A year after Jan. 6, Congress more deeply divided than ever

·2 min read

WASHINGTON— A deeply divided Congress is about to show the world a very unsettled view from the US Capitol: Rather than a national crisis that pulls the country together, the deadly riot on Jan. 6, 2021, only seems to have pushed lawmakers further apart.

Some members are planning to mark the anniversary of the Capitol insurrection with a moment of silence. Others will spend the day educating Americans on the workings of democracy.

And still others don’t think the deadliest domestic attack on Congress in the nation’s history needs to be remembered at all.

Where they stand on remembrance can be largely attributed to their political party, a jarring discord that shows the country’s lawmakers remain strikingly at odds over how to unify a torn nation.

The president who had been fairly and legitimately defeated, Donald Trump, told his followers to “fight like hell” to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election and said he would march with them to the Capitol, though he did not. The result was violence and mayhem that left five people dead in the immediate aftermath, hundreds facing charges and millions of dollars in property damage.

But the lack of bipartisan resolve to assign responsibility for the siege or acknowledge the threat it posed has eroded trust among lawmakers, turned ordinary legislative disputes into potential crises and left the door open for more violence after the next disputed election.

It all sets Congress adrift toward a gravely uncertain future: Did Jan. 6 bring the end of one era or the start of a new one? “One thing that people should consider when thinking about Jan. 6 is ... people should think about the fragility of democracy,” said Joanne Freeman, a professor of history and American studies at Yale, whose book “Field of Blood” chronicles violence and bloodshed in Congress in the years before the Civil War.

Seeing few historical parallels, Freeman warned, “We’re at a moment where things that people have taken for granted about the working of a democratic politics can’t be taken for granted anymore.” The aftermath of Jan. 6 hangs heavy over snow-covered Capitol Hill, in the relationships that deepened between lawmakers who feared for their lives that day and those that have frayed beyond repair. (AP)

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting