country doesn't recognize it for what it was, and more importantly, for what it represents and portends for our future. The fiasco taking place in that same building today only exacerbates that. The speakers rising to nominate Kevin McCarthy speak with vitriol and with accusatory phrases threatening retribution for the perceived failings of the Biden Administration. They keep emphasizing their mandate from the people; perhaps they need to check the meaning of the word. Their slim majority is hardy a mandate! They have removed the magnatom-itors which leaves the entire building open to another invasion. We need a refocus; a reminder of who we are and what we represent. We cannot move forward with this kind of failed leadership. It is time to find ways in which to work together for the common good. Whomever becomes Speaker can't merely seek ways to exact revenge. Another round of stalemate governing will only create further disunity and division. We owe the American people more!!
I love your comment: 1/6/21, destruction of our Capitol from the outside. 1/6/23, destruction of our government from within the same building -- by many of the same people who egged on the insurrectionists. Scary. Enraging.