By Bob Gaydos
The scenes are still vivid. The memory is fresh. A year, passed disturbingly quickly, has not dimmed the shock nor diminished the sadness of witnessing the most direct assault on American democracy since the Civil War. A violent, deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overthrow a certified, fair election.
January 6, 2021 is now a date for Americans to remember alongside Dec 7, 1941 and Sept. 11, 2001. The storming of the Capitol is an event to place alongside the firing on Fort Sumter.
That's how I feel a year later and I am troubled that too many Americans, perhaps preoccupied by trying merely to survive and function in the middle of a pandemic, do not see the insurrection and its aftermath for what it was - an attempted coup to keep Donald Trump in the White House.
I know. Those things don't happen in America. Not in the land of liberty, the leader of the Free World, the beacon of hope and opportunity where all are welcome.
Once upon a time ...
The election of Trump to the presidency and the total acquiescence of the Republican Party to his program of greed, deceit, threat, ignorance, bullying and total disrespect for the rule of law simply in order to maintain power have rewritten the story line. Or at least they've submitted an alternative plot line an adaptation of Orwell that goes: "Welcome to America, where all men (not women) are equal, but some are more equal than others."
So my hopes this Jan. 6 lie with those public servants in Congress (including a couple of courageous Republicans) who have been investigating the insurrection and preparing to give the American people a full report of who knew what and when they knew it, who did what and when they did it and, mostly, how we hold them accountable. My hopes also lie with the thus-far sluggish Justice Department of Merrick Garland in following through on any and all evidence of criminal behavior uncovered by the House Jan. 6 committee.
There is urgency to this because congressional midterm elections happen this year and, if Democrats lose control of the House, Republicans, fearful of Trump and devoid of any sense of duty to country, will probably disband the committee. They may even try to impeach President Joe Biden out of spite. Such is the state of that party and, from their overwhelming silence, local rank-and-file Republicans seem just fine with it.
This means the rest of us, a solid majority of Americans, must insist on a full, public report by the committee and pressure members of Congress of whatever political party to honor the process.
Finally, we must encourage historians and educators to present the events of Jan. 6, 2021, in a full and honest manner. Since they were televised, only the brainwashed will deny them, but this is key for our "Once upon a time" to not become a fairy tale.
Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at zestoforange.com.
(Article changed on Jan 07, 2022 at 12:50 PM EST)