Today, Jan. 6, is the one-year anniversary of the assault on the Capital. Coverage of commemorations and recollections of the event – insurrection, protest, riot, whatever its called – will dominate the news, talk shows and social media, and deservedly so.
Deniers will also have their say, spouting conspiracy theories and lies about what actually happened that day and who is responsible. Which is mind boggling, considering the plethora of evidence showing who was involved and why they were there assaulting police and trashing the seat of our democracy to stop the certification of the presidential election, clearly done at the direction and urging of Donald Trump.
In the weeks to come, we are likely to hear more and more details about the assault as the Congressional committee looking into it works to conclude its work. As we've heard in recent comments made by committee members – including the two Republicans – it's clear that there is an overwhelming body of documents and testimony that this was no mere tourist visit, and that the previous administration was derelict in its duty to protect American democracy and its institutions.
This may seem to have little to nothing to do with the news and events we deal with in our communities. But a quick glance at reactions to some of our stories shows that the division in the country so often lamented in the national media exists here, too. A recent example is our story on Chatham officials being urged to take steps to mitigate the effects of climate change now rather than paying a higher cost in the future. When we posted the story on Facebook, at least half of the comments scoffed at the concept of climate change and questioned the advisability of taking precautions to prevent future impacts. This despite scientific consensus that the climate is changing in ways it never has before, due primarily to human activity.
On our travels around the area, we see signs, flags and other indications that there are many people who believe the lie that Donald Trump won the November election. It doesn't give us much hope that the coming year will see common sense and reason prevail in politics or elsewhere. As we reflect on the events of last Jan. 6, we can only hope that the clear minority who believe the lies and conspiracy theories will find it in their hearts to reflect and accept reality.