The peaceful transition of power is what makes the United States of America one of the greatest countries in the world. Every four years on January 20, a president-elect, an ordinary citizen, stands before our country and takes the oath of office during the inauguration. The inauguration is a special day, which brings all three branches of our government together at one time to celebrate a new president. The 2020 election was not without its challenges. The global pandemic made the election much more challenging, but the motivated American public found a way to vote – and in record numbers. On January 20, 2021, Joseph Biden was elected as the 46th president of the United States.
President Trump, the 45th president of the United States of America, and his ardent supporters spread some outlandishly wrong election lies, disinformation, and conspiracy theories about how the 2020 election was “stolen.” Yes, this is in quotes – because it’s part of the “Big Lie.”
The 45th president declines to mention that he’s won only one 2020 election lawsuit – and has lost more than 60 times (the most recent loss was in May 2021).
The Big Lie led to a violent insurrection – let’s call it what it is – right-wing nationalist domestic terrorism - on Capitol Hill. Five people died. And the numbers could have been much higher. As a result of the insurrection, residents living in Washington, DC and the Virginia communities of Arlington County and Alexandria were placed under state or city ordered curfews that evening. I will never forget that night. I’m an Alexandria resident.
Today, there were not enough votes in the United States Senate to legislatively mandate an independent commission for investigation of the incidents that led to the January 6, 2021, Capitol Hill insurrection.
The vote was 54 votes in favor and 35 against the commission (several senators did not vote, which is also a problem). This should have been a slam dunk as they say in basketball. Similar to the absolute model of independent commissions, the 9-11 Commission, sunlight is absolutely important here to investigate the origins of the insurrection so it never happens again and that people can be held accountable for their actions.
Sen. McConnell reportedly asked fellow GOP senators to vote – as a favor to him – against the commission (and also not meet with fallen Capitol Hill Officer Sicknick’s mother as McConnell thought it would bias this particular vote). Politics should absolutely not play a part in combatting and providing sunlight on domestic terrorism (especially on our institutions of government).
This is a shameful day in the United States Senate.
Worner, Alexandria, Va., is a graduate of Mayville (ND) State University, Virginia Tech and Georgetown University alumnus.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.