Power Over Principles

A year ago on January 6, 2021, history was made in D.C. when Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Today, one year later, members of Congress marked the day with personal remarks from themselves as well as the President. Most Republicans were not there.

In the House, Rep. Liz Cheney and her father, former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, were the only Republicans on the floor. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who normally would have been there, was home with his pregnant wife who is due any day.

Here are some of the articles I read as the day unfolded….

The White House: Remarks by Vice President Harris Marking One Year Since the January 6th Deadly Assault on the U.S. Capitol. “What the extremists who roamed these halls targeted was not only the lives of elected leaders.  What they sought to degrade and destroy was not only a building, hallowed as it is.  What they were assaulting were the institutions, the values, the ideals that generations of Americans have marched, picketed, and shed blood to establish and defend.

“On January 6th, we all saw what our nation would look like if the forces who seek to dismantle our democracy are successful.  The lawlessness, the violence, the chaos. What was at stake then, and now, is the right to have our future decided the way the Constitution prescribes it: by we, the people — all the people.”

-NYT: Opinion | Jimmy Carter: I Fear for Our Democracy. “One year ago, a violent mob, guided by unscrupulous politicians, stormed the Capitol and almost succeeded in preventing the democratic transfer of power. All four of us former presidents condemned their actions and affirmed the legitimacy of the 2020 election. There followed a brief hope that the insurrection would shock the nation into addressing the toxic polarization that threatens our democracy.

“After I left the White House and founded the Carter Center, we worked to promote free, fair and orderly elections across the globe. I led dozens of election observation missions in Africa, Latin America and Asia, starting with Panama in 1989, where I put a simple question to administrators: “Are you honest officials or thieves?” 

-WSJ: Republicans’ Jan. 6 Responsibility: by Karl Rove. “The GOP has a duty to condemn the riot and those who refuse to acknowledge it. … The leaders of this group were intent on committing violence, some having planned to do so for weeks. Many wore tactical gear. Some came armed with chemical agents, flagpoles, batons and sticks. They broke through barricades and assaulted approximately 140 police officers, in some cases with an officer’s own shield or gear. They smashed doors and windows, illegally entered the Capitol, ransacked offices and searched for leaders of Congress, and made dire threats about what would happen if they found them. …

“What if the other side had done it? What if in early January 2017, Democrats similarly attired and armed had stormed the Capitol and attempted to keep Congress from receiving the Electoral College results for the 2016 presidential election? … If Democrats had done what some Trump supporters did on that violent Jan. 6, Republicans would have criticized them mercilessly and been right to do so. Republicans would have torched any high official who encouraged violence or stood mute while it was waged and been right to do so. Republicans would have demanded an investigation to find who was responsible for the violence and been right to do so.”

-CNN: New January 6 video shows three hours of assault on police.

The NYT Magazine: The Capitol Police and the Scars of the January 6th Riot: “For many officers, their bodies, minds and lives will never be the same after the attack.”

Washington Post: Opinion | We survived January 6. Will our democracy? by Rep. Jason Crow and Rep. Susan Wild: Eyewitness accounts from within the Capitol on January 6, 2021. “A year ago, along with dozens of our colleagues, we were trapped in the gallery above the House floor making what we thought could be our final calls to our loved ones.”

WaPost: Opinion | The false prophets who inspired the violence on Jan. 6 by Joe Scarborough. “The sounds of Billy Graham’s crusades would fill my grandmom’s Georgia home in the 1970s. A decade later, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s “PTL Club” would win her loyalty, as well as her monthly tithes. My parents gently tried warning her that the “PTL” stars were scam artists less interested in her spiritual welfare than in her monthly Social Security checks. Even after being treated rudely by Tammy Faye in a chance encounter, Grandmom kept sending money the Bakkers’ way as they built their empire on the backs of working-class Christians. The dreadful pair’s get-rich schemes leveraged Americans’ love of God for cold, hard cash. Looking back on the events of Jan. 6, perhaps we should focus more on the false prophets who inspired the violence of that day than the rioters we still highlight on video loops.”

-The Brookings Brief: A special January 6 edition….

Christianity Today: The Capitol Attack Signaled a Post-Christian Church, Not Merely a Post-Christian Culture by Dr. Russell Moore. “No, I’m not over January 6. A year has passed since the January 6 insurrectionist attack on the United States Capitol, and two images still haunt my mind. One is that of a makeshift gallows constructed to threaten the murder of the vice president of the United States. And the other is that of a sign, held above that angry crowd, that read, ‘Jesus Saves.’ That these two images can coexist in the same mob is a sign of crisis for American evangelicalism.”

NYT: The Next Big Lies: Jan. 6 Was No Big Deal, or a Left-Wing Plot: “How revisionist histories of Jan. 6 picked up where the “stop the steal” campaign left off, warping beliefs about what transpired at the Capitol.”

The Hill: Jan. 6 brings Democrats, Cheneys together — with GOP mostly absent. “… Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), who has emerged over the last year as the face of the Republican resistance to Trump and the leading GOP critic of his role in the attack. Cheney, who had voted to impeach Trump for inciting the siege and is now one of two Republicans on the select committee investigating the attack, was joined on the House floor by her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, who made clear where his loyalties lie.”


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