A Reflection on the Attack of the Capitol Building (Opinion) 

Alexandra Fennelly

One year has passed since our country had fear and anger run through its veins. News outlets were reporting every detail they could get and live videos from people at the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack spread like wildfire, causing chaos throughout our nation. Our world leaders that we look at as untouchable and are here to serve and protect us suddenly became vulnerable under attack. School had just been let out for our fellow Hampton Bays High School students on a random day when suddenly the news was turned on in every room of the house as it seemed as though the whole world had been flipped upside down within a matter of seconds. January 6, 2021, is now a day that will live on in history. 

Protesters went to the Capitol all morning in protest of the Electoral College votes surrounding the 2020 Presidential election to show support for former President Donald Trump. Trump had expressed his feeling on how he felt this election was “rigged” due to the voting via mail and by “systematically forging, altering, or discarding absentee ballots, among other illegal means,” according to Britannica

He encouraged his fans to show up to protest at the Capitol on January 6, saying, “Be there, it will be wild!,” and telling his supporters to “fight like hell” or “you’re not going to have a country anymore” via his Twitter. This started as a usual protest, with noise being made and aggression from a few protesters, but overall no harm was being caused. As time went by, this quickly changed from a normal political protest to a day full of horror for the United States. 

The attack started at roughly 2:11 pm when the first group of protesters entered the building. Protesters were breaking into the building holding deadly weapons and destroying property within. Senate members were all fearful for their lives with little to no information about what was going on inside the closed doors of the Capitol. Chaos arose and no one knew exactly what to do. According to Time.com, more than 725 people had been arrested for storming into the Capitol building that day. Many people were happy to hear this after so much damage was done during the raiding of the Capitol building. In March of 2021, Pew Research concluded based on a survey roughly 79%  of the Republicans they surveyed said that it was “very or somewhat important to find and prosecute the Capitol rioters.” 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia said that 31 defendants were sentenced to a period of “incarceration, with longer prison terms for those who engaged in violence or threats.” 

Disappointment was the first thing I felt when I saw our former President’s reaction to this attack. Although he never explicitly encouraged this attack to allow it to occur, hinting at any sign of support to these rioters is a crime on its own. Regardless of your feelings on the President during that period, I would think that anyone could agree once violence became a course of action for those protesters, his number one priority is the safety of all people, no matter if the President agreed or disagreed with their ideals for why they became violent. Tweeting out before the protest showing support for protesters and telling them it will “be wild”, also during a pandemic where large gatherings were not safe, was simply irresponsible and cost many people their lives. As a leader of our country, he has a responsibility to put the people first, but he didn’t. I believe he was too focused on his vendetta of proving how people wanted him to be president so the election had to be “rigged”, and in return a riot started and this became too much for any one person to handle.

The world of politics is very tricky to learn about. In our day and age, we have so many more young people that are enthusiastic about learning about how political systems are set in place as we see so many areas in life that need improvement. Our country is lacking in making strides as we are set in this place where conversation can no longer be peaceful. Everything, including our politics, is in such a strict divide. We lost the area where the most change is made. Change starts with compromise. Our leftists and right-wing politicians are so set on their ideals and leaders that they won’t even give the time of day to someone else to hear them out. This attack on the United States Capitol is just one example of the effect that this divide will bring if a change is not met.