The American people, Republicans and Democrats alike, should soberly consider the violent assault on our Capitol causing revulsion and condemnation around the world.

In 1814, the British attacked Washington, setting fire to the Capitol, which was saved by a providential, torrential rainstorm, but not before the Senate was left only as “a most magnificent ruin.” 206 years later, soon following incendiary words of the president and his colleagues, our Capitol was again violated.

This violence was distinctively different from other violence in 2020 America. It was violence perpetrated on our majestic Capitol, the functioning soul of America’s democratic republic, at the very moment 534 elected senators and representatives from across America were solemnly gathered within to perform presidential transfer of power, election duties entrusted to them by our Constitution.

But the attack was on more than our Capitol and our representatives within it. It specifically targeted destruction of certified 2020 presidential electoral votes. The Constitution was enacted to place American political power in the American people, expressly not in an authoritarian executive. This attack on the Capitol, literally when the American people’s fundamental power was being exercised, was an attack on the American people and on their constitution.

Because the attack was on the Republic’s government while the Republic was constitutionally engaged in electoral behaviors, this violence was constitutional violence, from within, perpetrated on and injuring the American people. It does not compare to any other violence in 2020 America or any time in 250 years of American history. Nor should this treacherous constitutional violence be obscured by false equivalencies, as was the violence of the tragedy of 2017 Charlottesville by the despicable “There were fine people on both sides.”

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The insurrectional violence of Jan. 6, profoundly unique in American history, harmed all Americans and violated the heart of democracy.

John Erickson