WASHINGTON—Today Rep. Ilhan Omar released the following statement to commemorate the one year anniversary of the January 6th insurrection.
“Today marks one year since the attacks of January 6th. I will never forget the experience of fearing for my life, my fellow members, and staff on a day designed to show the strength of our democracy. I will never forget the call I made to the father of my children, asking him to tell my children I loved them if I couldn’t.
“But the insurrection of January 6th was not solely significant for the havoc that it caused, the property destroyed, or the lives it cost. No, January 6th was significant because it was an attack on the seat of our democracy, specifically designed to undermine, interrupt and overturn the most fundamental of democratic processes—an election—on the day its results were to be certified. With each passing day, it becomes more and more clear that the outgoing President of the United States planned and executed the coup attempt, refusing a peaceful transition of power, pressuring election officials and his own administration to overturn results, and organizing a rally and march on the seat of government when his other efforts failed.
“I know personally what happens when a government fails, civil strife takes hold, and people are displaced. And I know that coup attempts are rarely one-time affairs.
“In fact, as we speak, Donald Trump’s allies in statehouses across the country are seeking to erect barriers to voting—largely affecting low-income people, people of color, and seniors. If that’s not enough, they are stripping power from nonpartisan election officials and rewriting state laws to seize partisan control over election certification.
“The next coup is not only possible; it has already begun.
“But the causes of the attempts to overturn our democracy run much deeper than Donald Trump. For decades, our institutions have been failing to meet the needs of the people they are tasked to represent. Inequality has skyrocketed, as has the cost of basics like healthcare and education, while the average American’s wages have not kept pace. Self-interested elites have prioritized profit and greed over the common good. Trust in our government’s ability to tackle the biggest problems we face—from healthcare to climate to food insecurity—has cratered as a result. Borrowing from demagogues around the world, authoritarians like Donald Trump filled the void, offering false promises while scapegoating immigrants, and religious and racial minorities.
“‘A democracy is more than a form of government; it is primarily a mode of associated living, of conjoint communicated experience,’ John Dewey once said.
“To stop the next coup, we must reinvigorate the democratic experience. That requires, at a minimum, passing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and strengthening election laws around the country to prevent the next coup. But it also requires reforming our institutions so that they are once again responsive to the core demands of our constituents. That requires abolishing fundamentally antidemocratic elements of our system like the Senate filibuster and the electoral college, and it requires major investments in childcare, education, health and climate like the Build Back Better Act.
“The coup attempt on January 6th was a warning for what’s to come if we don’t act. The work to prevent the next coup begins now.”