It’s been a year: Has anything changed?

Examining the state of America a year after January 6th.


Ted Eytan/Big Think Edge/ CC BY-SA 2.0

As a country, we must do better in combating hatred and upholding democracy.

   I was naive to think that the events of January 6, 2021 would spark change. 

   As awful as the insurrection was, I had hope that it would mark the beginning of a new era in the US. I had hope that it was one of those things that needed to happen in order for true change to be made. I had hope that people would stop supporting Trump and realize what he really stands for. Hope that people would realize that he is a threat to American democracy and minority groups through his encouragement of radical and white supremacist beliefs.

   I can’t believe I was so naive to think that change could happen in America. 

   Did people not realize what a big deal this was? There was an attempted coup in the United States of America. An attempted coup

   The insurrectionists wanted to overthrow the results of the Presidential Election, and they were encouraged to do so by then-President Donald Trump. And, despite his second impeachment for his involvement with the attempted coup, Trump is still the powerhouse of the Republican Party and a real potential candidate for the 2024 Presidential Election. 

   Now, there were members and supporters of the Republican Party who denounced the insurrection when it first happened, but there has been avoidance on the topic amongst Republicans ever since. 

   At the time, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said, “there is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day,” but in May, he ended the chances of a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 events. Then-Vice President Mike Pence originally acted against Trump’s requests to overturn the election results, but current reports say that he has not yet decided if he will cooperate with the current investigation on the insurrection. 

   Even with a new president, hate still runs strong in America. And it is the same hate that motivated the insurrectionists at the Capitol over a year ago.

   It’s no secret that the world’s perception of the US has shifted over the past few years. The truth is, we have become a laughing stock to many world leaders — especially during the Trump years. We are seen as a country filled with gun violence and hate.

   On January 15, 2022, a British-citizen, Malik Faisal Akram, took 4 victims hostage in a Texas synagogue, Congregation Beth Israel. He used a gun that he bought on the street (illegally) in Texas to threaten his victims. Why did Akram come to the US to commit this crime? Did he know he could make it happen here? He could’ve chosen any synagogue in any country, even his own, but he chose the US. 

   The fact that Akram traveled to the US to take a synagogue hostage is evidence of the changing perspective of America. We really are seen with a nation filled with hatred.

   The insurrectionists at the Capitol had a hatred for anyone who wasn’t them. They couldn’t find it in themselves to compromise and accept the results of a certified election. Their leader was known for his unfiltered views and comments, so they took after him to act on an unfiltered version of what happened with the election. 

   With the unfiltered president out of office, I had high hopes for this past year. President Biden seemed to signal the start of change. He made promises during his campaign, but did he keep any?

   On January 24, 2022, Biden was caught on a hot mic calling Fox News reporter Peter Doocy a “stupid son of a b****.” Within an hour of the incident, Biden called Doocy to personally apologize for his words. 

   This situation looked rather familiar. There’s a new president, but still the same name calling as the last. Now, in no way am I equating Biden with Trump. Trump has publicly mocked and name-called several reporters, not to mention that time he incited an entire coup. His actions here are far worse than Biden losing his temper for a moment. 

   But I’m also not justifying Biden’s name calling. Anyone who holds such a powerful position must always be more careful than the average person with their words. Biden should know better, especially after his predecessor. 

   However, the difference here is that Biden immediately took responsibility. Trump has called multiple reporters names and fully supported an insurrection and overthrow of American democracy. But where is his responsibility?

   The president sets a precedent. We’ve seen it over the past four years, and really throughout history. If the President is rude to others and doesn’t own up to his words, a good amount of the general public will follow suit. If the President makes a comment but apologizes and admits he made a mistake, the public sees that. 

   So, over a year later, where are we? Trump is still a powerful member in politics with a huge following. America is still viewed as a country with widespread hatred. We still don’t have an ideal leader. 

   It’s time for change. It was time for change a year ago. As a country, we must do better in combating hatred and upholding democracy.