Capitol Riot Anniversary

Lisa Kogawa ‘23, Editor

An attack on democracy. January 6, 2021. 

Thursday, January 6, 2022, marked the one-year anniversary of the Capitol riot, once denounced by Democrats as “an attack on democracy.” One year ago, supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in a protest against what they believed was an unfair election. In an attempt to disrupt the joint session of Congress that assembled to count electoral votes, a mob of around 2,000 to 5,000 people attacked the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. The violent incident resulted in five deaths and many more injuries. 

Prior to the storming of the Capitol building, President Trump was openly claiming to his supporters that the election was rigged, votes were stolen, and that there was something to be done to alter the results of the election. He said to the crowd earlier that day, “If you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” clearly instigating violence among his supporters. 

Soon after the riot, President Trump was impeached for the second time. However, the Senate acquitted him after the results fell 10 votes short of the necessary two-thirds needed for conviction. One year later, on the Capitol Riot anniversary, President Joe Biden pinpointed the blame of the incident on Donald Trump, saying that Trump was holding “a dagger at the throat of America.” This signified a turning point for President Biden as he previously had tried to avoid direct confrontation with his predecessor. 

Followed by the speeches by Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden, several senators recounted their experiences and memories of what had occurred that chaotic day. Some remember being assaulted verbally based on their race and religion. Others remember having to evacuate quickly while taking the ballot boxes with them, knowing that the rioters would destroy the boxes if given the chance. Commonly shared was the utter disbelief and shock of how such an incident was taking place within the Capitol building, at the heart of American democracy. 

Despite the passage of time, the tension between Republicans and Democrats again presented itself at the anniversary. While most Republicans did not gather on the House floor together, some Republicans managed to establish their presence as some spread more conspiracies regarding the riot. Others like Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina criticized the Democrats for politicizing the anniversary. In fact, the commemoration was described as an attempt to promote partisan policy goals. At the turn of the year, the anniversary had shone some light on how the nation failed to agree on a uniform interpretation of the incident on January 6 and remains divided as ever.