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As the year comes to a close and plans for the new year are in full swing, it is crucial that people remember the events that happened this year. Thinking of the end makes one think of the beginning, and ours was tainted by the arrogance and dangerous impulsivity of people who wanted to plunge this country into darkness — one where rules are discarded to appease a people who throw a tantrum every time something doesn’t go their way.
The Jan. 6 insurrection haunts me. It haunts this country. And it is crucial that we do not forget what happened that day — and what has been happening in the aftermath of the events that shocked this nation to its core, leaving five dead, over a hundred injured and more than $30 million in property damage.
Now, 727 people were charged, with some getting off scot free and others serving up to 63 months in federal prison. Justice is not quite served, but at the very least, there is some level of accountability happening, which we as a people should come to appreciate. Without these checks on violence, I fear that this country would fall into chaos under the childish but terrifying actions of those who felt they weren’t heard.
As a queer Black woman, I’m not heard pretty much every day of my life. But that doesn’t mean I raise up arms against a country that has promised me freedom as a citizen inside its borders. Yes, the United States has many problems that need to be addressed and open communication about these issues must be encouraged in order to foster effective change where people can feel a part of the action. But this country can no longer be called the United States if we are tearing ourselves apart from within without regard for the consequences of our actions and how they will affect the millions of people who call this land home.
As the new year begins, I want everyone to really remember what happened that day. Remember the fear that pushed us so far apart until we couldn’t recognize each other anymore.
Remember the blood splattered across Capitol police officers trying to protect the very sanctity of freedom in a democratic process that defines our freedom.
Remember Eugene Goodman, who faced off against a group of people that hurled racial slurs at him and threatened violence — but he still didn’t draw his weapon (a stark contrast from what I could only guess would happen if the tables were turned).
Remember the display of absolute disregard for civility and procedure in favor of savage acts that threatened the safety and security of this country, both domestically and internationally.
Today, some of the highest ranking military officers say the greatest threat this country faces is from within its own borders, not from powers abroad. Think about that. Remember that when you go about your life like nothing happened — like we didn’t almost have everything taken from us in a couple of hours. That’s how fragile democracy is. Complacency will be the key to our demise.
Nichole Shaw is a Gazette editorial fellow. Comments: email@example.com