OPINION: “Patriots” Day


Photo Courtesy of NDTV.com

Benjamin Meppen, Article Contributor

Where were you when so-called “patriots” sieged the United States Capitol in the name of freedom and honesty? Many Americans were glued to their TVs, watching and waiting to see what would happen next in the Nation’s capital. The attack on the Capitol building on January 6th, 2021, was the boiling point of a long and anger-inducing four years. This particular instance included a large gathering of the president’s supporters convincing Capitol Hill to combat alleged voter fraud in the 2020 election. Who would enable such aggressive and unsafe behavior during the pandemic? The president himself spoke to the large, mostly maskless crowd early Wednesday morning, presumably to fuel them up for what turned out to be a day of recklessness. Now the purpose of this article is not to ridicule or defame the president as history will be the one to judge our 45th commander in chief. However, it is essential to remember the person who sparked this conflict. On a day where the Capitol’s American flags were replaced with confederate banners and “Trump 2020” was spray-painted in the halls of Congress, there is only one person to place blame on.

Beyond the actions of the deplorable individuals who vandalized the Capitol, the lasting effects this event will have on America is yet to be uncovered. For this to happen in a country already so deep in turmoil amidst a pandemic that has killed over 361,000 Americans and left millions jobless, it is quite a hit to American morale. Now the 2020 elections would come with consequences; ever American knew that; however, most did not expect the effects of President-elect Biden’s to be felt in Congress’s emergency evacuation tunnels. The imagery of people ransacking congressional offices and snagging pictures with others donning Nazi paraphernalia is quite sickening to most of America and left citizens with more questions than answers. Questions like why? Why didn’t DC metro police stop them? And many more. As it is too soon for these questions to be answered, one crucial question still remains.
Will the events of January 6th, 2021, leave a lasting effect on America’s ability to conduct a peaceful transfer of power? Writing this just days after the attack, much is yet to be discovered, and many Americans feel anger and sadness in their government and in their country. It is relatively easy to feel discouraged when the walls of our legislation have been knocked down and our leader complicit. Through the smoke and teargas, there was one moment that represented a glimpse of hope for American democracy. On a dark day and even darker day in Washington, Congress reconvened to continue its constitutional duty of certifying the electoral college votes. They were interrupted earlier in the day by hate-filled, wildly misinformed individuals, only to resume later that night as they were elected to do. Never in my life did I think that I would see a joint session of Congress in a room with broken glass on the ground and elected officials standing on the place where there was a gun battle just hours beforehand. As disheartening as the events of January 6th were, it showed who the real Americans were. It showed who was loyal to an individual and who was loyal to their country. The gathering in Washington frightened and angered many Americans, leaving them hopeless and frustrated with our president and government. We can only hope for a better America, not only for ourselves but for our children and grandchildren, hoping to leave a legacy of civility and statesmanship rather than one of hatred and self-destruction.