Congressman Kelly Armstrong voted against establishing a bipartisan commission to investigate the origins of the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Regardless of his opposition, the proposed commission is on its way to the Senate where it faces a likely filibuster from Senate Republicans. Dozens of other House Republicans joined House Democrats in advancing the bipartisan commission. That commission may very well uncover some “hard truths” Armstrong promised to tell his fellow North Dakotans following the January attack.
GOP leadership in Congress has recently come out against the commission. I would like to say it is a reversal from their stance following the attack, but was it? Leadership spoke about accountability for those responsible – including then President Donald J. Trump – and then did very little with their congressional power. That continues to be the case for some in Congress. Just over four months later, they want people to simply move on from the attack on our democracy.
Everyone should condemn violence. Period. A reason provided by some GOP members of Congress for being opposed to this commission is they want to investigate other moments they personally believe political rhetoric led to violence. They don’t want the focus to just be on what led the insurrection. They point to some of the protests that led to riots over last summer. GOP members claim comments made by Democratic politicians enflamed those situations. Though dishonorable at times, the circumstances are entirely different.
January 6th was an insurrection. An attack on our approach to self-governance. How organized was the attack on the Capitol? Who funded the travel for some of those individuals ready to attack? What was the media’s role – including those from ND – in pushing the Big Lie of a stolen election? Sadly, they lie for profit. These are some questions everyone should want answers to. Unfortunately, that is not the reality in this polarized moment.
Call me naïve. I had assumed the horror we collectively witnessed on that day would not subside into shoulder shrugs and partisan positioning against uncovering the truth. What happened and how do we prevent it from happening again? I hoped we’d rally around the flag as Americans. Instead, we watched Capitol Police attacked with the very flag we cover our hearts to. Now some Americans hope that others would move on. That is a “hard truth” to accept.