… “At this hour, our democracy is under unprecedented assault — unlike anything we’ve seen in modern times.
An assault on the citadel of liberty. The Capitol itself.
An assault on the people’s representatives and the Capitol Hill police sworn to protect them.
And the public servants who work at the heart of our republic. An assault on the rule of law like few times we’ve ever seen it. An assault on most sacred of American undertakings, the doing of the people’s business.
Let me be very clear: The scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect a true America. Do not represent who we are. What we’re seeing are a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness.
This is not dissent. It’s disorder, it’s chaos, it borders on sedition. And it must end now….”
— President-elect Joe Biden
The expected challenges to the Jan 6. Congressional certification of the 2020 Presidential Election caught even the most vocal of critics within the Legislative Branch of our federal government off guard.
What was expected to be, at worst, raucous debate peppered with political hyperbole and salted with unsubstantiated rhetoric long gone stale, turned surprisingly violent — and quickly, too, as self-professed supporters of President Trump, breached the Capitol, forcing its evacuation as they broke into chambers, destroyed property and — what a world we live in — took selfies and souvenirs.
There were four reported fatalities, including a 35-year Air Force veteran, described by her family as a strong supporter of President Trump. She was shot by Capitol police. The other three deaths have thus far been called “medical emergencies.”
At least 14 officers were injured, including one seriously after he was “pulled into the crowd and assaulted.” Two remained hospitalized Thursday morning.
According to news accounts, at least three pipe bombs were discovered — two left at the Republican National Committee, and one at the Democratic. A car with gasoline bombs and weapons was reported left on the Capitol grounds.
The National Guard was called in. A curfew was invoked. The FBI is investigating.
And the people’s business, the certification, of the election by the men and women we elected to perform that task, was forced into the wee hours through the night.
“To storm the Capitol, to smash windows, to occupy offices, the floor of the United States Senate, rummaging through desks … On the Capitol, on the House of Representatives, threatening the safety of duly elected officials …
“It’s not protest, it’s insurrection,” President Biden said in the speech he reworked in the wake of the violence.
“The world’s watching. Like so many other Americans, I am genuinely shocked and saddened that our nation — so long the beacon of light and hope for democracy — has come to such a dark moment.”
Our very way of life is at stake, he added.
“The certification of the Electoral College vote is supposed to be a sacred ritual. We affirm — the purpose is to affirm the majesty of American democracy. But today’s reminder, a painful one, is democracy is fragile.
“And to preserve it requires people of goodwill, leaders who have the courage to stand up, who are devoted not to the pursuit of power or the personal interest pursuits of their own selfish interests at any cost — but of the common good. Think what our children watching television are thinking. Think what the rest of the world is looking at.
“For nearly two and a half centuries, we the people, in search of a more perfect union, have kept our eyes on that common good. America is so much better than what we’ve seen today.”
But still, optimism.
“Notwithstanding what I saw today, we’re seeing today, I remain optimistic about the incredible opportunities,” President-elect Biden said. “There’s never been anything we can’t do, when we do it together.
“And this godawful display today, let’s bring it home to every Republican and Democrat and Independent in the nation, that we must step up. This is the United States of America. There’s never, ever, ever, ever, ever been a thing we’ve tried to do that when we’ve done it together, we’ve not been able to do it.”
May we all step up.