The Aftermath of the US Capitol Insurrection


Photo Credit: Samuel Corum (CNN)

January 6th has passed, but the events of that day continue to haunt the United States.

Sydney Wold, Reporter

Some may call it an attempted coupe, many a riot, and others an act of domestic terrorism. Whatever one decides to call the recent insurrection at the US Capitol, the impact it has had on society is undeniable. In less than a month, political tensions have increased, ties have been cut, and life has been affected for almost every American.

One major impact of the riot was the second impeachment trial of former President Trump. The house voted to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection on the 13th, however the senate trial has yet to take place. Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced the date of the trial on his Twitter, the week of February 8th.

As the trial approaches, there have been arguments over whether impeaching a president after his term is legal. The Washington Post’s examination of Article II, section 4 of the constitution deems that “On its face, it [the article] says only that officeholders are removed if in office when convicted; it does not say that an official must still be in office.” Essentially, the article never explicitly states a federal official must still be in their position, only that current officeholders are removed from their role if convicted.

Many have become disillusioned with American politics as a result of the uprising. People on both sides of the spectrum have condemned the riots, most famously Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), and former Vice President Mike Pence.

Though a majority of Republican and Democratic figures have spoken out against the insurrection, some such as Sen. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and author Candace Owens have fueled the fire with claims that antifa either orchestrated the unrest or several associates of the far-left movement were spotted in the crowd with the help of facial recognition technology. These claims have been proven false by reputable news organizations including The New York Times, BBC, and USA Today.

In the BBC’s article on who attended the capitol riots, the publication analysed the allegations that rioters such as Jake Angeli, coined the QAnon Shaman, and another rioter in a yellow hoodie were antifa members. These allegations were proven false, alongside similar theories about predictions on the Simpsons regarding the Capitol insurrection, sightings of martial artist Chuck Norris, and select images of Pro-Trump caravans.

Discourse over the riots have not only caused a rift within American politics, but within the Republican Party as well. Ten Republican representatives voted to impeach former President Trump on January 13th. Though this was a small portion compared to the 197 that voted nay to his impeachment, it shone the spotlight on a burgeoning crack within the party.

Many Republican senators and representatives such as Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO) have doubled down on their support for former President Trump. On the flip side, there lays a growing number of conservative officials who have distanced themselves from or even denounced him.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) is among the most prominent of this group and has become a critic of election fraud conspiracies and Donald Trump. In an interview with PBS, Kinzinger spoke on Trump’s statement after the riots, “I’m glad the president said what he said… but the bottom line is, he needed to be saying this a long time.” Many officials appear to hold the stance Trump has said too little, too late and in Kinzinger’s case, he believed Trump’s actions warranted impeachment.

The insurrection and Donald Trump’s actions leading up to and after have seeped into online spaces as well. Though some online interactions, including memes about eccentric rioters and other jokes, have been as lighthearted as anything surrounding an insurrection could be, an equal amount of these interactions are sobering. For instance, Donald Trump’s social media accounts were shut down, conservative-favored social media site Parler was taken offline, and discourse online has not been any less fiery than off.

Critics have compared the shutdown of Parler and Donald Trump’s social medias to Orwellian-level censorship. Senator Josh Hawley has been particularly vocal about these decisions and even published an Op-Ed in The New York Post detailing his concerns about “cancel culture” and “social credit.”

Those in favor of these shutdowns argue that the rhetoric spread on Trump’s social media and Parler was harmful. In a statement released by Twitter on January 9th, the corporation stated that they banned Trump’s account “due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” after he made two posts that, in the context of the January 6th riots, violated Twitter’s Glorification of Violence policy. As for Parler, webstores associated with Amazon, Apple, and Google were concerned about it’s loose moderation policy. Amazon pulled the plug on the website after it failed to update its policy, much to the frustration of right-wingers.

The consequences of the riot weren’t limited to online spaces or political chambers. Since it occurred, CNN reports around 150 people have been arrested in connection to the event. Among those arrested are the aforementioned QAnon Shaman, the man who carried a confederate flag around the Capitol building, and a rioter from Idaho. The charges faced for most of the arrested vary between disorderly conduct, violent entry, and trespassing in a federal building. Sentences for these crimes range from a few years to multiple decades.

When the Capitol was under siege, those watching from the outside could only predict how tremendous its influence would be. Almost every sector of American society has felt aftershocks in its wake. For now, the United States is a nation in dire need of repair. Only time will heal its fissures and reveal the insurrection’s true impacts.