The following was written in response to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, 2021.
By Richard Murdocco
The storming of the U.S. Capitol Building was a treasonous and disgraceful act, and those who both encouraged and participated in the insurrection should be punished to the fullest extent that the law allows.
The act was not merely symbolic – Five lay dead in riot’s wake, including a veteran Capitol Police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher by the far-right mob. Both at home and abroad, Americans and our allies watched in horror as our enemies laughed at the chaotic display in our halls of power. As additional details of the day’s events continue to emerge, it is clear that we are lucky that the riot didn’t shed even more blood.
As the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial board wrote the day after, the seditious actions were an “assault on the constitutional process of transferring power after an election. It was also an assault on the legislature from an executive sworn to uphold the laws of the United States.”
The insurrection serves as a chilling wake-up call concerning the dangers of sustained seditious rhetoric, the propagation of selfish lies by our elected leaders, and the undermining of democratic ideals.
With President Trump becoming the first in history to be impeached twice on January 13th, the House of Representatives sent a firm bipartisan message to those who strive to hold the office in the future – actions have consequences. The task of conviction now falls to the Senate, and will be debated in the coming early days of the new Biden administration.
Unfortunately, the cancers of intolerance and the demonization of the “other” that we’ve seen take firm hold in our national politics has trickled down to the local level as well.
Debates about local policy decisions that are as mundane as zoning and the installation of sewers have become more rancorous in recent years, with the echo chambers found throughout social media channels amplifying the temperature of rhetoric.
The Foggiest Idea was founded upon the ideals of encouraging constructive civic participation in government at the local, state, and federal level, as well as holding these entities accountable for their actions through sustained public awareness and education. As founder of this site, I routinely engage in the policymaking process and witness both the fruits and frustrations of these efforts.
Riots and unnecessary violence are never the answer, and recent events now demonstrate that it’s time to collectively return to a more civil discourse.
In the study of policy, a focusing event serves as a collective trigger that galvanizes the public and their elected officials to take necessary and decisive actions.
What was witnessed on January 6th was the collective breakdown of our democratic ideals – and with that, an alarming culmination to the divisive politics that have been practiced in recent years.
With threats of future violence ominously looming on the horizon, our current path is unsustainable. As a nation, now is the time to take decisive action against those who threaten the peace and begin the long process of bridging our supposed differences.