A Year After the Capitol Riot, Where Is the U.S. Headed?

A Year After the Capitol Riot, Where Is the U.S. Headed?

The story of Trump’s lack of action after rioters broke into the building and shots were fired is one thing; but the bigger-picture story is just how premeditated and organized this all was — and how close the rioters came to pulling off a coup. Other explosive materials handed over by Meadows include a PowerPoint presentation sent to him that recommended Trump declare a national emergency in order to stay in power.

Says Rep. Jayapal, the new evidence “tell[s] us exactly what we suspected [all] along.” But a year later, she notes, there are “even Republican members of Congress who today act like these were tourists and not insurrectionists — [and] they were running scared that day. They were begging for protection from Capitol Police. Yet they refused to honor Capitol Police there[after], refused to accept that it was real.” 

In June, 21 House Republicans voted against awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to Capitol Police who responded to the January 6 attack, over 100 of whom were injured during the riot. At least four officers who responded to the riot have since died by suicide, in addition to an officer who who died on January 7 after being attacked by insurrectionists.

What can explain such behavior from congressional Republicans? “We have one party that’s a pro-democracy party, and that’s the Democrats,” Jayapal tells Teen Vogue. “And then we have one party that is the party of ‘the big lie,’ and a cult, and that is the Republicans.”

Evidence for the “cult/denial of reality” column: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) — known to many as the “QAnon Congresswoman” — said she voted against honoring Capitol Police officers because she disagreed with language used in the resolution. “I wouldn’t call it an insurrection,” she said. (Earlier this week, Greene was permanently suspended by Twitter for repeatedly tweeting COVID-19 disinformation.)

Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) is another first-term member of Congress, also sworn in just days before the riot, whose first piece of proposed legislation seeks to address it. When introducing the COUP Act (Congressional Oversight of Unjust Policing), Bowman connected the dots between the attack on the Capitol and “systemic failures” by police and Capitol security, including “the growth of far-right ideologies within the ranks of federal law enforcement.”

In a December phone interview with Teen Vogue, Bowman says there is an urgent need to communicate plainly with the American public. “We need to really be very clear that our democracy is hanging by a thread, and there are fascist elected officials and others with a fascist ideology who are seeking to take control of the government, and then dictate aspects of our lives in a way that our democracy will no longer exist,” Bowman explains. “There’s a lot of conflict between Republicans and Democrats, and capitalists and socialists, and moderates and progressives, but the real fight is [between] those who believe in fascism versus those who believe in democracy. And Trump and the Republican Party right now are the party of fascists.”



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