The January 6th riot was a protest to the certification of the 2020 election results and caused lots of damage to the physical Capitol building as well as the damage to the ideas of American democracy. A bicameral committee to investigate the riot was struck down but a House Committee was established. This Committee, while helpful in linking together events that led to the riot, is flawed and lacks representation as well as comprehensive communication with the public.
The 2020 election was deemed historic for many distinct reasons, the most notable being the reaction of the supporters of Donald Trump to the certification of the election results. The rioters stormed the Capitol Building and caused damage to many of the historic artifacts and personal belongings of Capitol workers. They were unhappy with the election of President Joe Biden and had been in attendance of a “Save America” rally held by Trump prior to storming the capitol. Former President Donald Trump was assumed by many people to be the instigator of this riot as he said to his supporters in his speech that they were going to walk down to the Capitol and give the weak republicans the boldness needed to save the country. This riot, although unsuccessful in its original goal of overturning the results of the election, was successful in showing the erosion of the American democracy.
The response to the riot was greatly dependent on the voting of Congress and their ability to confirm a committee to investigate the events of it. It was also dependent on their ability to be bipartisan lawmakers and look past the politics of the situation to benefit the health of the democracy. Ultimately a bicameral investigation committee would pinpoint the reasoning behind the attacks and put the people who were responsible in a court of law. Only a committee in the House of Representatives was established due to the filibuster of Republicans in the Senate. The lack of a bicameral committee caused the investigation to be delayed and the health of democracy to be put on hold.
When the House Committee on the January 6th Attack was formed in July of 2021 there was a lack of representation across the country. Many of the representatives are democrats- three of which are California natives- while only two of the representatives on the Committee are Republicans. This lack of representation doesn’t give all the citizens the opportunity to have their voices heard on this very important matter. Decreased representation has been an important indication of the erosion of the American democracy.
This Committee needed to go through with their investigation in a way that took all Americans ideas and safety into account. Many people on both sides of the aisle were in a position where they had begun to question the legitimacy of American politics and feel deep distrust of people who have differing opinions from them. The investigation committee needed to work together as one group to discover the reason the government was threatened on that day in 2021 and they have so far failed to do that. Most people have seen the headlines every once and a while but no longer take the time to read and pay attention to the problem because they are not interested in it. If the investigation had been completed in a comprehensive manor with people who were representative of a greater portion of citizens, people would have been more supportive of it.
One issue many people have with the way the committee has been conducting its investigation is the lack of transparency with the public. Although it is assumed that there will be things that cannot be publicized in every investigation, there should be a greater degree of transparency because this happened in a federal government building. The taxpayers of the United States are responsible for the funds needed to upkeep the Capitol building and should be updated on the state of its protection. There have been over 300 witnesses interviewed by the committee and over 35,000 pages of documents subpoenaed but not all this information is relayed to the public. The publication of more of the investigation would create a greater sense of importance of the investigation. It would also let people make their own decisions about the riot and who is to blame for it, instead of only showing the results in the frame of the members of the committee. Citizens feel that they are no longer a part of the investigation of the safety and security of their democracy.
The lack of comprehensive publication of information found in the investigation and lack of representation in the committee has caused many people to feel disconnected from the investigation that directly impacts the security of the federal government. The January 6th riot caused many citizens to feel uneasy about the future of the American government and the stability of democracy. The response by Congress to the riot has not helped ease the tensions but has in fact caused more fears to arise. The American people want answers to the riot and why it occurred, and the government is failing them.
Hey Leslie! This is a really interesting post concerning the riots that occurred on January 6th and the question of the federal government. For me, I think that the lack of representation certainly could mark the erosion of democracy, however the house representatives are voted in and I’m wondering if this is alluding to the question of free and fair elections in America? Or simply just the formation of committees being a majority democrat? I do agree that Congress could/should have been more open with citizens to allow them to be able to feel like their democracy isn’t failing them.
Leslie, I really appreciate the way you outlined Congress’ processes in response to the January 6th riot and the details that accompany that. I wonder if the disconnect between the legislature and citizens due to lack of transparency can be attributed to educed checks and balances between the legislative and executive branches. I also think it would be worth noting how Donald Trump, during his term, used authoritarian tactics such as undermining opposition and not them granting legitimacy in their electoral win. How does this contribute to the causes of the riot, as well as the government’s response?