Storming the U. S. Capitol

Yesterday, on January 6, 2021, thousands of supporters of the president left a rally in DC protesting the election results to march on the United States Capitol. Hundreds breached security perimeters and broke into the capitol building where Congress was in session to certify the results of the electoral college vote. The president encouraged the march to the capitol and had told supporters at the earlier rally he would be walking with them. As the madness unfolded and he retreated to the White House, he issued a short video in which he affirmed to the marchers that “we love you.”

It was a sickening, seditious spectacle intended to circumvent the rule of law and the Constitution. The headline in the Richmond Times-Dispatch this morning features the headline “Insurrection,” which accurately characterizes the event even as it adds to the horror given the history of this state and nation.

In the U. S. Capitol, shots were fired and one rioter died, while senators and representatives were barricaded in their chambers and then escorted away to secure locations with gas masks. Glass and furnishings were smashed, and one group of rioters made their way to the speaker’s office where they took a picture of a man with his foot on the speaker’s desk. Photographs and video show the Confederate flag being carried through the halls of the United States Congress. (That is a very difficult sentence to write.) Police and national guard ineffectiveness against the assault contrasts poorly with the showdown at Lafayette Square this summer and other displays of force used against peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters.

A handful of opportunistic senators and more than one hundred representatives intended to capitalize on the moment by raising objections to the electoral votes from several states, toying with the nation’s democratic governance in the process. In the House of Representatives, three Congressmen from Virginia had earlier signed on to a December lawsuit asking the courts to invalidate the results, giving momentum to this crisis. And yesterday, after Congress finally voted to count electoral college results, four Virginia Republicans formally objected. Let’s not forget their names:

Rep. Ben Cline R-VA

Rep. Bob Good R-VA

Rep. H. Morgan Griffith R-VA

Rep. Rob Wittman R-VA