WASHINGTON — Today marks a full year since violence descended upon the United States Capitol building. As the nation continues to grapple with the aftermath of such an appalling and shocking event, Common Defense both reflects on the event from veterans’ perspectives and looks towards building a secure democracy where all Americans are safe from political violence and white supremacy.
Common Defense Executive Director Jose Vasquez released the following statement:
“One year ago today, a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump gathered at Capitol Hill in an effort to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential Election. This assault on the democratic institutions of our country was motivated not by a love for this country, but by hatred, and a belief that violence could be used to undermine the electoral process.
“We spend this day remembering the lives that were lost during the insurrection at the Capitol Building and the damage done to our political institutions. The rhetoric used by former President Trump and other Republicans is designed to fuel this violence, creating a lack of trust in our country’s foundation. They, along with all others involved with the planning and execution of this attempted coup, must be held accountable for their actions before they try again–because next time, they may be successful.
“As veterans, we risked our lives for democracy, and to watch our own crumble right before our eyes was appalling, terrifying, and frustrating, to say the least. January 6th was the physical manifestation of the slow-moving coup that started with the Big Lie after the election and has continued since in state legislatures across the country. Republicans, some of whom participated in the Insurrection, have introduced hundreds of voter suppression measures designed to restrict ballot access and make it easier for them to steal the next election. These measures also undermine the freedom to vote for those who put their lives on the line for this country–the disabled vets who rely on early and mail-in voting, the same measures the GOP has already severely restricted in states around the country.
“We use this day not only to look back but also to look forward. That’s why we are using today as a launch point for our 2022 campaign to demand accountability and secure our democracy. Just like our elected officials, we veterans swore an oath to protect our Constitution and our democracy, including the freedom to vote. We call for President Joe Biden and the rest of our elected officials to make good on those oaths like we are making good on ours. To prevent another insurrection, we must act now to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, to restore faith in our electoral system, and to combat the dangerous rhetoric of white supremacy within our nation.
“History books will surely never forget the events of 2021. Rest assured that the vets at Common Defense will work to make the following year equally as memorable, but for its progress on voting rights and passage of strong democracy safeguards rather than a crumbling democracy–because another insurrection cannot happen, not on our watch.”