Support 100 years of independent journalism.

The US Capitol riot hearings shouldn’t be about partisan politics

If America doesn’t properly reckon with the events of 6 January 2021, its democracy may never come back.

By Emily Tamkin

WASHINGTON DC – I am 32 years old. This means that I have legally been allowed to vote for 14 years. In that time, I do not think I have ever voted for a Republican. I am telling you this to acknowledge that I have bias; this Friday newsletter is written by a person who believes that the US federal government’s role should be about trying to help the least fortunate among us.

I am also telling you this because it is both my hope and belief that if a Democrat legitimately lost an election and claimed that, actually, they won it, I would no longer support that person. Because as much as I want Democrats to win, greater than that, I want to continue to live in a democratic republic. That should be about something larger than a party, bigger than political affiliation. There was a time that I would have hoped that Republican leadership would have done the same. But that time has passed. 

The US Capitol riot hearings in Congress are in motion. Will they be able to definitively prove the former president Donald Trump’s claim that he won an election he lost led to the building’s storming on 6 January 2021? I don’t know. Trump’s lawyer asked to be put on a pardon list. Trump reportedly said that maybe his vice-president, Mike Pence, deserved to be hanged. Do we consider this “not legal”? That is, respectfully, above my paygrade.

What is not above my paygrade is this: You accept the results of elections or you don’t. You believe that all American citizens 18 years of age or older have the right to cast their ballot or you don’t. You believe that the American people choose their president or you don’t.

And if you don’t, that’s your choice. We all make choices all the time. But let us not pretend that the issue, as some Republican politicians have suggested, is that we are having a hearing on an attempted maybe-coup when we should be having one on gas prices. Gas prices go up and down. Our democracy, once gone, is maybe never coming back.

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

This article first appeared in the World Review newsletter. It comes out on Mondays and Fridays; subscribe here.

Content from our partners
The green transition can unlock 40,000 new businesses and £175bn
Building the business case for growth
“On supporting farmers, McDonald’s sets a high standard”

[See also: What the US Capitol riot hearings teach us about the slow decay of political norms]