The events of Jan. 6th should serve as a cocktail of betrayal, anger and shame for all Americans. We should all be heartbroken. Some weren’t surprised, but shocked, while others questioned for the first time an identity they’ve clung to proudly and defended without hesitation.

Some have known that the America First mentality and Proud Boy patriotism of those who ardently support Trump are as toxic to our democracy as the denial of science, rejection of truth, and denouncement of equality.

For others, the actions of those who stormed the temple of our Democracy and unveiled the inconsistency of who we claim to be and who many Americans have always been, served as a sudden and rude awakening. Dire consequences percolated as Republicans sat idly by refusing to condemn the hatred, conspiracy theories, and treachery coming from the president, Republican leaders, and fellow Americans. Their support of Trump and complacency to act on his dangerous rhetoric and failed leadership over the past four years helped enable the events that transpired on Jan. 6th. The events of that day serve as undeniable evidence of the threat to our democracy that Trump and those he’s called “great patriots” truly are.

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For most Americans who watched chaos erupt at the Capitol Jan. 6th will be an infamous day in our history. For some, it will also be the day they finally recognized that the man with whom they’d entrusted their American pride, values and priorities for nearly four years was willing to sacrifice the sanctity of democracy, the peaceful transition of power, and the safety of the men and women who represent our country for his self-preservation.

The transition of power, no matter how tumultuous it proves to be, can’t come soon enough. There’s too much to prioritize above a president’s personal agenda. Many of us have clung to Jan. 20th for its promise of progress and brighter days ahead. It’s a day of tradition, resolution and affirmation of what’s best for all Americans and our country.

This year, it’s a return to democracy and an opportunity for both parties to rebuild, reconnect and reevaluate what it truly means to be an American. However, we are naïve to believe that Jan. 20th will close this dark chapter of our nation’s history of which we’ve only begun to endure.

We are days away from restoring stable leadership and putting the good of the American people above the instable, corrupt and narcissistic man who tainted the pride many of us once felt to be American. However, his time in office unearthed and nurtured a segment of the population many of us were ignorant to or ignored.

On Jan. 20th we’ll turn the corner and begin to build the America we thought we once were, however, there are millions who will remain after Trump’s gone who will do their best to maintain the momentum he gave them. The road ahead will not be easy, but the darkness of America no longer lurks in shadows or underground. We can’t abandon or forget the millions of Americans Trump enabled, so we’ll drag them kicking and screaming, blinding them with light, as we begin to paint the cracks in our country with gold.

Josie Danz is an avid runner, reader and writer. She’s a graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead who lives, works and believes in downtown Fargo. She’s a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion pages.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.