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One year later, Congress is more divided than ever

WASHINGTON (AP), -- A deeply divided Congress will soon show the world a very unsettled perspective from the U.S. Capitol. Rather than a national crisis pulling the country together; the deadly riot of Jan. 6, 2021 seems to have only pushed lawmakers further apart.

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One year later, Congress is more divided than ever

Some members plan to observe a moment silence in commemoration of the Capitol Insurrection's anniversary. Others will educate Americans about the functioning of democracy throughout the day.

Others don't believe the worst domestic attack on Congress in American history should be forgotten.

Their position on remembrance is largely due to their political party. This jarring discord shows that the country's lawmakers are still at odds about how to unify a nation.

Donald Trump, the president who had been legitimately and fairly defeated, told his followers to fight like hell to stop Joe Biden's certification and promised to march with them to Capitol. But he didn't. Five people were killed in the immediate aftermath and hundreds were charged and liable for millions in property damage.

The lack of a bipartisan resolution to assign blame for the siege and acknowledge the threat has damaged trust among legislators, made ordinary legislative disputes potential crises, and opened the door for more violence after the next disputed elections.

All of this sets Congress on a course toward a very uncertain future. Did Jan. 6 mark the end of an era?

Joanne Freeman, an American Studies professor at Yale, said that Jan. 6 should be considered. She noted that "people should think about the fragility of democratic democracy." Her book, "Field of Blood," chronicles violence and bloodshed in Congress during the years prior to the Civil War.

Freeman pointed out that there are few historical parallels and warned that "things people used to take for granted about the functioning of democratic politics cannot be taken for granted anymore."

The snow-covered Capitol Hill is still reeling from Jan. 6, and the tensions that grew between legislators who feared for their lives on that day, as well as those who have lost everything.

The Capitol was a symbol of American democracy's openness before the riot. However, most people are unable to visit the Capitol due to the increased violence against lawmakers and the coronavirus pandemic public safety concerns. Because Democrats don't trust their Republican counterparts not to bring guns to the House during proceedings, representatives must pass metal detectors.

Rep. Jamaal Bamman, D.N.Y., stated that every time he leaves his office, he checks the hallways for possible threats. This feeling, which he described as being a Black American but that he didn't expect as a member, he said.

"The Capitol does not have freedom of movement, without fear. Bowman stated that he is a member of Congress.

Bowman asked Biden Jan. 6 to be declared a National Day of Healing.

Senator John Cornyn, Texas, has no plans to commemorate the event, and he doesn’t believe others should.

He said, "This is already a way too politicized thing, and that would only further exacerbate it."

Trump's false claims about voter fraud continue to cause division. They are met mostly by silence from Republicans in Congress, who refuse to dispute his version of events.

After hours of fighting the rioters, police sometimes engaged in hand-to–hand combat, nearly two-thirds (or more) of the House Republicans and a few GOP senators voted against the certification of the election results. Democratic colleagues were stunned that the Republicans would continue to raise objections after all this. Views hardened.

Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley, who tried to stop the certification following the riot, shrugged off questions and said he's had enough conversations about it.

Ted Cruz, a Republican Senator from Texas, said that he didn't second think about voting to block certification.

Cruz stated, "I am proud to have led the effort to protect voter integrity." Cruz called the siege "unacceptable" and a terrorist attack, but he said that Democrats' insistence on no mass voter fraud only "inflamed the divisions."

The Associated Press investigated and found that there were less than 475 instances of voter fraud in 25.5 million ballots in the six states disputed by Trump. This is a small percentage.

The country emerged from the Jan. 6th without a clear roadmap for the future, unlike past traumas such as the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Democratic Rep. Mikie sherrill, a former Navy pilot, stated that people have often recalled in "these sort of bewildered tones", how united the country was on Sept. 11, 2001, as compared to today.

Sherrill stated, "It feels as a big break from our history."

This is not only a breach of trust among colleagues but also a loss in common national commitment to democratic rules and norms.

Routine disputes about ordinary issues in Congress could quickly turn into menacing threats. This was the case when several Republican legislators started to receive violent messages, including a threat of death, after they voted for a bipartisan infrastructure bill, which Trump opposed.

Two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney (Republican) and Adam Kinzinger (Republican), are being expelled from their party.

Despite numerous court cases and published reports proving that there is no widespread voter fraud in the United States, Trump's baseless claims have been the party standard. This has led to what some refer to as a "slow motion insurrection," where his supporters manipulate the system of local elections in ways that are disturbing voting rights advocates.

Democrats are intensifying their efforts to approve the stalled election legislation, which seeks to increase ballot access and protect election officials against harassment. To overcome the Republican filibuster, however, the Democrats are looking at dramatic rules changes in order to pass the bill in the equally divided Senate.

Many Trump supporters claim they are fighting for democracy. According to an APNORC poll, two-thirds of Americans described it as extremely or very violent. However, only four in ten Republicans remember the attack that way.

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) stated that the false story of an election being rigged or stolen continues "to be spun, spun, and spun."

She stated, "The danger comes when people act upon it."

However, unlike the hundreds of Americans who were prosecuted in Jan. 6, Congress members are not subject to a reprimand and could even be rewarded.

Both Cruz and Hawley are potential presidential candidates in 2024.

California GOP Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who was initially critical of the insurrection but rushed to Mar-a-Lago in an attempt to make things right with Trump, is still on track to be the next House Speaker if Republicans win control of the House with Trump's support.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican Representative of Georgia, has seen her profile and fundraising soar as she supports Trump's baseless theories. She also decries the treatment given to defendants for their part in the attack.

"We are in this no mans land, where basically everything goes and that's very unsettling for a legislative body," stated Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt). "And it's really unsettling for the country."

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