Reflecting on Two Years Since the January 6 Insurrection: How Much Has Really Changed?

Ella Pedroso, Senior Design Editor

Jan. 6, 2023 marks two years since a mob consisting of more than 2,000 supporters of Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol following his defeat in the 2020 presidential election. In efforts to overturn the results of the election, Trump falsely claimed widespread voter fraud and encouraged a mob, developing a seven-part plan to take back the election he believed was “stolen by emboldened radical-left Democrats.” The mob sought to prevent the joint session of Congress which formalized the victory of President Joe Biden, storming the Capitol as Congress began to count votes. Vandalism, looting, assault and pure hatred stepped into the floors of the Capitol. 

Without counting the hundreds of injuries, five people died during or shortly after the insurrection, and four officers who responded to the attack killed themselves within seven months. Monetary damages summed to $2.7 million. When looking back at only a small amount of the effects, I wonder, how did we let this go so far, and so easily? Looking back at the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests in 2020 where protesters fought against police brutality that encapsulates the very violence and anger shown in the insurrection, police shot and tear-gassed peaceful protesters without hesitation.

 To put this into perspective, on Jan. 6, police leaders instructed officers not to use their aggressive tactics to hold off on the mob. The only answer to how the Capitol insurrection occurred lies in the culture our country perpetuates. We live in a country where tear gas and rubber bullets are punishments for fighting for love and equality, yet they hesitate when hate and violence target a reality adverse to their own.  

A thorough investigation proves that Trump actively involved himself in the planning and incitement of the riot. Both Trump and his supporters in the attack reveal the entitlement coupling the power given to hate in the country. The attackers knew that this country allows hate to win, and with Trump’s guidance, they attacked with confidence.  

Jan. 6, confirms the birth of the massive extremist group that runs on evil; a group that desires power and thrives on it. One would think that since two years have passed, and efforts have allegedly been made to prevent a similar attack, the group has shrunk in the past years. 

Wrong. Jan. 6 told the U.S.’s right-wing extremists that they can insinuate violence and get off with less than those arrested for victimless crimes. It evolved extremism and the groups grew in numbers. The Proud Boys, one of the many extremist groups part of the insurrection, has grown since the attack. Recently, a district court judge in Washington D.C. sentenced a member who live-streamed the attack to only 60 days in prison, compared to two BLM protesters sentenced to life in prison for rioting, illustrating the reality we live in.

Hatred goes unpunished while spreading across the country. Antisemitism in far-right groups has sparked hate crimes nationwide, with the number of Americans holding anti-semitic views doubling in number since 2019. From 2021 to 2022, Anti-Asian hate crimes saw a 339 percent increase. Cities such as New York and Los Angeles, typically viewed as “liberal and accepting,” have seen record-setting attacks towards Black Americans, members of the LGBTQ+ community and others. 

Since the Jan. 6 attack, we as a country have proven to fail in the creation of a safe space for anyone non-conforming to white right-wing ideology. Police and law enforcement have protected these extremists and harmed minorities. For two years, news of trials and arrests against extremists appeared to solve the issue, yet when put in perspective, revealed the true problem. The country protects what they claim to fight against, allowing the effects of Jan. 6, 2021, to spread.