Politics Weekly: Accountability must be prioritized after Capitol attack


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On January 6, pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol building, and Republicans in Congress need to be held accountable.

On Wednesday, January 20, 2021, Joe Biden was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States. As he enters office amid unprecedented circumstances, many will ask for bipartisan unity. However, leaders, including the incoming president, must prioritize accountability and justice over calls for unity.

The United States recently witnessed a historic insurrection and attack on the U.S. Capitol. From Senator Josh Hawley raising his fist in solidarity with terroristic insurrectionists to more than half of Republicans in the House of Representatives voting to reject the legal, legitimate results of elections in Arizona and Pennsylvania, numerous Republicans at the highest levels of government hold responsibility. The outgoing President Donald Trump, too, bears great responsibility for inciting insurrection. He has been impeached for such high crimes, and the continued support many leaders have shown him is despicable.

Democrats will now control both houses of Congress and the Presidency. Should they choose, leaders can pass a progressive agenda without regard for Republican objectives. In order to recover from current crises and help Americans, this is the path Democratic leadership must take. Even without the issues surrounding insurrection, to compromise with Republicans, who oppose basic rights and programs for millions of Americans, would be disastrous and wrong. However, those issues surrounding insurrection cannot be disregarded.

Congressmembers who incited and embraced violence, tried to reject democracy in a disastrous coup attempt, and endangered other members and workers in the Capitol must be expelled from the Congress. Representative Cori Bush, a freshman Democrat from Missouri, has introduced legislation to begin investigations and then carry out those expulsions. The impeachment of President Trump with days remaining in his term was another positive step in holding those responsible accountable. People who tear this country apart cannot then be embraced in efforts to move forward in unity.
Real harm was caused by those who incited violence. People died. A historic place was desecrated. Disgraceful symbols such as the Confederate flag were brought into the Capitol, where they had never entered before. Democracy has endured, but not without being potentially weakened in lasting ways, should changes not be made and accountability had.

From police officers complicit in crimes to the President of the United States, from U.S. Senators to the rioters themselves, every person responsible for attacking American democracy must be held to account for what they did. Then, maybe unity and bipartisanship can be considered as America moves forward towards a progressive future and justice for all.

This is the first edition of Politics Weekly, a new Global Commentary online series from Eastside. Check back weekly for opinions on the latest news in American politics.