Speak truth about Jan. 6

To the editor:

“What I saw was just a war scene. … There were officers on the ground. … They were bleeding. They were throwing up. … I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people’s blood. … It was carnage. It was chaos.” — Police Officer Caroline Edwards, describing the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

In one of the greatest acts of revisionism in U.S. history, former president Donald Trump calls the Capitol attackers hostages and patriots and promises to pardon them on day one of his presidency. He also defends rioters’ “Hang Mike Pence!” chants, calls Jan. 6 “a beautiful day” and often starts his rallies with a version of the National Anthem performed by Jan. 6 prisoners.

Some GOP members of Congress, including House Conference Chair and potential vice presidential candidate Elise Stefanik (R-NY21), have followed Trump’s lead. Remarkably, the Republican National Committee calls the Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol a “persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”

Despite injuries to over 100 police officers, Trump has stated: “It was zero threat, right from the start, it was zero threat. … Some of them went in, and they are hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know, they had great relationships.”

According to Reagan-appointed judge Royce Lamberth, “(I)n my 37 years on the bench, I cannot recall a time when such meritless justifications of criminal activity have gone mainstream. … I have been shocked to watch some public figures try to rewrite history … But the Court fears that such destructive, misguided rhetoric could presage further danger to our country.”

On Jan. 6, D.C. police officer Michael Fanone, a father of three, was repeatedly shocked with a stun gun at the base of his skull by Daniel Rodriguez and beaten until he was unconscious. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and heart attack. Rodriguez was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in prison and yelled, “Trump won!” as he was led out of the courtroom.

According to Fanone, “So many of the people I put my life at risk to defend are downplaying or outright denying what happened.” He is determined to use his platform “for the sole purpose of making people stop describing Jan. 6 as anything other than what it was: a horrific day in which a lot of police officers almost died.”

Donald Trump should rethink what he means when he talks about “making America great again.” Certainly, a great nation honors the sacrifices of its police officers even when it’s not politically convenient to do so.

So much is at stake. Historian Timothy Snyder reminds us that it is “our collective trust in common knowledge that makes us a society.” At this critical time for our democracy, let’s heed the words of Voltaire: “Whoever can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Terry Hansen

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


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