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Insurrection on the Capitol: January 6, 2021

January 6, 2021

Donald Trump lost the 2020 election on Nov. 3, 2020. Although some 74.2 million voters voted for him, 81.2 voted for Biden, a difference of over 7.0 million. Then, Biden won 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. Despite those facts, Donald Trump vowed he would never concede.

Instead of acting as a gracious political contender who had lost an election, he acted otherwise.

Trump claimed that the election was stolen, that ineligible voters had mailed in ballots. He rallied his supporters with, “Stop the Steal!” and “This election was rigged!” He tried to throw out the votes and overturn the results, even begging an election official in Georgia to “find him the votes.”

Yet, Attorney General William Barr and officials in each of the 50 states found no evidence to support Trump’s claims. Attorney’s who brought to court accusations of voter fraud or of possible irregularities failed to produce a scintilla of evidence to support the allegations.

On Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, a joint session of Congress met to count electoral votes that would verify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. At the same time, Donald Trump spoke at a “Save America” rally on the Ellipse, the park south of the White House, west of the Capitol.

Thousands arrived to hear the President speak, to cheer him on, to nod in agreement to his baseless claims that he had won the election, and to insist that Congress overturn the 2020 election and give it to Trump. Near noon, he began his speech.

“We won in a landslide. This was a landslide. They said it’s not American to challenge the election. This is the most corrupt election in the history, maybe of the world.” “This is not just a matter of domestic politics. This is a matter of national security.”

“With your help over the last four years, we built the greatest political movement in the history of our country, and nobody ever challenges that.” “We must stop the steal, and then we must ensure that such outrageous election fraud never happens again, can never be allowed to happen again.”

“Together, we will drain the Washington swamp, and we will clean up the corruption on our nation’s capital.” “And we fight. We fight. And if you don’t fight, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”

Near his closing, he said, “So we’re going to, we’re going to walk down Pennsylvania Avenue. I love Pennsylvania Avenue. And we’re going to the Capitol, and we’re going to try and give.”

Yet, he did not walk beside the crowd. Instead, he rode back to the White House, where he turned on a television and watched as the crowd of thousands—by then an angry mob—stormed into the Capitol, shouting “Hang Mike Pence!” This was an insurrection and a direct attack on democracy.

Because of that mob’s attack on the Capitol, five people lost their lives.

A Capitol Police officer shot and killed Ashli Babbitt, as she climbed through a broken window. Roseanne Boyland was crushed to death by her fellow rioters. A rioter named Kevin Greeson suffered a heart attack and died, and a rioter named Benjamin Philips suffered a stroke, and he also died.

Also, the rioters overpowered and beat a Capitol Police officer named Brian Sicknick, who suffered a severe gash to his head. Carried away to receive medical care, he nonetheless suffered two strokes the next day, and at the age of 42, he passed away, the most tragic outcome of this provoked melee.

People in a crowd will do and say things that they would hesitate to do or say when alone.

Days later, after the riot, the House impeached Donald Trump for “incitement of insurrection.” On Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021, the Senate voted 57 to 43 to convict Donald Trump, less than the two-thirds needed to convict, but by then he was no longer President.

Mitch McConnell spoke for 20 minutes to his fellow Senators on Saturday after the vote and said, “Former President Trump’s actions that preceded the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty.”

“The riot was unsurprising given the lies that Trump had fed to his supporters about the election being stolen.” He was “practically and morally responsible” for the insurrection.

“This was an intensifying crescendo of conspiracy theories orchestrated by an outgoing president who seemed determined to either overturn the voters’ decision or else torch our institutions on the way out.” This vote “does not condone anything that happened.”

Democracy is not a right. It is tenuous, here today and gone tomorrow. It demands protection, and the voters’ allegiance, plus a willingness to respect and obey laws, and to step aside when voters insist.

Yet, certain officials—those who thirst for power and then work to grip it forever once they have it—rely upon timeless tricks. For example, they can declare a national emergency, discard an election’s results, shove aside their opponents, and proclaim themselves all powerful.

May it not ever happen in America anytime soon.