What have we learned from the Capitol Insurrection?

9 mins read

It’s been over one year since rioters stormed Capitol Hill as Congress were ratifying President Joe Biden’s election victory on January 6.

Supporters of former President Donald Trump entered the building carrying Trump memorabilia, confederate flags and pieces detailing a large Q referring to the popular far-right conspiracy theory Q-Anon.

Four people died at the rally with three people dying of ‘medical emergencies’ at the same time. In the aftermath of the insurrection four police officers, who were on duty on that day, died by suicide.

In her daily news conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on January 5: “I expect President Biden to lay out the significant of what happened at the Capitol and the singular responsibility President Trump has for the chaos and carnage that we saw.”

And he did just that.

President Biden stood in the South Court auditorium, where a year ago that day insurrectionaries marched through, declared his predecessor and his supporters who mobbed represented values that “could not be further form the core of American values.”

But what has changed in the year since the riot and have there been any lessons learned?

American Democracy is potentially at risk

The mob attacked during the confirmation of Joe Biden’s election win. Once the mob dispersed congress gathered back in the chamber to confirm the win.

The parallels between the angry insurrectionaries and members of congress became apparent as congressmen and women peacefully took their seats to finish what they had started.

The democratic process is seemingly undergoing changes as we pass the one year commemoration of the insurrection.

Biden is currently aggressively supporting a bill to overhaul election laws in the Senate.

Two bills have gone to the Senate, the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, after passing the House of Representatives last year.

The Freedom to Vote Act would introduce standardised nationwide voting rules as opposed to the current state-by-state patchwork and requires an overhaul federal rules to guarantee new protection around mail-in ballots.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act would require certain states with a history of voting discrimination to get government permission to make any changes to election regulations.

However, Wednesday 19 saw a defeat against the voting bill when Republicans used the filibuster- a technical rule that requires 60 votes to advance most legislation- to block the bill from passing.

This was a major blow to Joe Biden. Two of his own party members, Kyrsten Cinema of Arizona and Joe Manchie of West Virginia, voted against the proposed bills choosing to side with the Republican Party.

The claim of election fraud has been floating in the air since the night of the election on November 3. This rhetoric is still around today and was a huge part for the justification for the riot of January 6.

According to the Guardian one in three people believe Joe Biden was not legitimately elected with many fearing the 2022 election could be overturned as Republicans fight for key election administration roles.

President Biden just commemorated his one year anniversary in office but with so many of his citizens in disbelief that the democratic process legitimately elected him, the fate of the next election is ever more intriguing.

Justice and accountability is (somewhat) being served

In the days following the insurrection participants slowly but steadily began to be identified and arrested.

Its estimated 753 people have been arrested and charged for crimes linked to the January 6 riot.

Insider claims only 175 of the 753 federally charged have entered guilty pleas.

One particular participant known as QAnon Shaman became one of the most recognisable faces from that day.

His face governed most of the coverage as he stood topless with his face painted with the colours of the USA.

Chansley walked through the halls of Congress carrying a spear screaming and shouting became a notorious figure however Chansley claimed from his prison cell he actually tried to calm the crowd down in an interview with Inside Edition.

In November he was convicted of knowingly entering into or remaining in any restricted buildings or grounds without lawful authority, and with violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds.

The QAnon Shaman, who’s real name is Jacob Chansley, was sentenced to 41 months in prison.

The FBI are still urging the American public to help the track down any more people that took part in the riot.

The House of Representatives narrowly voted to create a commission on what happened with only two Republicans sitting on the Panel.

On January 21, the committee announced they wanted Ivanka Trump to testify. They’re also looking to former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and requesting the phone records of Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr’s fiancee Kimberley Guilfoyle.

The House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy has said the Republican Party will create its own investigation into what exactly happened not hat fateful day.

The Nation is still as divided as before (maybe even worse)

In the aftermath of January 6, Democrats blamed Republicans while many Republicans denied they had any part in the take-over.

In an NBC News poll done in August 2021, 54 per cent of people asked are worried and have a more pessimistic view of the future for America compared to 44 per cent who said they were optimistic.

The attitudes towards January sixth has also changed. In August 2021 47 per cent of people questioned were very concerned about what the riot means for the country compared with 26 per cent who were not concerned at all.

NBC news claims more people believe the insurrection was an attempt to over throw the election than an act of terrorism- 59 per cent to 52 per cent.

The dividing line from the Capitol siege is pragmatically just down the party lines. Out of those surveyed 40 per cent are Democrats or independently lean to the democrats and 37 per cent are Republican or independently lean to the Republican.

When asked if they approve or disapprove of the job current president Joe Biden, 49 per cent of those asked approved and 48 per cent disapprove.

79 per cent are registered voters and 50 per cent of those registered voters approve of how President Biden is doing.

Whether the impact of the events of January 6 are as big an issue one year on, what is clear is political divisions are becoming ever more vast.

Joe Biden just celebrated his one year in anniversary in office and what a divisive year it has been. The fate of the 2024 election will come down to how well Biden attempts to unify the country as the events of January sixth begin to become a distant memory.

Feature Image Credit: – EPA from the BBC

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Journalism and Politics student// Editor-in-Chief 2021/22

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