January 6, 2021, An Insurrection1/31/22
On January 6, 2022, Congress would remember what happened on that day one year ago. The members sought to pay respect and say thank you to the Capitol Police, the District of Columbia police, and others who defended the United States Capitol. They spoke of all who faced injury and death from the angry mob that threatened them and took over our Capitol that day - the members of Congress, their staff, and all the members of law enforcement. One particularly touching part of this remembrance for me was the moment of silence taken to honor those police, the ones that lost their lives, the ones that were injured and the ones who had put themselves in harms way to defend the Capitol and Congress.
Strangely, with the exception of Liz Cheney, a Republican from Wyoming, and her father, former Vice President, Dick Cheney, the only members of Congress so honoring those police were Democratic lawmakers. Adam Kinzinger, Republican from Illinois, expressed regret that he was unable to attend due to another commitment. The Republican leadership and Republican party members largely boycotted that memorial service. Why were they not there to honor the people that saved their lives, saved our democracy that day and defended the Constitution?
This was not political. It was a moment of respect and decency, and the right thing to do. I suppose the answer is that the Republicans saw that as a political moment. Apparently, they were afraid to do the right thing in fear of the current Republican leadership. Or perhaps they were reluctant to look like they were doing their jobs. If indeed this is who the Republicans are then we all must plan for the possibility that the insurrection and coup attempt that took place on January 6, 2021 could happen again.
Make no mistake that what happened that day was the textbook description of an insurrection inspired by the former president, supported by those who served the former president, and carried out by groups now identified as our greatest source of domestic terrorism, like the Oath Keepers and others
who believe the Big Lie - that the election of President Biden was somehow invalid. It was not.
An insurrection is defined in our Constitution as “a rising or rebellion of citizens against their government, usually manifested by acts of violence”. Make no mistake, that is precisely what happened on that fateful day; and those who carried it out, including our former president, are likely to do it again to gain and keep power.
As Abraham Lincoln warned us in 1838: “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”
Those powerful thoughts bring us to our present day. Should we now be most afraid of losing our democracy and losing the governing power of our Constitution? Can the former president and his supporters mount an insurrection and coup that succeeds and leaves us powerless to be a democracy?
We all must think hard and long about that possibility and work tirelessly to prevent it. This is not politics as usual; and we cannot continue to support the Republicans who wish take power by suppressing voter rights, continuing to spread lies about election fraud and refusing to accept the job of governing, instead dealing only in obstruction at any cost.
Larry F. Pifer is a Tilghman resident and board member of the Talbot County Democratic Forum