The Jan. 6 Hearings Is Not Just About the Past, But More About Safeguarding Our Future

Americans of all political persuasions have profound lessons to learn from the House Select Committee’s investigation into the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. It’s encouraging that over 20 million people on average have been watching the House’s hearings. By the time this issue comes out, there will only be a few hearings left for public viewing.

Some 70 percent of Americans believe finding out what happened on that historical day is important. After all it was the largest attack on our government from within since the Civil War. The attack was also a consequence of the first president in the entire history of the U.S. who refused to accept defeat and honor the transition of power.

But why the Jan. 6 hearing-investigation matters has to do with preserving our nation’s democracy and tradition of rule of law – that clearly were under assault by former President Donald Trump who sought to essentially steal an election by making up false claims of victory (which he pushed for months) without any evidence to prove otherwise. That’s the kind of democracy-killing intrigue that takes place in dictatorships and nations plagued with corruption.

How far was Trump willing to go to maintain power? Much most of us already know about:  launching 60-plus frivolous lawsuits, trying to coerce the vice president to not recognize (unconstitutional) the certification of Electoral College votes, and lastly as Liz Cheney, the House select committee’s vice-chair said “President Trump summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack [on the Capitol].”

Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) used stronger language accusing the former president of brazenly “attempting to overthrow the government in a coup.”

Among the frightening scenarios the committee revealed to the American public is the details surrounding a late-night meeting several weeks before the Capitol riots between Trump, retired Gen. Michael Flynn and others where they discussed the literal contours of a military coup, with suggestions that voting machines be seized.

Trump doesn’t deserve another shot at the presidency
This incident and other evidence exhaustively investigated by the Committee indicating Trump’s willingness to subvert our democratic process and our Constitution, not to mention his derelict actions on the day of the insurrection, should be enough reason for Trump to be barred from running for the presidency in 2024.

It’s also arguable that enough evidence could warrant criminal prosecution of Trump by the Justice Department.  While the Jan. 6 hearings does not have the legal bite to do much except to inform Americans of the details surrounding the events prior to, during, and immediately after the insurrection, it’s a wait-and-see for what the Justice Department ends up doing.

We’re not holding our breath that the hearings will change those blindly loyal to Trump, but we hope that enough independents (and there are many, the millions who left the GOP due to its radical swing too far right) will consider at the ballot box that the former president is in fact unfit to hold public office again.

Really, does the country want to go back to crippling, dangerous division? Do Americans really want a dictator? The chicanery, manipulation, arm-twisting, opportunism (willingness to forfeit his Constitutional duties), even immorality (Trump saying perhaps “Pence deserved it” when the mob chanted: “Hang Mike Pence.”) that Trump committed surrounding Jan. 6 should mean something in the way of consequence – either legally or at the voting booth.

Americans wanted the truth. Now they are getting it. It’s critical to emphasis that the evidence gathered were from witnesses under oath, meaning if they lied, they could be held in perjury and face jail time. No amount of partisanship or party loyalty would compel someone to go to such extremes as to lie and risk jailtime. So the evidence gathered by the Committee can be assumed to be credible.

Ultimately while the hearings were about the past; more importantly, it should be looked upon as a bright red stop light, and a signpost pointing the direction to where Americans should not want to go in the future – leadership from someone with dictatorship at heart and someone with no regard for the rule of law.

The alternate ending could have been worse
During the hearings what also jumps out is we see the nation was saved because of the strength of our democratic institutions and heroic people from both sides of the political divide. Republican state election officials in swing states who did their job with integrity and refused to be pressured by Trump played a critical role.

The Jan. 6 insurrection ended with five people dying and 140 police officers injured by the mob who Trump invited to go to the Capitol. Remember: “Be there, will be wild!” Trump tweeted.

Our nation was fortunate that the events surrounding Jan. 6 did not end up worse. It’s highly likely that there could have been more deaths; or that our leaders, including the immediate succession to the presidency, Vice President Mike Pence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (both who received specific threatening chants against them by the angry mob) could have been killed.

It cannot be understated the importance of the investigation and hearings. Even if it ends up accountability is not rendered due to heavy politicizing, we the American people can do what our elected officials might not be able to do, and that is exact accountability at the ballot box.

We must never forget Jan. 6. And we all must work to ensure that such a grievous atrocity never takes place again.

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