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America... are you there?

Is the January 6th Commission really important or just a political weapon?

Will we ever actually know what happened on January 6th? Do Trump and the Republican party bear the responsibility? Were there really 'bad actors' present whose sole purpose was to anger the crowd and then use that 'mob mentality' to further their own agenda? How is it possible, given the summer of unrest and destruction that our country faced, that a mob of people were even able to storm our Capitol? Is it possible intelligence officials ignored all the signs that something more than protests were going to take place that day? Why weren't the capitol police more prepared?

These are only some of the questions that I have and would love answers to. Perhaps I'm the only one, but I believe that we will never be able to move on and fully trust the political process again if we don't seek these answers and so many more. How could we? Without the truth of what really happened how is it possible to move on as a country. I thought that our elected officials agreed, as they hashed out the details of a bipartisan commission that would look into the events of January 6th and, hopefully give us some insight.

But given the actions and comments from both Republican and Democrats since that day I know now, that is not the case. Once again, something that we should all want is being used as a political power play by those in government, down both sides of the isle. Let me tell you the disappointment runs deep at this point.

First is was Nancy Pelosi and her partisan commission, with seven commissioners assigned by the democratic party and just four by the Republican. Come on Nancy, really? How is one side of the nation supposed to believe anything that is found by a partisan body that the Democrats controls? Aren't we supposed to be trying for unity here? Then when Republican officials wanted the scope of the commission broadened to include the events of the past summer they were stopped dead in their tracks. Why, do you really not think that everything that happened last year might have had a slight impact on the actions of those people? I do, I personally believe that everything we faced as a nation last year should be included in the commission. From the horrible response that was taken, by both sides, in the face of a pandemic, to the unrest that was perpetuated and praised by a number of elected officials, and everything else in between.

Now as a 50/50 commission has been agreed to we have those that are still standing in the way of it going forward. Democrats still refuses to allow the commission a broader scope and still refuses to share the power equally within the commission itself. Why shouldn't we look into the civil rights protests and what caused them to turn violent? Shouldn't we examine the rhetoric used by some in office as they as they expressed their support of the destruction and criminal activities that were taking place?

The republican party seems to have lost interest in the commission itself at this point in time. Claiming that we have enough committees looking into it all ready and that we should let them do their jobs before forming a commission. Besides the 9/11 commission was not form until after all of the initial investigations were complete allowing commissioners easier access to the information. Rep. Kevin McCarthy said that the legislation is still partisan in nature, and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell sayin it's "slanted and unbalanced." Sen Lindsey Graham thinks that it has "politics written all over it." and that "people are already playing it as a political weapon." With former President Trump saying that it's nothing more than a "witch hunt."

But if the Democratic Party really thinks that this commission is needed so that we can stop it from ever happening again and it has nothing to do with political gain, why are certain members refusing to support the additional security measures? Measures that were found to be lacking after the initial investigation into the security failings on January 6th. This 1.9 billion dollar spending bill would pay back the National Guard and Washington D.C for the costs of the security that they have provided since January. It would provide Capitol Police with overtime pay, trauma resources, and retention bonuses. In addition it would add measures to aid the Capitol Police, in the case of an emergency, provide additional security for members of Congress, and cover costs to fortify the doors and windows of the Capitol. Surprisingly the new measures passed the house with a 213-212 vote. With Democratic Reps. Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley all voting no on the bill to provide extra security to the Capitol. After their shocking vote which went against party lines they released the following statement:

On January 6th, some Republican Members of Congress and the former President incited an insurrection that they refuse to accept responsibility for and continue to deny to this day. A bill that pours $1.9 billion into increased police surveillance and force without addressing the underlying threats of organized and violent white supremacy, radicalization, and disinformation that led to this attack will not prevent it from happening again. Increasing law enforcement funds does not inherently protect or safeguard the Capitol Hill or surrounding D.C. community. In fact, this bill is being passed before we have any real investigation into the events of January 6th and the failures involved because Republicans have steadfastly obstructed the creation of a January 6th commission.

The bill also does far too little to address the unspeakable trauma of the countless officers, staff, and support workers who were on site that day – dedicating fifty times more money to the creation of a ‘quick reaction force’ than it does to counseling. We cannot support this increased funding while many of our communities continue to face police brutality while marching in the streets, and while questions about the disparate response between insurrectionists and those protesting in defense of Black lives go unanswered.

While we appreciate the efforts of our colleagues to put forth a supplemental that provides necessary pay to our essential workers, there must be a comprehensive investigation and response to the attack on our Capitol and our democracy, one that addresses the root cause of the insurrection: white supremacy. This bill prioritizes more money for a broken system that has long upheld and protected the white supremacist violence we saw on display that day.

We look forward to working towards systemic policy solutions that meet the scale and scope of the crises our communities and our nation face.

Perhaps the "squad" should take a step back, look at the big picture, and realize that if we learned nothing else from the events of that day, it's that lack of police funding, riot gear, training, and other security measures are what allowed it to happen, regardless of who perpetuated the events. This bill would have addresses many of the root causes concerning the actual breaching of the Capitol. Perhaps those root causes are not concerning to them? Maybe they should think about how to achieve the answers they seek regarding the difference in police tactics, what if they are to be found by looking through all of the events of last year?

Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, ranking member of the Committee on Rules, told the house floor Tuesday why he would vote against this bill, criticizing the Democrats for moving to quickly on the bill. He believes that "a few additional weeks of discussion, could and likely would, have led to bipartisan product."

He went on to highlight the provision that would establish a Quick Reaction Force to assist Capitol police. Arguing that such a force should be under the control of Congress not the D.C. National Guard, in order to prevent Capitol Hill's further dependency on the executive branch of Government. Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma, claimed his no vote was because, "we don't even know what the money will be spent on."

If a bill that addresses some of the root causes pertaining to Jan. 6th has no chance of making it through the Senate, what chance does the January 6th Commission have? Perhaps it's time that our elected officials step away from their political ambitions and actually do their jobs. Try for some bipartisanship and address the voices and concerns of everyone not just those that put you in office. This is not about Republicans or Democrats, it's not about what this will do to the 2022 elections, it's about America and how we go forward from here. Will we find some kind of unity or will the division continue?

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