Significance

WSS reporter Paige Albright '23 shares her opinion on the Capitol attack and the future of the United States.

February 8, 2021

The actions taken by those at the Capitol have left the nation astonished and divided. As a result of the attack, a series of firsts in our nation’s history have occurred: the first time the Capitol has been attacked or breached since the 1800s; the first time a confederate flag has been flown on Capitol Hill, a clear showing of support of white supremacy by the attackers. Most of the responses by figures in places of power and influence have been to condemn the actions at the Capitol. However, the refusal to denounce the message of the attackers by some key politicians has severely damaged the integrity of the Republican party in many moderates’ eyes. The Hill reports that tens of thousands of Republicans are changing their registration from Republican to Independent. The actions at the Capitol have highlighted the division in our nation and exposed the damage that must be repaired to move forward. 

Although the attack has left many in disbelief, the rhetoric that has been spread on far-right platforms, and by many Republican leaders, the attack was honestly sadly predictable. As the group of “Trumpian” Republicans have grown increasingly angry with the government, and it’s supposed corruption by left wing politicians and lobbyists. They gathered in Washington D.C. to protest the outcome of the election in a  “Rally to Save America,” when in reality what they would do shattered our country even more. The rally turned into an attack within hours, with legislatures, press and others fearing for their lives as the attackers breached the congressional building. As citizens all across America and the globe, watched as something they never thought would happen unfolded at our capitol. Former President Trump had just delivered a speech which had only further fanned the flames of the mod. “Fight much harder,” and “Very different rules apply to you,” are both statements of his speech. Many protesters claimed the former president was planning on joining the attack. The fallout from Jan. 6th has been swift and catastrophic.  

The immediate effects of the insurrection caused more than seventy cabinet members to resign, many stating that they could no longer ignore Former president’s Trump’s attack on their safety and democracy. All the while the Republican party has grown more fractured, many Republicans who denounce the actions are receiving threats from the Trumpian Republicans, like former Vice-President Pence. The crowd could be heard yelling “hang Mike Pence,” as they were enraged with his certification of the ballots declaring Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 election. This niche group of Republicans has caused tens of thousands of more moderate Republicans to switch their party affiliation. Swing states are reporting up to 10,000 Republicans switching, this could affect elections big and small in our nation for generations. 

Long term effects of the events from the capitol could lead to a reshaping of the Republican party we see today. As leaders think the party is fractured beyond repair, we could see a possible emergence of a reborn party or a drastic shift in leadership of the existing party. As those who participated in the attacks are being arrested, Former President Trump is facing a legal battle of his own. If found guilty at his second impeachment trial, his ability to run again could be stripped. Jan. 6th will forever be remembered in America, now we must work to repair the damage the attack left behind.

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