The whitewashing and rewriting of American history is now underway thanks to the disgraceful defeat by Senate Republicans of the Jan. 6 Commission.

Most Republicans in Washington want you to forget that January 6 was one of the worst days in American history. A day when the Capitol was breached for the first time since British troops torched it in 1814. A day when the Confederate flag was marched through the Capitol for the first time. A day when 140 police officers were injured, and seven people died.

The defeat of the commission once again points out the absurdity and unfairness of the filibuster in what’s supposed to be a democracy. It’s baffling and dangerous that 35 votes against something in the U.S. Senate defeated 54 votes in favor of something.

Two of the senators voting no were North Dakota’s very own Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven. Both of them gave the lame excuse that committees were a better way to address the issue.

George Washington must have had Cramer and Hoeven in mind when he said, “It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.”

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

The rejection was an insult to all the police officers who put their lives on the line to protect members of Congress. It was an insult to the family of police officer Brian Sicknick, who died as a result of the violent coup attempt. Sicknick’s mother, Gladys, rightfully called the vote, “A slap in the faces of all the officers who did their jobs that day.”

Basically, Cramer, Hoeven and 33 other Republican senators said to Gladys Sicknick, “That’s too bad about your son, but we have a corrupt former president who incited this riot to protect.”

Not to be overlooked are the five Republican House members from Minnesota and North Dakota who shamefully all voted against the commission. Minnesota Rep. Michelle Fischbach complained, presumably with her fingers crossed, that the commission could be politically influenced or biased.

Actually, this proposed commission was modeled after the 9/11 Commission. It would have been independent, bipartisan, and excluded members of Congress. Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., a co-sponsor, said, “This legislation is not about partisan politics. It is about finding the truth and addressing the vulnerabilities of our security apparatus.”

Instead, we have several Republicans acting like Jan. 6 was no big deal. Rep. Andrew Clyde, R-Ga., even likened it to “a normal tourist visit.” Yes, the insurrectionists with their zip ties, bear spray and tactical gear, who assaulted police officers, shouted racial slurs at Black police officers, trashed the building, chanted they wanted to hang Mike Pence and built a gallows, were merely heading to the Capitol gift shop.

We need to know how this attempted coup was organized and took place, why there were intelligence and communication failures, why the Capitol Police were unprepared, what role Donald Trump played, why the response to the riot was so slow, and how to make sure it never happens again. Sadly, that’s going to be a lot harder now.

Shaw is a former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director. Email

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