“Please wear a mask!” On January 6, 2021, a congressional policeman shouted on the floor of the House of Representatives. The mob entered the building and the police could not deport them. We were told to put on gas masks and lie on the ground.
In the months following the 2020 election, I suggested to Speaker Nancy Pelosi that we form a team to predict any problems that might arise during the joint meeting of Congress on January 6, and then the electoral votes will be counted. We thought of dozens of possibilities, but there was never this-there was never a violent attack on the transfer of power, this is the first time in the history of the country.
Yelling broke out around me. One of my Democratic colleagues yelled to the Republicans, “It’s because of you!” The answer was equally sharp: “Shut up!” As we prepared for the door to be broken, mutual accusations spread.
“You can’t let them see you,” one of the Republicans told me, apparently worried that I was particularly vulnerable to violence by the insurgents. At first, I was very moved, but then I was very angry: Republican lies about the election caused violence around us. Can’t they see it?
In the hours and days after the riots, the Republican leadership seemed to finally accept the consequences of President Trump’s big lie about large-scale election fraud.
Republican House of Representatives leader Kevin McCarthy said: “The president is responsible for the mob’s attack on Congress on Wednesday.” admitFor his part, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Tell the senate“There is no doubt, there is no doubt that President Trump is actually and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day.”
For a moment, we had the opportunity to turn around during a catastrophic period in our country’s history. We have the opportunity to refute the immoral liars who led our country for four years and to weaponize people’s most terrible fears and anxiety to the extent of violence against our Capitol. We have the opportunity to turn away from the severe flirtation of authoritarianism on one side. We have the opportunity to move forward. Although still fragmented, we are united as a nation and a democracy.
Then, just like that, the opportunity is gone. McCarthy, McConnell, and state and local Republican leaders decided that Donald Trump can really, if not shooting in the middle of the street with impunity, at least inciting violent attacks on our democracy and keeping his base. Support. Lacking the courage to firm up their convictions, only guided by their ambition to regain power, the Republican leadership once again succumbed to the former president.
Republican officials redoubled their emphasis on Trump’s big lie and used it to introduce a new generation of Jim Crow law across the country, with the intention of depriving people of color of their rights. Equally insidious is that they used false accusations of voter fraud to deprive independent election officials of their duties and delegated those duties to the partisan legislature; they drove technocratic local election officials out of the city, often receiving death threats.
The lesson Trump and his supporters seem to learn from their failure to overthrow President Biden’s election seems to be this: if they can’t make Georgia’s Secretary of State “Found” 11,780 votes that did not exist in 2020, They will ensure that someone will hold the position, and someone will hold the position in 2024.
If they can, they will prevent people from voting. If this is unsuccessful, they will prepare for the overthrow of the next election. In our lifetime, the threat to our democracy has never been so severe. We believe that democracy is ruthless. We were wrong.
Democracy does not always die from violent overthrow. More often, they die of shrinking, slow degeneration of institutions, and the use of democratic means to achieve authoritarian goals. This is the model used by the Prime Minister of Hungary-who also wants to be a dictator-Victor Orban to push his country towards autocracy, and it is also the model used by Republican thought leaders such as Fox News. Tucker Carlson, admiration and promotion.
It is not too late to save the precious legacy of our founders-a government owned by the people, governed by the people, and enjoyed by the people. There is no simple legislative solution to our current dilemma. Our best statutory protection is hindered by the senator’s blind loyalty to the old Senate custom of obstructing bills. If the past four years have shown us anything, if the men and women who vowed to uphold it do not live up to their oaths, even the Constitution cannot protect our democracy.
What is needed on the anniversary of January 6 is nothing more than a national awakening and a national movement to save our democracy. We must unite around our local officials — Republicans and Democrats — who put the sanctity of elections first. We must resist and, if necessary, overcome any new barriers to voting. In every upcoming election, we must act as if democracy itself is on the ballot, because it does.
Democrat Adam B. Schiff is a member of the Special Committee of the House of Representatives responsible for investigating January 6day Attack the U.S. Capitol. He represents California’s 28th Congressional District.