I write one week after attackers ransacked our Capitol.
From what I have read, the halls of the capitol have been more or less cleaned up. The broken windows and doors have been repaired, or at least boarded up, and members’ offices have been re-assembled, at least as much as is allowed for a crime scene. High fences now surround a wide perimeter around the Capitol, and reports yesterday described how razor wire which would be added at the top of these fences. Metal detectors now are at the entrances to the legislative chambers, and all are required to go through these detectors.
These are some of the physical realities in the aftermath of January 6.
Less visible are the emotional impacts. We’ve heard the stories of barricaded offices, with members and staffers under desks. We have seen video of capitol police officers being beaten. We know of the deaths. And for the country at large, there is the pain and uncertainty of broken trust.
The emotional trauma will need to be addressed in the aftermath of January 6.
Something broke open last week. A bright light was upon the stark differences in our country. In the first hours after the tragedy, we heard speeches denouncing the violence and calling for something close to unity. And yet, within hours, and in spite of all that had happened, many legislators voted against accepting the election results. Within days there were leaders minimizing and discounting the seriousness of the attack.
Many are already starting to sweep the aftermath of January 6 under the rug.
I don’t know fully what the ‘clean-up’ will entail, but it is big. We cannot afford as a country to just ‘move on.’ What happened January 6 was not trivial. There needs to be full prosecution of all who broke the law. There needs to be public confirmation, across the political spectrum, that democratic outcomes will be upheld and respected. There needs to be a commitment to a peaceful transition of power.
As a community of faith, my hope is we will together sort through the many aspects of the ‘clean up’ with a sense of deep commitment.