By Alex Berkman
From Kobe’s death to the Coronavirus pandemic to the riots sparked by George Floyd’s death, 2020 delivered blow after blow. Therefore, when the clock struck 12:00 on New Year’s Eve, people really were more relieved than anything else. We made it; we survived 2020! And I have to say, it looked like things were finally looking up. The COVID-19 vaccine was being distributed at a record pace, and much of the controversy surrounding the 2020 election was coming to end. So yeah, things were going well … for about five days.
On January 6th, 2021, congressmen and women gathered in the United States Capitol Building. Little did they know, at the same time, a menacing army marched through Washington. And in a flash, at a speed rivaling the German blitzkrieg, the invading army stormed their way through D.C.’s weak line of defense. They laid siege to the Capitol building, and soon after, forcefully made their way inside. They pillaged and plundered, breaking windows, flaunting their flag, and even laying claim to the offices of American politicians. Meanwhile, the U.S. Representatives remained in hiding, fearing for their lives. The Capitol had fallen.
If you somehow weren’t following the news recently, from that description, you may be wondering if America is in the midst of war. Or, maybe you thought I was describing a scene out of a movie. But you’d actually be very mistaken. That army I was talking about, the invaders seeking to burn our nation’s capital- those were, unfortunately, Americans.
Notably, Trump’s administration has spent the last couple months pushing to invalidate the results of the election in key battleground states. Despite lacking evidence to support their far-fetched allegations, Trump’s team continued to perpetuate claims of widespread voter fraud. However, after lawsuit following lawsuit was dropped, Trump’s chances of overturning the election seemed to be running out. Still, many Republicans maintained hope that their President would pull off a miracle, and so they circled “January 6, 2021” on their calendars. On this date, U.S. congressmen and women would count and confirm the electoral vote, solidifying Joe Biden’s victory over the President. Also on this date, Trump supporters from around the nation would make their final effort to reverse the result of the presidential election.
For weeks, Trump urged his followers to come to Washington on January 6 for a “Save America March.” As he put it, “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators and Congressmen and women.” Appearing at what could be his last rally as acting President, the President also demanded his supporters “fight much harder” and “show strength” at the Capitol. Additionally, Trump hinted that the Vice President would be in danger if Pence went forward with the standard election procedures. According to the President, “I just spoke to Mike. I said: ‘Mike, that doesn’t take courage. What takes courage is to do nothing. That takes courage” (The Washington Post). And finally, he told protestors that “if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” Was Trump’s behavior at the rally the sole cause of the violence that broke out? Of course not. Wednesday’s events were simply a byproduct of years of hostility between Democrats and Republicans. So therefore, it does make you wonder, “Was what happened at the Capitol inevitable?”
Even more concerning, the events of January 6 revealed a prevailing evil looming within our nation. Flags, signs, and symbols of racist, white supremacist and extremist groups were displayed along with Trump 2020 banners. One image circulating social media featured a man wearing a shirt labeled “6MWE.” If you are wondering what this slogan means, it stands for “Six Million Wasn’t Enough.” We all recognize that this disgusting behavior simply has no place in our society. And to be honest, it’s sickening to know these people are fellow Americans. But let me emphasize, these beliefs represent the interests of just a select few individuals and in no way represents the ideals of the Republican party.
In all likelihood, January 6, 2021 will go down as one of the most infamous days in U.S. history, and deservingly so. It was just the second time the Capitol had been breached and the first since the War of 1812. Let me repeat myself … the only other time was during a WAR! Perhaps, the 2020 gods aren’t done with their torturing. Maybe the entire 2020s will be cursed! Hopefully President elect Biden will turn it around. But what I will say is this: we’ve officially hit rock bottom. And do you know what that means? The only way to go is up.