January 6th: A Day to Remember

Jessica Gunther, Staff Writer

On January 6th, the United States Capitol was stormed by supporters of former president Donald J. Trump, in an attempt to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election. Since Joe Biden won the election on November 3rd, 2020, Trump had accused the election of being fraudulent and encouraged his supporters to fight on his behalf.

“I feel like it was a strong-armed attempt, by people who may or may not believe that the election was stolen from Donald Trump to strongarm others into believing that the election was fraudulent,” global perspectives teacher Mark Adamski said. “But I also saw and heard from people who said that this is a revolution.”

A vast majority of people who participated in this protest became violent, and eventually breached the barriers by surpassing police barricades and breaking windows in order to enter the building. There were reports of pipe bombs in the building, and congresspeople had to either hide or evacuate the building altogether. 

History.com said, “One woman was fatally struck by police gunfire inside the Capitol during the mayhem and a Capitol Police officer died a day later from injuries he sustained while confronting the rioters. Three other people died in the Capitol area after experiencing medical emergencies during the riot,”

That evening, Biden spoke out soon after on both Twitter and a national address from a stage in Wilmington, Ohio.  He said, “Let me be very clear, the scenes of chaos at the Capitol do not reflect the true America, do not represent who we are. What we’re seeing is a small number of extremists dedicated to lawlessness. This is not dissent. It’s a disorder. It’s chaos. It borders on sedition and it must end, now. I call on this mob to pull back and allow the work of democracy to go forward”. 

Since then, both left-wing and right-wing voices have tried to hold Trump accountable for the violence and chaos. After inciting the insurrection through Twitter, Trump released a short video, asking the protesters and rioters to leave. 

According to CNN, “His statement was peppered with sympathy, telling the rioters, ‘We love you, you’re very special.’”

Following his calls to action leading up to the event, he was officially banned from Twitter on January 8th, and several social media platforms thereafter, as well as making history for being the first US president to be impeached by the House twice. 

With this event and others throughout the past few years, it has been difficult to process global events and keep up with them when you’re only hearing one side. With a sea of information at your disposal and varying perspectives,  it’s important to gather information from more than one source. 

“I’m sure we all have the certain news stations that we probably pay attention to, and I think that it’s okay to use those sources. I think the best place to go for information would be a simple Google Scholars Search, and usually, the sources that have been vetted will come up,” history teacher Amanda Williams said. “I think anything can be viable as long as there are facts to support that. But everyone has misinformation one way or the other, and everyone has a bias, so I think as long as you are accessing multiple sources and reviewing the author and their previous work.”

 Without using multiple sources for your research, you can’t receive all of the facts available and the differing perspectives. When you don’t know what to believe or who to listen to, this can cause immense stress and confusion, as many felt during the recent Capitol siege. The stress and anxiety caused by political events and the pandemic have caused many physical and mental problems for adults and children. 

In the article “The Mental toll of the Capitol siege on the American psyche” published by ABC News they cited, “While our bodies are designed to have periods of action followed by periods of relaxation, the constant threats over the past 10 months lead to chronic stress; that is, an inability to escape the fight-or-flight response”.

 Whether caused by family members with conflicting views, empathy, or direct exposure to several stressors at once, anyone has the capability to feel overwhelmed when faced with constant anxiety from global events. Fortunately, there are several coping mechanisms. 

Psychology Today recommends the following: taking a break from social media, limiting news consumption, practicing relaxation techniques such as mediation and listening to music, practicing mindfulness, and getting adequate rest, exercise, and nutrition to help with recovery from the events at the Capitol, in particular. 

When attempting to cope with stress, it’s important to prioritize your mental health and set boundaries. Healing from traumatic events takes time and rest, and in the meantime, experts say you should hold onto hope that everything will turn out okay in the end. Many see the past events as something that could eventually unite us, as we will have prevailed together as a country to overcome threats to our health and democracy. 

Williams noted that watching the Capitol riots was like watching 9/11 all over again, “It was awesome (after 9/11) to see the country come together, and so I was kind of hoping for the same thing. I don’t know if I’ve seen that yet, but at least that evening congress still came back and cast their votes. The government continued to prove itself, and that says democracy was going to win no matter what.”