All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser.
January 6th was last week, and the media (especially cable TV) had what the New York Times described as “saturation coverage of the anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection.” Most newspapers ran front-page articles marking that anniversary, going over not onlywhat happened at the U.S. Capitol that day but also what we as a nation have and have not learned in the intervening year. Here are some thoughts worth considering.
First, many facts have been established about that day and the weeks that led up to it. Examples: A small percentage of the crowd assembled outside the White House and the Capitol Building stormed that building and broke in, but many of those who did so had planned ahead and wore riot gear, carried weapons from home,or used make-shift weapons against the Capitol Police. Those who did so were genuine insurrectionists and posed a genuine threat to the Vice President and to members of Congress. The violence was not a “false flag” operation planned and instigated by Antifa or by the FBI; those participating who were asked about their motivations generally stated that they were carrying out what they thought to be the direction of President Trump. Their goal was to force Congress and Vice President Pence to ignore the election results already certified by the Electoral College in several states, and to send those states’ votes back to their legislatures for reconsideration. There were numerous investigations and court cases alleging voter fraud or election miscounting; in every one of those investigations and cases, allegations about a stolen electionwere proven false.
Second, many Americans continue to believe some of those falsehoods. Polling indicates that among Republican voters, 70 percent still believe President Trump’s misrepresentation of the election as being stolen and 59 percent say that accepting this “Big Lie” is an important part of being a candidate for office whom they can support. Virtually zero Democrats polled believe any of that. Since Republicans make up only about half of the electorate, the above figures really mean that only 35 percent of American voters believe that the 2020 election was stolen; putting that another way, fully 65 percent of Americans realize that President Biden was honestly elected and that the motivation for the January 6thInsurrection was based on the Big Lie repeated time and again – and repeated still – by former President Trump.
Every member of our military and most of our First Responders take a solemn oath “to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” People should, and do, change their minds as more information comes to light and emotional political stances are tempered by the passage of time. In this election year 2022, we should all work toward supporting the most fundamental of national issues: that we are blessed to live in a democracy in which the will of the people – all of the people, expressed in open elections that invite the participation of all eligible voters – prevails in the long run. Those of us in that 65 percent may not agree on every or even on most political issues, but let us resolve to welcome the other 35 percent as they, too, recommit to the Constitution that has served us well for 235 years.