One year later

One year after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the country works to make sense of the riot that challenged democracy


Brent Stirton / Getty Images / TNS

Jacob Anthony Angeli Chansley, known as the QAnon Shaman, amid the U.S. Capitol riot in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021. Allen Hostetter claims he was manipulated into participating in the insurrection by the Yale secret society “Skull and Bones.”

Bri Quast, Staff Writer

Congress members lay on the ground, gas masks covering their faces, while the sound of banging against the door fills the silence in the room. Chamber security stands at the door with their guns drawn, preparing themselves for protestors if they barge in. Outside the safety of the room, masses of people swarm the halls of America’s historic landmark. 

People shout over and over again like a prayer, “Hang Mike Pence,” and in every direction you look, confederate flags and Trump flags blur the halls among the violent crowds that fight ruthlessly against security. Families watched this unfold from their family room televisions on Jan. 6, 2021. 

 On Jan. 6, 2021 thousands of Donald Trump supporters raided the Capitol in spite of their president’s loss in the 2021 election, which they called fraudulent. It has been one year since the Capitol insurrection reigned in darkness over our nation, and the event remains clear in Americans’ minds as it undoubtedly left damaging effects on our democracy. 

 “I know that everyone here will soon be marching over to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard,” Trump told his followers during his “Save America” rally, which was formed as a stand against Joe Biden’s election as president. At a point following he makes a contradicting statement. He added, “if you don’t fight like hell you’re not going to have a country anymore.” 

And fight they did, leaving Americans with a question:  Does Trump hold responsibility for the insurrection riots? Without him, would his followers have taken direct action to attack the Capitol?

Nolan Carlson answers the question saying, “I think Trump’s to blame for the insurrection on the fact that he could’ve called the national guard earlier to stop the riots, and he could’ve rephrased his speech about the election, because his speech incited the rioting.” 

He adds, “He harmed our country by letting his ego get away in the way of his true presidential duties, and how the transition of power should have occurred. I think this led to the further divide of the political parties in the US, and it could have been a hundred percent avoided.”

Alexis Schrawrtz makes a contrasting statement to Carlson’s, believing that the event was to blame on the right wing radical groups, and not on the president himself, saying,

“I feel like the capitol protests made the media focus on just the radical side of one political party, causing Republicans and liberals to separate themselves from each other more. Everyone acted like the radical side of the Republican side spoke for all the Republicans out there. Instead of focusing on how the Capitol was infiltrated, they turned the story into how Donald Trump incited the riot, creating wasted money on an impeachment that was dismissed with lack of evidence. 

Shrawrtz adds, “Donald Trump never called for any rioting — social media twisted his words causing more divide within the country. His followers were obviously upset with his loss, but if Joe Biden lost the election, his followers would be upset too. Everyone’s so focused on who’s right and who’s wrong in this situation, but there’s no one to blame.”

According to a poll conducted by PBS, the percentage of Americans who blame Trump for the riots has grown to 57 percent over the past year. Because of people’s contrasting views on the topic, the left wing and right wing now face extreme polarization from each other. 

Can the two parties come to a  closer understanding of one and other after an event that further separated their beliefs like this? That remains to be seen in the future, some would say in the far future, but despite this event that managed to fracture our country’s democracy, America will continue to persevere as it always has. A day so dark leaves hope for better days for our nation.