By Michael Bitzer
Note: I write only for myself, and not for my affiliated institution nor for my colleagues who also contribute and are associated with this blog.
Much has been written about the tragic day of January 6, 2021, a day that should live in comparable historical view with September 11, 2001 and December 7, 1941.
As someone who studies both American politics and history, the self-coup and insurrection of a year ago came as a sickening shock, but unfortunately, not a surprise.
Not a surprise because I suspected violence would occur. Throughout 2020, I often hoped and thought it wouldn't, but was realistic to know that the reality could happen. With all of the fuel being poured onto a deeply divided and polarized electorate and nation over 2020, violence likely would come in the form of what this nation had seen before, namely in the form of attempted, or God-forbid actual, political assassination.
But a different political assassination occurred that day. An attempted political assassination of our form of governance. Of our democratic republic. Of our 'rule of law.' Of the unwritten and undergirding rules and norms, namely 'we lost this election, but we live to fight another one in the future.' Of resolving political conflict, not through the bullet, but through the ballot.
Watching January 6, 2021 unfold, I wasn't just a political scientist who studies the United States of America, but as a citizen.
I recall the horror, the recoiling, the utter shock and then anger and outrage of watching the bastion of our self-governance and the citadel of our constitutional republic defiled.
Of our process of peaceful transition of power dishonored.
Of our will, as a people, desecrated.