A reflection on Jan. 6

The stability and success of any political system is dependent on a peaceful transfer of power. What we saw on January sixth was at most an insurrection, and at the very least an affront to our democracy. Thousands of pro-Trump rioters gathered at Capitol Hill and stormed the Capitol Building with the intent to overturn the presidential election results. These self-identified “patriots” were decked out in Trump apparel holding “MAGA 2020” and Confederate flags while rushing to the Senate floor looking for government officials that they were told had betrayed them. There are reports and videos of these rioters constructing gallows and chanting “hang Mike Pence”.

This has all come to a boiling point thanks in part to the misinformation attempts by President Trump, who has repeated baseless claims about fraudulent election ballots. There were five deaths in the riot, one rioter was shot by Capitol Hill police officers and the other were due to unrelated medical emergencies. The participants made no attempt to hide their faces and some even recorded themselves in the act. Semi-high profile figures such as West Virginia lawmaker Derrick Evans were involved and later stepped down after the riot. In the ensuing chaos, a Capitol Hill police officer was also killed by the mob with a fire extinguisher. Recently, around 10-15 police officers are currently under investigation due to possible attempts to help the mob, a Capitol Hill police officer committed suicide as well.

Within the past few days, the FBI has begun a string of arrests as it goes after the various rioters whose faces were caught on camera, most notably Mr. Chansley who was wearing the fur headdress with horns, Mr. Johnson who stole Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lectern, and Mr. Barnett who posed for pictures in Speaker Pelosi’s office with his feet on her desk. As these arrests continue, the rioters will be tried according to the law, but the damage has already been done. We’ve clearly seen that Trumpism, a right wing form of populism and all that it entails is an existential threat to democracy in this nation. If the United States wants to come out stronger from this disaster we must once again reaffirm the ideals of democracy and due process of law and not only hold all the ringleaders responsible but ensure that a travesty like this cannot happen again.