Joe Biden was famous for delivering high praise long before he was elected president, so it should come as no surprise that in his remarks to the nation to commemorate the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill and our election system, he spoke more of the past – of a “former president” and a “failed” attempt to overthrow democracy – than of the very real and urgent threats the nation faces today.
It’s easy and convenient to isolate the images, violence and memories of January 6, remove them from their current context, and group them into produced speeches or TV segments that look back. It’s much more difficult to tell the truth about the modern Republican Party, from school board meetings across the country to halls of Congress, harnessing the power of white supremacy, propaganda, and violence to fundamentally reshape the America and destabilize the institutions that once supported the Principles. Democracy Biden said Thursday would continue.
Twelve months after the attack, Biden saying anything was an improvement over silence. But there is a deep danger in “remembering” January 6 once a year instead of recognizing it and dealing with it on a daily basis.
In the space between Trump’s big lie about the election and the truth, there is a web of white lies that Biden and much of the entrenched Washington establishment continue to tell to themselves and to the country, allowed by mainstream media always conditioned to be more afraid of criticism of Republican bad faith than of the fall of American democracy.
– The lie that there is a distinction between Trump and the rest of the Republican Party.
– The lie that “unity” without accountability for a government coup attempt by the Republicans is achievable.
–The lie that Washington, DC can step back to a bygone era of handshakes, deal negotiations and cocktails, and the result will be a government that works as intended.
– The lie, largely by omission, that the white nationalists who came to Capitol Hill carrying Confederate flags and wearing “Camp Auschwitz” hoodies are isolated and contain threats to the public.
– The lie that “this is not what we are” as a country.
– And the lie that the continued assault on democracy has been done since our democracy survived the January 6 attack.
These aren’t the kind of big lies that spread across QAnon’s websites, the dangerous ones that have built an alternate reality for Trump supporters and torn our nation apart. But these are the kind of polite, insidious lies in the guise of harmless lies that must be believed by Washington’s elite for elected officials, agents, lobbyists and journalists to continue as “normal” in their brilliant political life. . .
“Whatever my other disagreements with Republicans who support the rule of law and not one-man rule, I will always seek to work with them to find common solutions where possible,” Biden said Thursday. , as if the Republican leaders of the House, joined by the vast majority of their colleagues, had not voted to overturn his election, exactly a year earlier and a few feet from where he stood.
“Because if we have a shared belief in democracy, then anything is possible,” Biden said, as if that “if” could lift such a claim from the grim reality that 147 Republicans in Congress have yet voted to overthrow democracy after insurgents attempted to assassinate then-vice president Mike Pence.
Trump and Republicans are inseparable, and Democrats and Republicans currently do not share any belief in democracy.
Biden’s apparent desire to be the president he imagined he could be in the late 1980s when he first ran for the post – the president who could hold bipartisan meetings and pass draft Appropriations Act with the backing of 90 senators – is in direct tension with the president he was to be to navigate the nation through this tenuous moment, a president who, following a government coup attempt , could immediately and unequivocally call on the Republicans he has worked with for decades as easily as they challenged his own election and his legitimacy.
It was safer, under DC’s ‘standards’ driven rules of engagement, that Biden waited 12 months and remembered January 6 as a birthday memory, a flash bang, something Donald Trump had. done once as opposed to something his party is currently doing.
When the network’s news broadcasts sent their presenters to Capitol Hill for 24 hours on the anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history to “remember” – after spending a year to continue to provide platforms for a number of those 147 Congressional Republicans who voted to reject Biden’s Enough Voters – they isolated January 6, the remembrance, January 6, the current reality.
They are complicit in Republican desire and push to ‘move forward’, reinforced by Democrats like Biden who believe that ‘moving on’ is a substitute for ‘healing the nation’ rather than tearing his wounds deeper and leaving the republic. even more vulnerable to this continued assault.
Several Capitol Hill reporters shared important and heartbreaking memories of surviving the attack on Capitol Hill, of their fears that day for their lives and for Congress itself. The authors of these articles almost apologized for making “history” as if the extremists who, inspired by a president who incited violence specifically against them, came to Capitol Hill and engraved “Murder the media” in 100 years. doors – were not the actors of this dynamic.
In his excellent essay, my former colleague Matt Fuller, who was in the building that day, admitted that the media have struggled to cover Republicans since they became both columnists and crime survivors. from the Capitol.
“In the aftermath of January 6, most of the media still haven’t quite figured out how to cover Republicans. I would include myself in this statement. We mostly pretend that Jan 6th didn’t happen, as if it was only okay to let Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) pontificate on gas prices or inflation while we ignore the lies that he continues to spit on who is really responsible for the attack – or the role he played in undermining our democracy and endangering those of us who were on Capitol Hill that day, ”wrote Fuller.
“It’s hard to write a story where you stop in each paragraph to note whether the particular Republican you mention returned to his room on the night of January 6, with blood still drying in the halls, and has voted to reverse the will of the people. But maybe we should.
It would be easier to move on to the next question, “What’s the use of separating Republicans from their attempts to undermine democracy?” if Biden spoke directly, honestly, and regularly about the threat Trump’s GOP poses to America.
The scariest part of watching the anniversary is that 2022 almost seems too late to save democracy. Democrats abdicated a longer impeachment process in February 2021, when they caught national and nationwide media attention. Republican candidates for nearly every office are gaining ground on the lie that the 2020 election was stolen as Republican officials in state legislatures across the country scramble to implement mechanisms to steal the next election , but through “acceptable” means such as closing polling stations, installing supporters, election officials, and voter identification laws as opposed to violent attacks on police officers.
Every day that passes the Jan.6 select committee of inquiry, a report seems like a day wasted, as Republicans will discredit it for being too political and close to an election, or shut it down if it expands beyond that. from 2022.
The more I think about it, the more I fear that Biden may have given a eulogy on American democracy, not because he knows the form, but because he has failed to address the peril in which we are. now live or articulate a way forward to pull us over the edge.