Every Republican who has ever denied or tried to downplay the horribly destructive reality of the violence at the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 should be required to sit down and listen to the testimony of Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards .
And if it means tying them to a chair and holding their eyelids open, like a clockwork orange, then so be it.
In gripping testimony Thursday night, in a tone that never rose above calm professionalism, Edwards told the U.S. House Select Committee and a nationwide television audience that the violence was “something I had seen in the movies”.
“I could not believe my eyes” Edwards, 31, said, according to the Washington Post. “There were officers on the ground. They were bleeding. They were vomiting… I saw friends with blood on their faces. I slipped into people’s blood.
Slipping into people’s blood. Let that sink in for a minute. This is not hyperbole. This is the horrifying reality that Edwards and other law enforcement officers defending the seat of American democracy faced on that tragic day – a day that cost the lives of some of his colleagues.
The same Republicans who solemnly lectured the rest of us that Blue Lives counted during our civil rights unrest summer of 2020, should be held accountable to respond, in particular, why those same blue lives don’t matter now. They should be required to explain, in the well of the US House and Senate, how they justified the dismissal of the marauding gang behind the January 6, 2021 coup attempt, as “tourists.”
Because there is no explanation that justifies what happened that day.
In excruciating detail Thursday night, the bipartisan US House panel investigating the attack alleged that two groups supporting former President Donald Trump planned the riot to stop the transfer of presidential power, even as Trump tacitly approved the insurgency and turned a deaf ear to calls from the murderous mob to hang former Vice President Mike Pence.
In an opening statement, panel chairman U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., explicitly said Trump was “at the center” of a “sprawling, multi-stage plot to overthrow the presidential election,” and that he and his GOP allies in Congress tried to “[throw] on the votes of millions of Americans – your votes – your voice in our democracy – and [replace] the will of the American people with their desire to stay in power after their term ends.
U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, one of two Republicans on the committee, said GOP lawmakers close to Trump, including U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District, sought presidential clemency after the attack . There is only one reason why someone asks for forgiveness: because he has committed a crime. In this case, illegally trying to overturn the election.
Cheney, who was ostracized by her own partyand who could very well lose his job during Wyoming primary election later this summercondemned fellow Republicans who condoned the violence and continued to propagate the myth of a stolen election.
“Tonight I say this to my fellow Republicans who are defending the indefensible: There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone,” she said, according to States Newsroom reporter Jacob Fischler. “Your dishonor will remain.”
New video footage the committee released Thursday night showed how close we were to losing our democracy on January 6, 2021, how close we were to slipping into the rogue authoritarianism still espoused by Trump and too many Republicans.
It was a reminder of the fragility of the American experience, and of our ongoing responsibility to protect and nurture it, so that it does not happen, as Abraham Lincoln warned on the Gettysburg fields, “perish from the ground.”
Caroline Edwards, the granddaughter of a Korean War veteran, knew her duty and stepped up to do it, perhaps at the cost of her life.
His grandfather, injured in the Battle of Chosin Reservoir“lived the rest of his days with bullets and shrapnel in his legs, but never complained about his sacrifice,” she said.
“I’d like to think he’d be proud of me,” Edwards continued. “Proud of his granddaughter who held on that day and kept fighting even though she was hurt like he did many years ago.”
Long after Trump took his place among history’s reviled strongmen and his allies among their cowardly henchmen, the courage of Caroline Edwards, Liz Cheney and others who defended the Constitution will be celebrated and commemorated.
It is up to us to ensure that our democracy endures for this to happen. Otherwise, these sacrifices will have been in vain. This is the debt we owe them.
The Pennsylvania Capital-Star, like the Idaho Capital Sun, is part of States Newsroom, a grant-supported network of news outlets and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor-in-Chief John Micek with any questions: [email protected] Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.