A telling aftereffect of last year’s January 6 riot is how seriously America now debates whether it is headed towards a civil war, not metaphorically but literally. Some of this does look like mere alarmism, especially given the way in which various national institutions have both defended the presidential election of November 3, 2020 and prosecuted the subsequent invasion of the US Capitol.
But between the continuing hold of Donald Trump on the Republican Party even as he continues to insist that “the real insurrection … took place on November 3rd”, and the fact that an extremely marginalized Liz Cheney was the only Republican lawmaker to join in a moment of silence in the House chamber to mark the first anniversary of the January 6 riot yesterday, there are abundant signs of how deep remains what President Joe Biden yesterday called “a dagger at the throat of our democracy”.
How America holds together is of course of interest not just to itself, but also the entire world. That it has been a beacon of democracy is a truism, although we must understand democracy here as a journey rather than destination. America is still rich in resources for self-correction, to heal the most gaping social and economic wounds. But no “shining city on a hill” can be built upon post-truth politics and today it is Republicans who need to take the lead in fixing this ulcer. They must step up.
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