With the Jan. 6 Report, Democracy Has a Chance of Survival

America now has the chance to revive its flagging democracy with the release of the final congressional report on the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump. The House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol has determined that, looking to overturn his loss in the 2020 election by dubbing it “illegitimate,” Trump worked to obstruct Congress’ confirmation process and incited his followers to violence. “The central cause of January 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump,” the report stated, as it referred the former president to the Justice Department on four criminal charges.

During the 1 1/2-year-investigation, the committee conducted more than 1,000 interviews that provide an irrefutable conclusion based on facts and evidence. This is massive. What’s most shocking in this report, though, is just how unbelievable Trump’s actions were. While authorities reported that many protesters were armed, Trump still urged them to gather at the Capitol, where Vice President Mike Pence and members of both the House and Senate were all put at risk as Trump stood by for three hours.

Trump told his staff things like, “Nobody will care about my legacy if I lose,” and “The only thing that matters is winning.” That is quite a selfish attitude for a United States president. He did whatever he could to obstruct the transfer of power and hold onto his seat in the Oval Office, a fact that shows the crisis democracy finds itself in more clearly than anything else.

It is now important to investigate the background of this event even further so that something like this can never happen again. White supremacists and other armed extremist groups made up the vanguard of the attack, organizations that the report says need heightened monitoring. It’s outrageous for a president to egg on not just a gathering of radicals, but a band of insurrectionists looking to stage a coup d’état at the center of America’s democracy. There are still many unknowns about these people.

Underpinning all of this is the division in American society. Many who participated have admitted they regret furthering the threat to American democracy. On the other hand, many of the Republican candidates who supported Trump’s claims were elected in last month’s midterm elections. These divides truly run deep. There must be a sustained bipartisan effort to uncover the whole truth about the Capitol attack and prevent it from happening again. Until that becomes a reality, democracy will never get its second wind.

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