Call it a start, but nothing more than that. Because there’s still so much more to be done.
On Monday, two men involved in the Jan. 6 insurrectionist assault on our nation’s Capitol were charged with an attack on a member of the police force who died a day after the attack.
Police charged the two men with assaulting Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Those charges came just days after the Department of Justice said its investigation into the insurrection would be among the largest in our nation’s history, with charges perhaps ultimately being filed against as many as 400 individuals.
This is as it must be.
Though Republicans would like to see the domestic terrorist assault on the very heart of our democracy just fade from memory, like so much else in our era, this cannot be allowed to happen. Those involved must be held to account.
The story of the attack begins with the big lie that was repeatedly told by then-President Donald Trump, who asserted, falsely, that he had won November’s presidential election over Democrat Joe Biden. The election, he continued to claim, with the backing of Republicans in Congress and right-wing media outlets, had been stolen from him.
Though he supplied no evidence of this — because there could be none, since it simply wasn’t true — he made the claim, with his cronies going along with the phony tale.
But by saying it, over and over, with almost no one in the once-Grand Old Party pushing back, the defeated president whipped his backers into a frenzy that built until it culminated in the sacking of the Capitol in an effort to stop the peaceful transfer of power that has stood as a hallmark of our democracy since its founding.
That insurrection, that attempted coup, cannot be swept under the rug, cannot be dismissed as just one of those things. It must be treated as the horrific crime that it was.
Democracy, it’s often said, is a fragile thing. People may hear it, but they seldom take it to heart. After what happened on Jan. 6, everyone must understand that the statement is truer than we’d known. On the day of the Trump-fueled insurrection, our democracy was in peril, as were the lives of those charged with carrying it out.
The Justice Department must see its investigation through to completion.