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“If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” Donald Trump proclaimed last January 6th.
The defeated former president bellowed these infamous words to the incensed crowd gathered at his behest in Washington, D.C.
Americans watched in horror as a mob charged toward the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to overturn the presidential election. Armed with blunt objects, fueled by lies and emboldened by their president, they swarmed the seat of American democracy.
It’s been one year since the attempted insurrection claimed five lives and shook the core of the nation. Rather than coalesce as a country around never again allowing white nationalists to stage an attempted coup, many politicians have turned to denying the event even happened.
Public officials spread lies about Jan 6th
Two of the individuals peddling such conspiracy theories are Republican Oklahoma US Senate candidates Nathan Dahm and Jackson Lahmeyer.
On January 4th, Dahm tweeted: “January 6th was NOT an insurrection no matter how much the fake news media pushes that narrative the next few days.” Dahm, an Oklahoma state Senator, went on to call those who carried out the attack “political prisoners”.
Jackson Lahmeyer, an Oklahoma pastor who launched his campaign for the US Senate after James Lankford ultimately refused to participate in overturning the election, also took to twitter to deny the attack that killed and injured several police officers.
“The “Insurrection” was not on January 6, 2021 but was on November 3, 2020,” Lahmeyer tweeted, referring to election day. The far-right candidate has built his campaign on perpetuating lies about the 2020 election.
Meanwhile, all five Oklahoma Republican Congressional House members who voted to decertify the election results for Pres. Biden have refused to comment on whether they regret their decision, according to Public Radio Tulsa.
Additionally, Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.), who initially voted to overturn the election, ended up voting to certify Biden’s win after the storming of the Capitol. He went on to apologize to Black voters in Oklahoma, though he refused to comment on the anniversary of the insurrection, according to The Oklahoman.
Concern of future attacks lingers in many Americans’ minds
Ongoing attempts to re-write the history of the Jan 6 attacks illustrate the threat still posed by extremist groups today.
In a congressional hearing shortly after the January 6th attacks, Republican Congressman John Katko of New York addressed these growing concerns.
“Today we sit here just shy of 20 years after 9/11 to examine the increasingly prevalent and troubling threat from violent extremists – not from some distant land, but from here at home,” Katko said. “We can’t play politics with national security.”
The attack on the Capitol, fueled by the lies of twice-impeached former President Donald Trump, could happen again.
In a recent poll, nearly 60% of Americans believe another similar attack is likely to take place in the coming years. That same poll showed more than four in 10 Americans still do not believe Joe Biden won the 2020 election.
Another, more disturbing poll conducted by The Washington Post showed more than a third of Americans believe violence against the US Government is sometimes justified. That same poll showed almost two-thirds of Americans believe future Presidential elections will result in violence.
Biden and Harris address the nation one year after attack
On the one year anniversary of the January 6th attack on the Capitol, Vice President Harris and President Biden addressed the nation. Standing inside statuary hall where attackers breached the building, both leaders called on Americans to unite against extremism and for elected officials to protect voting rights.
Harris said the forces that propelled the attack may be “newly resurgent” but that their “roots run deep”. The Vice President called democracy “fragile” and urged Americans to “defend it”.
“I wonder,” Harris said, “how will January 6th come to be remembered in the years ahead?”
“Will it be remembered as a moment that accelerated the unraveling of the oldest, greatest democracy in the world? Or a moment when we decided to secure and strengthen our democracy for generations to come?”
President Biden called for the same, while also condemning the attempts from former president Trump and others who attempted to upend democracy that day.
“Great nations don’t bury the truth,” the president said, “they face up to it.”
“The former president of the United States of America has created a spread a web of lies about the 2020 election,” Biden told the American people.
“He sees his own interests as more important than America’s interests. And because his bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy and our constitution, he can’t accept he lost.”
Biden blasted Trump and his supporters for working to limit access to the ballot across the country.
“They’ve decided the only way for them to win is to suppress your vote and subvert our elections,” Biden said. “It’s wrong, it’s undemocratic and, frankly, it’s un-American.”
“Let us remember,” Biden said as he closed his remarks, “that we are one nation, under God, indivisible.”
“That, at our best, we are the United States of America.”