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So, what happens now? A response to the violence at the Capitol

Content Warning: Violence, Extremism.

On January 6, as Congress convened in the U.S. Capitol to officially certify the 2020 electoral college results, crowds of pro-Trump insurrectionists invaded the government building, forcing hundreds of congressmen and women to evacuate and shelter in place.

Images of the scene were gruesome, as congressional staff fled for their lives while rioters broke windows, vandalized offices and attacked the Capitol Police force. Nancy Pelosi, who currently serves as Speaker of the House, reported that her young staffers were forced to barricade themselves inside a conference room as armed militants paraded through her office, vandalizing furniture and rummaging through potentially sensitive information. 

The attack left five people dead—three suffered various medical emergencies, one was killed inside the Capitol and another, a Capitol Police officer, was overpowered and beaten by the rioters.

The attack comes after President Trump and prominent members of the GOP falsely claimed that the results of the 2021 election were fraudulent, despite dozens of attempts to find voter fraud having been dismissed in court. The rhetoric used by Trump and his allies directly led Trump supporters to commit acts of domestic terrorism by storming the U.S. Capitol while members were debating and voting on the electoral college certification.

Although President Trump tweeted a video asking his supporters to leave the Capitol Building peacefully, he spent the remainder of the video baselessly re-asserting his fraudulent claims that the election was rigged against him, leading many members of Congress to call for him to be impeached for inciting insurrection. 

Twitter immediately flagged the Tweet, stating, "This claim of election fraud is disputed, and this Tweet can't be replied to, retweeted, or liked due to risk of violence." 

Although members of Congress were temporarily forced to evacuate the House and Senate chambers, the domestic terrorists did not accomplish their goal of stopping the electoral vote count, as the election results were certified the same night the insurrectionists attacked the Capitol.

The Aftermath

Much has happened in the days following the heinous attack on our nation's Capitol. Prominent members of the Trump Administration have resigned in protest, including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, to name a few. Multiple members of Congress have also called on Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) to resign for their part in pushing the conspiracy theory that led to the storming of the Capitol. Both members have maintained their innocence, claiming they had no part in spurring the siege.

On January 8, Twitter permanently suspended President Trump's Twitter account "due to the risk of further incitement of violence," according to @TwitterSafety on Twitter. Trump's campaign account has also been suspended, and with his favorite form of communication taken away, the public has barely heard from the President in days. 

The FBI announced that over 100 arrests have been made in connection with the mob that stormed the Capitol. They have taken to social media to ask for help identifying individuals who were inside the building during the attack.

The most notable event spurred by the insurrection, however, was that President Trump was impeached for the second time on January 13, making him the first President in history to be impeached twice. 10 Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the President to be impeached, making it the most bipartisan impeachment vote ever.

In a statement, Liz Cheney, the highest-ranking Republican to publicly back impeachment, stated that "The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President." 

So, where do we go from here?

There is no doubt that January 6 will forever be remembered as one of the lowest days in the history of the United States. The insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol did not only vandalize a federal building, but they desecrated the seat of our nation’s government by promoting hate symbols, chanting despicable threats and trying to use force to change the results of a free and fair election.

The big question now seems to be, "Where do we go from here?" which many people have pondered, yet few have been able to adequately answer. 

Michelle Obama, ever so eloquent, answered this question in a statement, which she released following the attack. "The work of putting America back together, of truly repairing what is broken, isn’t the work of any individual politician or political party. It’s up to each of us to do our part. To reach out. To listen. To hold tight to the truth and values that have always led this country forward. It will be an uncomfortable, sometimes painful process. But if we enter into it with an honest and unwavering love of our country, then maybe we can finally start to heal.”

If you are struggling, reach out to the people you trust in your life.

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by Claire Hutto | 1/18/2021
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