What Jan. 6 means for our local community?

Saachi Sharma, Staff Writer

Jan. 6, 2021: This date will go down in history books as a time America’s democracy was under attack. Not by foreign powers or secret societies, but by everyday citizens.

Many government agencies and courts, including our Supreme Court justices, all agreed that there was no basis to President Trump’s claims that the election was tampered with or rigged in any way. Their conclusion was pretty clear: there was no fraud.

But all it took was some misleading tweets from Trump for hundreds and thousands of his supporters, from all walks of life, to betray the basis of these United States and our democracy. 

The issue here is not that President Biden’s victory wasn’t celebrated by all. It’s not expected that everyone is thrilled by the results. The issue is that those men and women at the Capitol that day felt it was not only right but it was patriotic to perform an act of treason against our country.

All too often, when people criticize Trump and his supporters, the rhetoric used quickly becomes anti-rural and anti-southern. Not only is this rhetoric harmful and divisive, it is simply not true.

It’s a common misconception that these so-called “patriots” were poor, uneducated hillbillies that don’t have access to accurate sources of information. In actuality, many were wealthy businessmen, real estate agents, or policemen. They’d be labeled as “respectable” or “decent” in their gated communities. They had all the resources they needed to come to a reasonable conclusion regarding the election, and despite their advanced levels of education they were dense enough to use the word patriotic to describe themselves. 

You didn’t have to be a southern yokel to attend the insurrection. In fact, one man from Danville named Dave was there that day and said, “I’m a patriot, I love my country,” when asked why he was in Washington, D.C. in an interview with CBS

”We get there, we find out that Mike Pence cowered out, and basically declined to not certify those votes” Dave said.

When people cast all Trump supporters as rural southern folk, it distracts us from our neighbors who believe in Trump’s lies and attended the Capitol riot. We have to reflect on the fact that our own neighbors and friends believe lies about election fraud, even if it is more comfortable to put our heads in the sand.

Jenna Ryan, a real estate agent from Texas, went as far as to fly to D.C. on a private jet just to take part in what she believed to be the start of the revolution. 

The epidemic of misinformation and propaganda clearly holds more power than evidence and veracity. At this point, it doesn’t matter who it targets. From the crazy rich to the ordinary blue-collar worker, anyone can fall victim to the dangerous weapon that is biased fallacy.

The delusion created for regular people to believe in a baseless “revolution” even led one woman, Ashli Babbitt, who had a record of fighting for our nation, a veteran, to be killed in the chaos of the protest . 

It is not patriotic to threaten the lives of the senators, representatives, and the vice president, nor is it patriotic to threaten the very freedoms that constitute what it means to be American. 

This is no longer an issue between Republicans and Democrats. This is an issue between people who believe in reality and people who are blind to it.

The most horrific part of this catastrophic event is the fact that it isn’t surprising in the least. People predicted things would escalate to an attack or even a war the second Trump refused to concede that he lost the election to Biden. We saw this coming and yet there still wasn’t anywhere near enough security surrounding federal buildings like the Capitol.

Now that we know the capabilities of these extremists, we unfortunately must be better prepared for political unrest, including in the media, in the future.

It is distressing that it took an attempted insurrection resulting in five deaths at an iconic federal building for people to open their eyes to the damage an unfit leader with support can do.But in a way, these events have united us for the first time in four years. We can all agree that it can never happen again, which is why we must educate our friends and bring them to reality rather than stay complacent to their denial of the truth. 

So, what does this mean for American democracy as we know it? Well, it’s clear that fear tactics and bully methods will never work against these United States. We came out strong with hope and trust in our new administration to lead us to a more dignified America. 

As American citizens, it is easy to see this sort of calamity and lose trust for each other. No matter rich or poor, uneducated or PhD, urban or rural, we are all Americans and we must not succumb to lies that are meant to divide us.