• Mary Lauersen

The Overlooked Importance of the January 6th Insurrection

The events that took place on January 6th, 2021 have not been given enough credit regarding the damage they inflicted upon our country’s democracy. The storming of the Capitol was a terrifying glimpse of the possibility of an American dictatorship. This occurrence was a never-before-seen reaction to a fair and legitimate transfer of power, and it is important as Americans to fully understand its detriment.

The moment that the insurrectionists forced their way into the Capitol building, life as we know it was at stake. The safety of the ideals that this country was built upon was threatened by false accusations of an illegitimate election. It was an indignant, unwarranted revolt against the standard quadrennial tradition created to preserve our freedom. It was not a proud day for America. We resembled third world countries where there is no peace within a transfer of power. For a country that has prided itself on its greatness, we are far below the bar of greatness. While there has been justice served to many of the rioters, there is still a misconception that this event lacks importance today.

The truth is this date was a game changer, yet its tremendous impact is undervalued by the public. Partially due to the fact that we have yet to face the full repercussions of this attack, which is a dangerous concept.

What does this mean for future elections when the outcome doesn’t resemble what the minority of Americans wanted? What does this say about the citizens' trust in the honesty and integrity of our elections? What does it say about the condition of our democracy?

Unfortunately, if even answerable, these concerns cannot be addressed until we face another election; hopefully one much more professional; and allow for the regular, smooth transition we have witnessed in the prior presidential elections. Even then, the actions of these extremists have allowed for a solid disruption in the confidence of America’s foundation, allowing for consequential unnecessary skepticism.

The lack of public value is represented by the media’s negative reaction to Vice President Kamala Harris’ statement behind the anniversary of the January 6th insurrection. When describing the incident, she said, “Certain dates echo throughout history, including dates that instantly remind all who have lived through them– where they were and what they were doing when our democracy came under assault. Dates that occupy not only a place on our calendars, but a place in our collective memory. December 7th, 1941. September 11th, 2001. January 6th 2021.”[1] Complaints have been made by critics who are discrediting the comparison of the insurrection to 9/11 and the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Some claim that it doesn’t hold the same historical importance as the other two dates, and that the statement undermines the significance of those days. Those who are outraged by this comparison are missing the point completely.

Firstly, she did not equate the mortality of the three events because it is indisputable that there were far fewer deaths on January 6th. The importance of those events isn’t solely defined by the number of lives lost, but also by the message behind the devastation. Plane crashes and bombings have happened many times throughout history, but it was the personal attack on America that fueled the seriousness of those days. Kamala’s remarks were simply an emotional comparison, calling it an unforgettable moment for Americans, which shouldn’t be discredited by anyone. The only comparison being made between the three occurrences is that they can be remembered vividly due to their disastrous significance to our country. She is not equating the loss of life and devastation in that sense, but rather that she can easily remember the events and feelings of that day, like many can on the stated days.

Secondly, each of those dates were monumental moments that changed our country; moments that had the opportunity to alter our way of life, and January 6th should not be downplayed. American lives were threatened, and in this case, the conflict was actually internal rather than external. This notion is actually more disturbing, as it made enemies out of fellow Americans. It acted as another source of separation of which our country desperately needs the opposite.

This country almost fell apart in front of our very eyes, and yet January 6th has slipped from many people’s minds. Those who title January 6th as an average riot, are oblivious to the absolute turmoil that could’ve erupted from this personal attack. As American citizens, we should not have to fear for our lives nor should we fear about the condition of our democracy, especially in account of a revolt against a fair election.

[1] “Read: Vice President Kamala Harris' Remarks on January 6 Anniversary.” CNN, Cable News Network, 6 Jan. 2022, https://www.cnn.com/2022/01/06/politics/transcript-kamala-harris-january-6-anniversary-speech/index.html.

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