DEMOCRACY REQUIRES ACCOUNTABILITY: Reflecting on the Capitol Hill Insurrection

The curtains have closed on Donald Trump’s administration—on a scene that was foreshadowed throughout his entire presidency. 

The insurrection at the Capitol earlier this month was the long-predicted culmination of four years of Trump’s divisive presidency, combined with his denial of the presidential election results. As the coup was taking place, Trump had refrained from condemning rioters for their violent actions, and instead praised them. Numerous journalists and scholars who investigate the far right had warned of violence under the Trump administration long before the riot was planned openly on social media. 

In the aftermath of the violence, several legislators—including Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Rep. Jim Jordan—opposed the movement to impeach Trump, doubting that this course of action would help to unite the country. House Minority Leader McCarthy stated that it “[would] only divide our country more.”
One of the most chilling statements from these lawmakers was from Senator Ted Cruz. Despite the violence at the Capitol, he and many others continued to object to Joe Biden’s victory and push Congress to consider claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election. “We must come together and put this anger and division behind us,” he stated

The “anger and division” being referred to here is a “despicable act of terrorism” as Senator Cruz himself calls the event. The actions displayed at the riot are inexcusable and all parties involved, directly and indirectly, must be held accountable. Simply sweeping this event under a rug tells the American people that the politicians who added the fuel to this fire, allowing the riot to take place, are above the law.
What truly divides this country is violently infiltrating Congress while it is certifying the victory of a new president and fulfilling America’s democratic duties. Uniting the country begins with providing justice and holding not only the rioters accountable, but their enablers as well, in order to help prevent an upshot of this manner from ever occurring again.

One of the many enormous tasks facing the Biden-Harris administration is to repair our democracy following an extremely divisive presidency. The first step in this process is to hold politicians accountable. It is certainly a difficult task, but it is crucial that the Justice Department takes action so that we can prevent an event like this from ever happening again. Allowing legislators to put this uprising “behind us” does nothing to truly unite our country, and only lets politicians responsible for inciting this riot continue to encourage future attacks on our democracy.

Photo Source: Photo by Cameron Smith.

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