January 6, 2021 revisited

June 16, 2022


By Jacquelyn D. Heath
Special to The Milwaukee Times

After 233 years of being a sovereign nation and becoming possibly the most successful democracy in human history, the United States of America has prided itself in achieving a peaceful transition when power changes hands, regardless of politics. Democrats, Republican, or independents, you win some, you lose some; but the process of government goes on regardless.

That tradition was threatened on January 6, 2021, as Congress gathered as prescribed at the U.S. Capitol to officially certify the Electoral College vote from the November 4, 2020 presidential election, in which Republican incumbent Donald Trump was bested by Democratic former Vice President Joe Biden. The margin of victory was more than 7-million popular votes, giving Biden 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. A majority of 270 electoral votes is needed to win the presidency.

As the saying goes, “Do the math.” Trump lacked 38 electoral votes to achieve the needed 270 minimum to retain the presidency; and was 74 electoral votes behind Biden. What ensued from election night culminated in a violent insurrection on January 6, 2021 that could have threatened democracy as we know it by undermining the will of the people. A largely right-wing group of demonstrators attended a rally by the defeated lame duck president, who were stoked by his remarks and proceeded to storm the U.S. Capitol, where members of Congress were meeting to certify the Electoral College vote and thus the November 2020 election vote.

As we all know now, the election results were indeed certified by Congress and Joseph R. Biden was duly inaugurated as prescribed by the Constitution as the 46th President of the United States of America on January 20, 2021.

It was disturbing to see the violence and destruction that took place on January 6…to the point that Congress has convened a House Select Committee to review and analyze the events that led to the January 6 insurrection – if for no other reason than to ensure that such an attempted coup of our government will never take place again, for any reason, by anyone.

Our government is embodied in our laws and our Constitution; and elected officials and our military both take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution “from all enemies, both foreign and domestic.”

Evidently, Donald Trump didn’t get the memo on that fundamental feature of democracy, U.S.-style. Since the House Select Committee has convened, former Trump aides at all levels, as well as state election officials and others have come forward with testimony under oath of being pressured by the former president to support what has come to be known as “The Big Lie” to help him stay in office.

Even in the months leading up to the November election, the former president began to sow seeds of division in the country, claiming that the election should be considered “rigged” if he lost. There is also evidence on record that he made calls to secretaries of state in various states where the election results were close to “…find votes” to turn the results in his favor. He even spoke favorably about the possible endangerment of his own vice president, who refused to gerrymander the electoral vote at the last minute.

All of these tactics are reprehensible in a nation that has organized its government to be “… of, by, and for the people.” That’s the people as a whole, not one person in particular. Whether or not the House Select Committee finds these activities amount to illegal, punishable actions remains to be seen. Several people who participated in the January 6, 2021 insurrection have been tried and found guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Stay tuned to see what else develops….