Today is the anniversary that nobody should ever have to remember. Just one year ago today, America’s two-hundred-year-old tradition of peaceful elections came to an end under the deluded auspices of the so-called “Stop The Steal” movement. This movement, promoted and maintained by the Trump administration, would storm the Capitol and lead to the deaths of several people and injuring several others. That story must be told, and as we look back on the state of our nation and what happened on that historic day, Americans must be ready to fight to keep that story in the public eye lest we forget how close we were to losing our democracy.
After the attack on our Capitol, Republican pundits and radio hosts wasted no time spinning the story and had no problem looking for someone else to blame. Rush Limbaugh, the late guru of right-wing radio, tried to create a false equivalence between Black Lives Matter protests and the attempted overthrow of a historic election. It would not be the first time he downplayed the severity of that day.
So you can set fire to a downtown strip of any blue-state city—Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, New York—and it’s called a peaceful protest. But you dare not set foot where the political class lives and works and does its job.Rush Limbaugh, January 7th, 2021.
Others soon followed in his footsteps, making all manner of claims to absolve themselves or their voters of responsibility for the attack, seemingly forgetting that they were on the chopping block along with their Democratic colleagues. Congressman Andrew Clyde went so far as to pretend that the attack wasn’t violent at all. Indeed, Clyde argued that “If you didn’t know the footage was from January 6, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit…” This, of course, ignores the violence that injured 140 police officers and saw others like Officer Mike Fanone traumatized by the brutality that rioters enacted upon them while they were defending the Capitol.
In his letter to Congress, Officer Fanone explained how the attack has scarred him, forcing him to live as though he was still there.
“I struggle daily with the emotional anxiety of having survived such a traumatic event but I also struggle with the anxiety of hearing those who continue to downplay the events of that day and those who would ignore them altogether with their lack of acknowledgement.”Officer Mike Fanone to Congress, May 2021.
Fanone himself would later collapse into unconsciousness after suffering multiple injuries at the hands of insurrectionists.
This attempt to erase the insurrection is far from unexpected. If anything, it would be inane to expect anything else from the current Republican Party. Republicans, both in Congress and in media, all have reasons to be afraid of the committee investigating January 6th, as many of them helped to perpetuate the lie that the election was stolen. In the case of Sean Hannity, text messages now held by the select committee show that he was seemingly encouraging Trump to pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election despite having no authority to do so. It is perhaps unsurprising that the committee wants to talk to Hannity, and would it be surprising if Hannity attempted to twist the narrative surrounding the investigation.
Hannity is not the only one who is getting heat over January 6th. Mike Lindel, the famed CEO of MyPillow and infamous conspiracy theorist, has reportedly had his phone records subpoenaed. The so-called terrorism expert and former Deputy Assistant to Donald Trump, Sebastian Gorka, has also had his phone records subpoenaed. Gorka was allegedly supposed to attend a protest at the Supreme Court, which was later called off after the attack began. In response, Gorka has sued, arguing that the investigation was an attack on the country and his journalistic integrity.
“The toxic forces rending this country apart will only be strengthened, and the goal of more tranquil times will be more elusive, if any party holding a majority of seats in the House of Representatives can hunt down and persecute citizens, including journalists, because of their political sympathies and speech in an effort to silence that speech,”Sebastian Gorka, 2022.
Other Trump supporters have tried to avoid testifying and have found themselves indicted, was the case with former Trump advisor, Steve Bannon, who attempted to defy the committee’s subpoena. He now faces charges of criminal contempt.
It is important to recognize that this obstruction is directly tied to the Republican Party’s need to support and maintain a clean image of Donald Trump. As I noted yesterday, this opposition constitutes nothing less than a wholesale abuse of the American people’s dignity and the right to know why our republic was threatened. The need to preserve and protect the truth about what happened on January 6th is diametrically opposed to the GOP’s self-interest.
It’s why Ben Shapiro ridicules President Biden for stating the obvious about the attack on January 6th.
It is why Republicans will try to do everything in their power to pretend like this wasn’t a historic moment that merits serious and careful investigation. Their interest is directly and completely oppositional to the well-being of our republic, and if they get their way, we will all suffer for it.