Mob overruns US Capitol as US Congress attempts to certify 2020 election

Students and staff react to the violence.

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Search results of ‘Capitol Hill’ on Jan 6th, 2021

On January 6, 2021 the US Capitol was stormed by a mob of Trump supporters during the counting of the Electoral College votes of the November’s presidential election. 

Seven hours before the pro-Trump mob broke in to the Capitol Building, President Trump tweeted more unsupported claims about fraudulent voting and election results: “The States want to redo their votes. They found out they voted on a FRAUD. Legislatures never approved. Let them do it. BE STRONG!”

President Trump’s unfounded crusade against the integrity of mail-in-voting began as far back as April 8, 2020, when he tweeted “Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to state wide mail-in voting. Democrats are clamoring for it. Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans.” 

Thousands of miles away from the US Capitol, the students of Lake Stevens High School were learning of  the violence at the Capitol. News spreads fast during a pandemic with high tension, soon senior Emme Aylesworth received a Remind text from her AP Government teacher, Darrick Hayman, about the situation. 

“I didn’t expect that many people. They are protesting because Trump is telling them to. From the start, he was telling people that the election was a fraud without any evidence, and his supporters, not the Republican Party, his supporters will listen to him to help him stay in power, sounds familiar if you know your history,” senior Emme Aylesworth said. 

Sophomore Benson Ewing also found out about the protests when watching US Congress ratifying the 2020 election results. “Smashing windows, trespassing, and any other forms of violence is completely unacceptable and is not protected by the Constitution. Violence is never the right way to rectify problems,” Ewing said. However, he wasn’t shocked at the situation,“With the current political climate, rife with division and hate, I can’t say this wasn’t coming.”

Hayman was also watching the debate in Congress when it abruptly cut out to show the rising protest outside the Capitol. For the remainder of the day, news stations and social media circulated images of people scaling the building, breaking through windows, snapping photos in the rotunda, pilfering through the US Senate desks. One man took a moment for a photo sitting at Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s desk with his feet up.  

“I am disgusted,” Hayman said. 

After the election many believed Trump and his following would disperse into the void, but they have popped up again and again voicing their thoughts on the election with loyalty unshaken. 

After the Electoral College cast their votes in December, there was still a fraction of Trump’s base who believed the results to be fraudulent and inconclusive. It appears this final formality of confirming President-elect Biden to be President was the last chance some of the Trump base saw to circumvent a Biden presidency.

January 4, 2021, at a rally in Georgia, President Trump insinuated that Vice President Mike Pence, in his ceremonial role of confirming the election, could somehow prevent President-Elect Biden’s confirmation, telling a crowd of supporters, “I hope that our great vice president comes through for us. He’s a great guy, [sic] because if he doesn’t come through, I won’t like him quite as much.”

Josh Fountain, US History teacher said, “The last time and only time the US Capitol building was invaded like you saw on January 6 was in 1814 when the British attacked Washington DC during the War of 1812. The British soldiers burned the US Capitol to the ground…BUT never before has our nation seen the symbol of our democracy be overrun by its own citizens in such large numbers. This type of assault on our nation’s democracy really is a first of its kind.” He went on to say, “Words Matter! This attack on our nation’s Capitol building did not come out of thin air.  For months now politicians have been planting poisonous seeds of doubt in the electoral process that has guided our nation for over 200 years. These words have inspired confusion, distrust, and hate.” 

In light of yesterday’s violence, Fountain also leaves some hopeful words for the LSHS students, imploring them to “learn from this moment.  Learn that with your words you will have the power to inspire.  And I am confident you will choose to influence those around you with truth, hope, and love.”

Considering the historical making of 2020, the aftermath seems to be trickling into 2021. 

“This will be a major historical event and we are still in the middle of it,” Hayman concludes.