January 6th wrongs reveal unsavory side of USA


Tom Kirvan
Legal News, Editor-in-Chief

Much like the Watergate hearings of 1973, the House Committee investigation into the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol made for compelling television, a must-watch type of program that was as gripping as it was disturbing.

In many respects, the televised programming was a recreation of the “Theater of the Absurd,” the post-World War II period of drama when playwrights did their best to shock their audiences out of complacency and to bring them face-to-face with the harsh realities of the day.

And shock the January 6 hearings did, to such a degree that it has become increasingly clear that the insurrection on the Capitol came alarmingly close to destroying our democracy and to imposing an authoritarian government that could strangle any opposition for years to come.

The consequences of such an outcome would have turned back the clock 160 years to a time when our nation was even more divided than it is now. But even then, when Union and Confederate forces waged pitched battles that cost both sides deeply, the Capitol – the very citadel of democracy – never came under attack by seditionists bent on ransacking the building and threatening the lives of lawmakers.

Sadly, that is how far we have fallen in recent years, a time that has been marked by nationalist efforts to install an authoritarian framework that will exert enormous power over individual lives and will imperil the right to hold free and fair elections.

The threats to our fundamental governing principles appeared just as real during the Watergate scandal, which began 51 years ago on June 17, 1972 when five men were arrested for breaking into and illegally wiretapping the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee located in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C.

The break-in was discovered by a little-known security guard named Frank Wills, a longtime resident of South Carolina who etched his name in history by alerting police to a burglary that eventually would cost then President Richard Nixon his job for attempting to cover up the crime.

The astute work by Wills set in motion an investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, headed by U.S. Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina. Ervin, who fashioned himself as “just an ol’ country lawyer,” was a Harvard-educated politician whose Southern charm belied his determination to uncover the truth about who ordered the Watergate break-in.

Ervin, who spent 20 years in the Senate, was known as a steadfast defender of the U.S. Constitution, the document of 1789 that is being put to a supreme test today as investigators attempt to hold all of those responsible for the wrongdoing on January 6.

As the recent convictions of a host of bad actors have shown, it’s a long and growing list, headed by a disgraced former president who has repeatedly displayed utter contempt for the rule of law and the bedrock principles it represents.

Evidence of his culpability in inciting the dreadful events of January 6 is clear and convincing, and yet his supporters prefer to turn a blind eye to the truth that has been uncovered during a series of investigations. 

Some of those enablers, including various former White House insiders and Fox News commentators, have been caught in their own webs of deceit, opting to walk back critical comments they made as the insurrection unfolded for fear of further incurring the wrath of the ex-president.

It's now time for them – and shall we say all who believe in the tenets of our democracy – to take a stand for the truth, to finally put an end to a political charade that already has provoked deadly consequences.

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