Rep. Kind, UWEC professor look back at Jan. 6 a year later

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 6:19 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - It’s a day that will live in the minds of many Americans for a long time, Jan. 6, 2021.

That day, a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol as Congress was certifying the 2020 presidential election.

“I can’t believe it’s been a year. It’s etched in my memory like it was yesterday,” Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wisconsin, said.

He was in the House chamber as Congress was certifying the election when supports of former President Donald Trump forced their way inside the building.

“As December 7, 1941 was a date of infamy in our nation’s history, I believe that January 6 will go down as an infamous day,” Kind said.

Though Jan. 6 may conjure up similar feelings to the day the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Kind points out one major difference.

“This was an attack from within,” he said. “A violent insurrection to overturn a legitimate election result that was tragic in its consequences.”

Kind added he’s still concerned for the nation’s future especially since the mob was guided by lies.

Geoff Peterson, UW-Eau Claire Political Science Department Chair, said not everyone shares the Congressman’s fear. A year later, people have differing reactions and opinions to what took place on that day.

“For some people, this, you know, they see this as a marker point of, you know, ‘Is democracy in danger? Do we have to worry?’ For other people, they see this as a continuation of the debate of the validity of the election,” Peterson said.

He said people’s takes Jan. 6 likely depends on their political leanings.

He adds, while loud, the Capitol rioters are a small percentage of the U.S. population. In his opinion, most Americans, regardless of party, abhor political violence.

“I don’t think you’re going to see January 6 normalized,” Peterson said. “I think there’s a possibility that January 6 goes down the memory hole, that we pretend it never happened, and clearly there are some politicians that would prefer that.”

He said the long-term political impact of the insurrection likely depends on how people vote in upcoming elections.

Kind, who is not running for reelection, said one of the country’s biggest problems is the current partisan bitterness.

He added it’s not only in Congress but in communities across the nation.

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