~ Submitted by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA)
One year ago today, I was sheltered in the Capitol Complex with the rest of Congress. We were rushed there by Capitol Police as domestic terrorists, insurrectionists–Americans trying to overthrow our democracy– stormed the building to change the result of the election. Five people died as a result of that day, including four brave police officers. Today, many of our first responders, my colleagues, Capitol Hill staffers, and other public servants, are still dealing with trauma from the attack.
While physically this was an assault on Congress, principally it was an assault on the American people. Changing election results by denying the truth and strong-arming democratic institutions is the stuff of totalitarianism, of places like Russia and China and Myanmar, of dictators and thieves.
Since that fateful day, I am dismayed by how little has changed. As dark as January 6th was for our nation, January 7th offered hope that some semblance of bipartisanship would restore, repair, and safeguard our democracy for future generations. How quickly that evaporated among just about every Republican leader in Washington. Only a few brave Republicans remain willing to speak the truth in public that they all know in private. That is why the likelihood of another January 6th happening in the future is stronger today than it was a year ago. In state legislatures across the country, many Republicans are working to install insurrectionist election officials to overturn results they don’t like at the local level. They are building the groundwork to undermine our future elections and transform our country into some sort of dictatorship or banana republic. Nothing could be less patriotic.
While many people, including many of my colleagues here in Congress, want to move on, history has shown us that there can be no reconciliation without accountability. If those who promoted the lie that the election was stolen are not held accountable, including the former President and his associates who continue to flaunt the law, this will happen again.
American democracy does not exist on its own. It has always relied on brave, patriotic, truth-telling volunteers to fight for its preservation and success. I am eternally grateful to the Capitol Police, Metro Police Department, National Guardsmen, and all other first responders who served our institution bravely and kept us safe on that day. Now we all need to step up to do our patriotic duty–to tell the truth, to demand accountability, and to foster change–to preserve America in this dangerous time.