The Capitol Riots and Democracy


January 6th 2021 was a momentous day in US history. January 6th is the day specified within the constitution that the electoral college votes are to be cast. This election has been plagued with misinformation and many, unfounded, claims about widespread voter fraud. These claims were spread by former president trump in a speech on December 2nd saying that he was trying to expose “tremendous voter fraud and irregularities.” This speech was followed by lawsuit after lawsuit, all of which failed at either state or federal levels. These lawsuits were trying to do a number of things, all of which are unconstitutional and devoid of evidence. After these lawsuits kept failing, former president Trump decided to call upon his staunchest supporters to protest in Washington D.C. near the Capitol building. The events started to snowball from there. These protesters showed up in unprecedented numbers and gathered to hear Trump give a speech. Then began the protest which was completely legal and the right to protest has always been an integral part of American society. But then, with the world watching, it took a turn for the worse.

“What we saw was an armed insurrection…Once people got inside the building what we saw was this horrific, chaotic attempt at an armed insurrection, and sedition.” Molly beck, a US government and politics teacher at Ladue highschool elaborates on what happened.

This was an armed insurrection by Trump’s supporters to try and stop the electoral college votes from being cast. But it goes even further than that. After breaking through multiple barriers the rioters made their way into the building and started defacing and destroying the inside of the building. There were many things stolen and vandalized. And then it got even worse.

“They had zip ties…they had things to kidnap and hold congress people hostage… and then what we didn’t know then but found out later that there were 13 bombs and molotov cocktails found,” Beck said.

When looking back on this event after it happened there is no doubt that this was an attempted coup. This should not be taken lightly. This affects everyone that lives in America and even has an impact internationally. This historic event will change the way that children and young adults in America perceive democracy and future elections.

“How do you trust that the government and institutions can ever serve you after these repeated traumas? Not just the insurrection but the election fraud issues and even this extremely divided election,” Beck says.

This is an extremely valid concern and one that needs to be addressed sooner than later. If we, as a nation, normalize these extremely abnormal actions such as an attempted armed insurrection, then we are causing this mistrust to grow. We must come together and realize that this was too much and that we need to work together to put trust back into the democratic system.

“I believe in the concept of a free and fair democracy and I believe that our systems can work, but the people within the system have to make it work,” Beck said.