President Joe Biden laid the blame for the Jan. 6 insurrection and attack on the U.S. Capitol squarely at the feet of one man, his predecessor Donald Trump. One year after the attack, the country is still divided. For the most part, Republican lawmakers were silent again one year later as Democrats hit news shows reflecting on the horrible events from that day.
“You can’t pretend. This is serious stuff. You’ve got to face it. That’s what great nations do,” stated President Biden on the anniversary of the insurrection. He blasted the former president stating Mr. Trump created and “spread a web of lies about the 2020 election.”
“This wasn’t a group of tourists. This is an armed insurrection,” Mr. Biden stated in a speech delivered from Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.
“They weren’t looking to uphold the will of the people. They were looking to deny the will of the people. They were looking to uphold—they weren’t looking to hold a free and fair election. They were looking to overturn one. They weren’t looking to save the cause of America. They were looking to subvert the Constitution. This isn’t about being bogged down in the past. This is about making sure the past isn’t buried,” he stated.
Insurrectionists sought to overthrow their government and stop the transfer of power from outgoing President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to Mr. Biden and then Vice President Elect Kamala Harris. The angry mostly White mob of men and women maimed and injured at will and left in their wake five people dead, and 50 injured police officers.
“What the extremists who roamed these halls targeted was not only the lives of elected leaders. What they sought to degrade and destroy was not only a building, hallowed as it is. What they were assaulting were the institutions, the values, the ideals that generations of Americans have marched, picketed, and shed blood to establish and defend,” said Vice-President Harris in her remarks prior to introducing President Biden.
It was just recently reported by several news outlets Ms. Harris was evacuated from the Democratic National Committee headquarters when a pipe bomb was found that day.
“Harris’ presence inside the building while a bomb was right outside raises sobering questions about her security that day. It also raises the chilling prospect that the riots could have been far more destructive than they already were, with the incoming vice president’s life directly endangered,” noted politico.com.
Many Republican lawmakers and leaders now pretend it never happened, appear to be in denial, and some have relegated the violent mob to mere tourists. Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina acknowledged Jan. 6, 2021, was a “dark day in American history.” But he accused Mr. Biden of mining it for political gain. “What brazen politicization of January 6 by President Biden,” he tweeted.
Only about four in 10 Republicans recall the attack as very or extremely violent, compared with nine in 10 Democrats, according to a new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Of the thousands that were there that day and breached the Capitol, few arrests, charges and convictions have been made. Only 725 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach, including over 225 individuals charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, according to the FBI. The investigation remains ongoing, and more than 165 individuals have pleaded guilty to federal charges, including 22 to felony offenses
“It’s really sad, because if we were talking about any other group, we would be talking about long sentencing,” stated Dr. Opio Sokoni, Jacksonville, Florida activist, professor and filmmaker.
When four Puerto Ricans took over the Capitol Building in March 1954, they received harsh sentencing, he said. Likewise for the Black Panther Party, who was fighting against racism, he added.
“They had a whole government under the Counterintelligence Program of the FBI went against them and some of them from the 70s and 80s are still in prison today,” stated Dr. Sokoni. What is being demonstrated is the lack of balance in America’s criminal justice system, he added.
“What we’re seeing in these short sentences and what’s going with those who have taken over, under the guise of somehow making this country better, is really nothing more than the old idea that White supremacy is good, and it is throughout the criminal justice system, whether it’s judges or prosecutors,” Dr. Sokoni told The Final Call.
Many across the country reflected on what happened that day in terms of threats to democracy and implications moving forward. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, vowed not to let the day’s events be swept under the rug, reported NPR. “I’m ready to stand with all of you patriots,” she said. “I’m ready to not forget,” she said, according to NPR. For some, the emotions from a year ago are just as potent today. Democrats continue to push forward with the Jan. 6 Congressional Committee investigations while the GOP are holding fast to the “2020 election fraud” narrative.
“It says that we have two countries. We have a country that on one side doesn’t mind White people destroying it. On the other side, we have that same mentality of people that want to fight against the country to make it better, but somehow, they’re considered less than,” stated Dr. Sokoni.
Student Minister Dr. Abdul Haleem Muhammad, Nation of Islam Southwest Region Representative, argued that America is in her current unraveling condition, as the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan warned in 2020.
“This country is divided, red state vs. blue state, Democrat vs. Republican. It’s divided by generation. It’s divided by sex. It’s now being divided by the vaccinated and unvaccinated. Everything that the Minister talked about in “Torchlight for America,” if you look at it, it wasn’t addressed, and it wasn’t sustained,” he said, referring to the 1993 book written by Min. Farrakhan.
America did not follow the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Minister Farrakhan’s gentle words of warning, and now the threatened Judgment of God comes to pass, said Min. Abdul Haleem Muhammad. “There’s a correlation between those two in my opinion, a correlation between the unraveling of America and our ambivalence and outright rejection of the admonition, recommendations, advice and guidance offered in ‘Torchlight for America,’” he added.
—Charlene Muhammad, National Correspondent, Final Call Staff and Associated Press contributed to this report.