No, Jan. 6 wasn't worse than 9/11, nor is democracy at risk: Here's why

Jan. 6, 2021, was a horrific day for this country. Those involved in the Capitol riot – particularly those who attacked and harmed Capitol Police and law enforcement – should be fully prosecuted. Nothing like this should ever occur in the People's House again.

It’s how almost all Americans feel about that day, and anyone who attempts to justify or dismiss it is either profoundly blind, stupid or dangerous.

But is democracy hanging in the balance as a result, as many Democrats have been claiming in interviews this week? It's quite the opposite.

As evidenced after the 2020 presidential election, our democracy has never been stronger. That election – despite multiple lawsuits and audits from the Trump legal team – was upheld. The vote was certified on Jan. 6 and presided over by then-Vice President Pence despite sustained pressure from then-President Trump not to do so. And as for the "insurrection" argument, it is noteworthy that not one person has been charged with insurrection amid the 725 charges against people from across the country.

As for Trump's claim of a stolen election, that obviously is both petulant and wrong, yet to this day he continues to harp on it. But let's stop pretending that he's the first losing presidential candidate to cry about a stolen election.

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNo Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way The dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE called Trump “illegitimate” after her 2016 loss while also claiming the Russians helped him steal that election from her. Former President Carter also called Trump illegitimate, as did more than a few in the media. Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinUkrainian president praises Biden for reaffirming US support The pitfalls of Russia's plan to rewrite history in Ukraine Kazakhstan's crackdown is a frightening formula for authoritarians MORE, not the American people, put Trump in the White House, they argued without evidence. The anniversary of Jan. 6 went about the way one would expect from a political media perspective: President BidenJoe BidenNew York woman arrested after allegedly spitting on Jewish children Former Sen. Donnelly confirmed as Vatican ambassador Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE and Vice President Harris’s remarks were as partisan and divisive as they come. Biden – who also once agreed Trump was illegitimate and a Russian stooge – took aim at his 2020 opponent throughout his speech.



But it was the VP who truly went over the line. “Certain dates echo throughout history, including dates that instantly remind all who have lived through them where they were, and what they were doing when our democracy came under assault,” Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTlaib blasts Biden judicial nominee whose firm sued environmental lawyer These Senate seats are up for election in 2022 Trump by the numbers: 2024 isn't simple MORE said in remarks at the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on Thursday.

“Dates that occupy not only a place on our calendars, but a place in our collective memory: December 7, 1941, September 11, 2001, and January 6, 2021,” she added.

What an utter insult to the thousands murdered at Pearl Harbor more than 80 years ago and in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania on that fateful morning 20 years ago.

I was in New York City on 9/11, the morning the planes hit the World Trade Center, and can still recall the horrific images of at least 200 people jumping from the towers to avoid being burned to death. It is unfathomable how 1/6/2021 can responsibly be compared to 9/11/2001 or 12/7/1941. Those attacks led the U.S. into multiple wars that cost hundreds of thousands more lives.

No matter. The memo is out on the left: Make the lazy comparison.

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Oh, and while we're at it, cheapen what should have been a somber event held at the Capitol by bringing in... the cast of “Hamilton”? You can't make this up.


As for the Jan. 6 commission, it is already permanently split along party lines. Conservatives believe the process is impossibly politicized, especially when the Republicans on the committee – Reps. Adam KinzingerAdam Daniel KinzingerJan. 6 committee subpoenas leaders of 'America First' movement Kinzinger welcomes baby boy Clyburn says he's worried about losing House, 'losing this democracy' MORE (R-Ill.) and Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyHow Kevin McCarthy sold his soul to Donald Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden talks, Senate balks Supreme Court rejects Trump's bid to shield records from Jan. 6 committee MORE (R-Wyo.) – are vehemently anti-Trump. And when Reps. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanJan. 6 committee asks Ivanka Trump to sit for interview Rand Paul cancels DirecTV subscription after it drops OAN Sunday shows preview: Democrats' struggle for voting rights bill comes to a head MORE (R-Ohio) and Jim Banks (R-Ind.) were blocked from the committee, it was clear that this would not resemble, say, the 9/11 Commission, which was truly bipartisan.

For the rest of the week, you’ll see and hear soaring soundbites. Twitter will be on fire. And by Monday we’re not going to hear much about this anymore. Because most Americans care about the present and their future, particularly as it pertains to inflation, the pandemic, gas, crime, education, the border and China.

Jan. 6 — from Democrats to many in the media, it's the same old hype, same old result: Sound and fury, essentially signifying nothing.

Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist.