Viewpoint: Third anniversary of Jan. 6 insurrection brings call to defend democracy

Viewpoint: Third anniversary of Jan. 6 insurrection brings call to defend democracy
Karen Rubin, Columnist


President Biden, in his first speech of the 2024 campaign, marked the three-year anniversary since the Jan. 6 insurrection and made it clear that this election is about democracy.

“Whether democracy is still America’s sacred cause is the most urgent question of our time, and it’s what the 2024 election is all about. Democracy is on the ballot, Biden said. “Your freedom is on the ballot…Without democracy, no progress is possible.  Think about it.  The alternative to democracy is dictatorship — the rule of one, not the rule of ‘We the People.’…Democracy means having the freedom to speak your mind, to be who you are, to be who you want to be.  Democracy is about being able to bring about peaceful change.  Democracy — democracy is how we’ve opened the doors of opportunity wider and wider with each successive generation, notwithstanding our mistakes,” he declared.

“But if democracy falls, we’ll lose that freedom.  We’ll lose the power of ‘We the People’ to shape our destiny.  If you doubt me, look around the world.  Travel with me as I meet with other heads of state throughout the world.”

In contrast, Trump’s first campaign speech, and every one after that, committed himself to “retribution, revenge,” weaponizing the Department of Justice to persecute anyone who looks like they are doing well against him, to literally tear up the Constitution, execute the Insurrection Act, and being dictator (for the first day). Mimicking the rhetoric of Hitler, he has called asylum seekers “vermin” who are “poisoning the blood of our nation.”

And by promising to pardon the Jan. 6 insurrectionists (“hostages”) suggesting that his own top military general be executed (for showing loyalty to the Constitution instead of him), he has weaponized and routinized political intimidation – giving the OK to his followers – in his campaign to take power.

But unlike Trump’s first term, where he bumbled about and initially had people around him who knew their oath to uphold the Constitution and provided some guardrails to derail his worst impulses, he has a plan – Project 2025 – and assembled a ruthless but competent team to do what his own incompetency could not: make him dictator.

“Hear me clearly,” Biden declared. “I’ll say what Donald Trump won’t.  Political violence is never, ever acceptable in the United States political system — never, never, never.  It has no place in a democracy.  None. You can’t be pro-insurrectionist and pro-American.”

Meanwhile, Trump goads and baits the very democratic institutions he attempted to destroy and has declared he would fully destroy if he regains the levers of power. He has learned after a lifetime of criminal activity how to manipulate the judicial system. He believes his hand-picked Supreme Court justices and those bought and paid for by Leo Leonard and Harlan Crow, will conveniently set aside the plain language of the 14th Amendment that bars anyone who has taken the oath of office who engages or supports insurrection to ever holding office again in order to keep their guy on the ballot.

Actually, Biden and the Democrats have the best chance of winning in 2024 if Trump is the Republican candidate because he is a proven top vote getter for Democrats. But that is no reason to establish a precedent that one man can be above the law, immune from accountability, as if a king, a tyrant, a dictator, a despot.

Tom Suozzi, who is running in NY-03’s special election on February 13 to return to Congress, told the Rally for Democracy, “Keep fighting for what we know is right, so the greatest country in the world, the best hope for the world, is saved.” © Karen Rubin/

Long Island activists marked the third anniversary of the Jan. 6 Insurrection with declarations to stand up to preserve democracy against those who would install an autocrat, to be engaged in the political process and most of all, vote.

“Jan. 6 was a wake-up call how fragile democracy is. We didn’t want the day to go by without showing up in nonviolent support of democracy,” said Rachel Klein of Engage Long Island that organized a Rally to Defend Democracy on the steps of the Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola.

People are justifiably concerned – climate disasters, women’s reproductive freedom, gun violence epidemic, the border crisis, the Mideast War and Ukraine, Dr. Eve Krief told the rally. “It’s overwhelming, but none of these issues will matter if we don’t have democracy with which to raise our voices. We have to focus, dig deep. It can feel like the weight of world is on our shoulders. But if our democracy fails, democracies around the world will crumble. We are doing this for ourselves, our children’s futures and the world. We have to defend democracy. We can’t let democracy die on our watch.”

The headliner was Tom Suozzi, who is running in NY-03’s special election on February 13 to return to Congress where he served for six years, filling the vacancy left by the disgraced, expelled fraudster George Santos, and take back the seat from Republicans. Suozzi was in Congress – in the gallery – as a violent mob invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“You don’t understand how powerful you are, how important being here today is,” Suozzi said. “Keep fighting for what we know is right, so the greatest country in the world, the best hope for the world, is saved.”

NY-03’s special election on Feb 13 is key to weakening the Republican majority, which has kept a stranglehold on advancing the sacred cause of democracy – everything from voting rights, women’s reproductive rights, climate change, gun violence prevention, and aid to Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and the border. The House GOP now threatens to shut down government unless Biden goes along with cruel anti-immigrant policies.

If Mike Johnson – one of the leaders of the House effort to stop the Electoral Vote count and install Trump instead of Biden as president – remains speaker on Jan. 6, 2025, it is highly likely he will orchestrate replacing Biden electors with Trump’s or whoever the Republican candidate is – especially if there is no accountability for Trump and the congressional insurrectionists. And the Trump Supreme Court justices, who have demonstrated that they will twist the Constitution to achieve extremist ends, would likely back whatever keeps Republicans in power.

The first tests of whether one of fundamental foundations of democracy will hold will come soon: will Justice Clarence Thomas, whose wife Ginni was engaged in the Jan. 6 insurrection plot, recuse himself? Will this so-called “originalist” super majority on the court follow the plain language of the 14th Amendment and find Trump ineligible to ever again hold federal office or will they clear the path for a self-declared dictator wannabe?


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