One Year Ago: Chaos in Washington, D.C.

We will forever remember January 6, 2021, but for the wrong reasons. On this date, some Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. Multiple people died during the insurrection. Jose Luis Magana / AP.

In the midst of the pandemic, the year started on a wrong foot with the Capitol insurrection. That day, Trump supporters gathered in the nation’s capital to listen to some speeches and protest against the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. It quickly degenerated.

Witnessing events as they were happening, it is mind-boggling that people are still trying to wrap their heads around Trump’s involvement in the January assault on democracy. It is easy to come to the conclusion that he was the main protagonist who incited the deadly riots.

As a reminder, Trump closed his speech on this day by saying: “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.” He was then pushing for his vice-president, Mike Pence, to overturn the results of the election, which he didn’t do.

If this isn’t an incitement to violence, well I don’t know what it is.

Everyone was in front of their screens as we were watching the US democracy slip from the Americans hands. Democracy finally won over tyranny and violence, but it was a close call. This is why it is important that we do everything in our power in order to avoid something like this from ever happening again. All hands need to be on deck to not let Trump get another mandate in the oval office.

As of now, as we head into the next republican party primary process, everything seems to be indicating that Trump is the preferred contender to take the role of leader once more.

On January 6, protesters were there to show how the election was stolen from President Trump, in what was called the “stop the steal” rally. These accusations were as a matter of fact never proven; the election was fair and legitimate. The rioters were thriving on misinformation. A somewhat discouraging finding is that the republicans are still using misinformation to assemble their argumentation. That misinformation was repeated nonstop by Trump and his inner circle. It remains the norm even though Trump is now banned from Twitter following what he said on the social media platform in the days following the insurrection. These lies were also repeated by right-wing news organizations, like Fox News and Breitbart.

Some of the protesters entered the US Capitol in order to stop the certification of the 2020 American presidential election by members of Congress, two months following the day of the election.

A lot of rioters were affiliated with extreme right-wing organizations, including members of the Proud Boys and QAnon. They believe in conspiracy theories, including that the earth is flat and that the COVID-19 vaccines are microchips injected in the arms of Americans.

That day will have a place in history books as the moment when a mob of thugs and republican supporters stormed the Capitol in a coup d’état attempt (just like what is done in unstable countries that constantly flirt with dictatorship). Usually, a coup d’état attempt is common in states where there is no separation of powers, where corruption dictates public policy or where the army has a big role in the decision processes. It wasn’t even imaginable in the US before Trump entered politics. From this moment, we witnessed polarization and misinformation like never before in the country’s modern history.

For hours, rioters took over the US Capitol. The building was cleared as of 8PM- and lawmakers were then able to continue their crucial democratic work.

In coming months, we will continue to follow the investigation of the House committee on the January 6 failed putsch. Let’s remain clear- it won’t do much if it doesn’t bring Trump and his collaborators, including Bannon and Giuliani, at the forefront of the chaos that happened on this day. Just a few days ago, Trump decided to go to the Supreme Court (which is now composed of a majority of republican judges) and lobby to block the release of White House documents to the committee. A clear obstruction of the justice system. Trump sure doesn’t want the public to know what was said in the oval office days leading to January 6 and on the day of.

The only thing that could end the investigation is if the Republican Party regains control of the House in the November mid-term. That would definitely put an end to the House committee investigation.

It will also be interesting to see if republican senators and representatives continue to support Trump after the last reports of the committee, even though he isn’t in politics at the moment. Most believe that they will give him all the positive attention in order to not be silenced by their own party, like it was the case of Liz Cheney. The Republican Party has sadly become the party of one individual, unless another candidate can act as an obstacle to the triumph of the ex-president.



Olivier Pilon

Graduated with a masters degree in politics from the University of Quebec in Montreal. Human rights, LGBT issues, sports and music. Twitter: @OlivierPilon