January 6, 2022
As we reflect on the one-year anniversary of January 6th, 2021, it’s an important opportunity to step back and reaffirm the need to prevent similar attacks on our democracy in the future, as well as better understand what brought us to this dangerous point in the first place. While January 6th seems like an anomaly, 68% of Americans believe it’s a sign of increasing political violence rather than an isolated incident. If we do not use this moment to change our course, the vicious cycle we’re spiraling towards will only get worse.
Everyone, especially elected officials, should use this anniversary to strongly condemn the events of January 6th. We should not engage in revisionist history of what happened that day or look the other way. But simply condemning these actions isn’t enough. Leaders at all levels of government should work together to enact fixes that strengthen our democracy, which include but are not limited to making it easier for people to participate in our democracy, securing the integrity of our elections, and preventing the spread of misinformation by bad-faith actors.
Leaders in government should also work together to preserve many of the democratic norms that have eroded over time, most notably the need to work together to solve our nation’s issues rather than extract political wins wherever they can. There’s no one solution to reducing the dysfunction currently plaguing Congress, but an easy place to start is by toning down the toxic rhetoric that’s seeping into our society, as incendiary rhetoric from political leaders can make political violence more likely.
Beyond leaders in government, Americans can use this anniversary as a moment to help turn down the temperature in our political discourse. Elected officials are a manifestation of the constituencies that put them into office. If we can rediscover our empathy and mutual respect for others, if we can raise the bar for what’s considered virtuous behavior, if we become better citizens and better Americans, we can help change the tone of our politicians and media outlets.
The erosion of democracy is never a quick process. Institutional decay happens over time, and is accelerated by apathy from the general public. We should use this anniversary to commit to working together – with our neighbors, communities, and elected officials at all levels – to protect the noble experiment of American democracy.
May 14, 2021
Today an agreement was announced in the House of Representatives to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot, as well as influencing factors that led to the event. FixUS has previously called on Congress to create such a Commission and issued the following statement from Michael Murphy, Director of FixUS:
The attacks of January 6 illustrated in stark terms how dangerous the growing divisions and distrust in our nation have become. This heinous assault on our democracy must serve as both a reflection and inflection point, and help our nation begin the long hard work necessary to both understand how we got to this point and to ensure the environment for such events does not happen in the future.
Creating a commission to investigate the facts and circumstances leading to the January 6 attack is an essential step in this process. Today's agreement should be applauded for ensuring this investigation will be done on a bipartisan basis, which is critical in having its work and recommendations trusted by a broad cross-section of Americans.