You will find no photos here today of domestic terrorists climbing the walls of congress like spiders, last January 6. The only thing I will opine about the storm-the-capitol crowd is that they were using The Big Lie as an excuse to be angry and violent which is what they really wanted. Let’s be honest. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that it had nothing to do with thinking they were saving democracy, regardless of how much they say it.
It’s easy to feel dismayed by the supposedly huge number of people who “believe” Trump won the election. People all the time say they believe things they don’t really believe. They are saying what they want you to think they believe in order to justify their actions. Or they are just picking a side, don’t know, don’t care. There are a lot of people out there who profess to believe The Big Lie but I’m convinced the vast majority of this is fake and self-serving. Republicans lie about everything. Why wouldn’t they lie about that? Why wouldn’t they lie to a pollster? They would.
One more thing. Democrats had actual reasons to scream about George W. Bush winning the presidency in 2000 but we didn’t storm the capitol and try to overturn the election. Republicans were the ones that stormed the Florida recount stopping the Democratic process put in place to determine who really won the election. So the Republicans have done this before. It was determined post-election that Al Gore won Florida which means he should have been the president, not George W. Bush. But Al Gore supporters didn’t storm the capitol. And if there is any election-stealing going on, the Republicans are doing it.
But enough about them.
There is one fact that makes January 2022 vastly different from January 6, 2021. Americans threw Trump out of office. Democracy has prevailed. So today on Blog for Iowa the editors chose to celebrate our duly elected Democratic president, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Thank you Mr. President for your dedication to the cause of Democracy.
Here’s to President Biden and to the continued work of Democracy.
This is America’s day.
This is democracy’s day.
A day of history and hope.
Of renewal and resolve.
Through a crucible for the ages America has been tested anew and America has risen to the challenge.
Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate, but of a cause, the cause of democracy.
The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded.
We have learned again that democracy is precious.
Democracy is fragile.
And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.
So now, on this hallowed ground where just days ago violence sought to shake this Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries. – President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., January 20, 2021
And I would like to include a word from the popular historian Heather Cox Richardson:
Since President Joe Biden took office on January 20, just two weeks after the [January 6] attack, we have been engaged in a great struggle between those trying to restore our democracy and those determined to undermine it.
Biden committed to restoring our democracy after the strains it had endured. When he took office, we were in the midst of a global pandemic whose official death toll in the U.S. was at 407,000. Our economy was in tatters, our foreign alliances weakened, and our government under siege by insurrectionists, some of whom were lawmakers themselves.
In his inaugural address, Biden implored Americans to come together to face these crises. He recalled the Civil War, the Great Depression, the World Wars, and the attacks of 9/11, noting that “[i]n each of these moments, enough of us came together to carry all of us forward.” “It’s time for boldness, for there is so much to do,” he said. He asked Americans to “write an American story of hope, not fear… [a] story that tells ages yet to come that we answered the call of history…. That democracy and hope, truth and justice, did not die on our watch but thrived.”
Later that day, he headed to the Oval Office. “I thought there’s no time to wait. Get to work immediately,” he said.
Rather than permitting the Trump Republicans who were still insisting Trump had won the election to frame the national conversation, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as the Democrats in Congress, ignored them and set out to prove that our government can work for ordinary Americans.
Subscribe to Historian Heather Cox Richardson’s newsletter, Letters from an American on Substack