What actually happened on January 6, 2021?

For a year now, there has been a constant drumbeat in the press about January 6, 2020.  It went into overdrive this past week.

Congress created an investigative commission about it.  Hundreds were imprisoned for it.  It dominated headlines even when bigger stories, like the forced bankruptcies of thousands of businesses and the surrender and abandonment of our mission in Afghanistan, were dropped from the headlines like last week's racing results.

So what was it, really, that happened on January 6, 2021, meriting such constant attention?

Well, January 6 is the day that Christians celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany all over the world.  Most Western Christians focus on the gifts of the Magi, the visitors from the East, while many Eastern Christians' focus on that day is on the Lord's meeting with His cousin, John the Baptizer, in the River Jordan, at the beginning of His earthly mission some thirty years later.  Either way, January 6 is a big deal for every majority-Christian nation.

Such a date is usually a wonderful opportunity for public interest features and tourism articles, showing how different cultures celebrate the holiday, showcasing the varied architecture, artwork, and festivities in different churches and town squares all over the world.

But the press didn't focus on that.  Maybe nobody celebrated the Epiphany that year, from fear of COVID?

On January 6, within the halls of Congress, a formality was conducted: the final, formal, state-by-state count of the Electoral College vote for president in the 2020 election.  This was a severely troubled election; with allegations of more than usual vote fraud in half the states; more lawsuits than you can shake a bar association at, and the possibility that if the allegations were right, then not only might the winner of the presidency have been mis-declared, but hundreds or even thousands of other local, countywide, state, and federal races might have been awarded wrongly as well.

But they didn't focus on the process of finalizing the Electoral College process.  Rather than seriously addressing the question of what Congress could or should do to deal with the various disputes, particularly in the six battleground states of Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Nevada, they merely announced that the count was interrupted by a terrifying emergency, then completed later, in a hurry, by thoroughly spooked members of Congress and their staffs.

There are important questions...but for a solid year, the courts dismissed challenges on technicalities, and the press has condescendingly dismissed allegations as "disproven" when in fact the charges have never been given a chance to be proven or disproven.

January 6 was also the date of the final big rally of President Trump's presidency.  Some estimates indicate that some 80,000 to 100,000 people filled a big section of the Washington Mall, as the president delivered a speech, a bit over an hour long.  This might have been a worthwhile feature story as well, as a president greets his supporters and delivers what was, essentially, a farewell address.

But the press didn't want to share even the turnout estimates, let alone print extensive quotes from a president they disliked.  Maybe they can blame that on COVID, too?

One more thing happened on January 6.  While tens of thousands of Trump-supporters with familiar red MAGA hats and "Stop the Steal" signs were peacefully rallying on the Mall, a couple hundred of them were peeled off by unaffiliated rabble-rousers, a group of inciters who talked people into making a bolder play: going to the Capitol building and shouting within earshot of Congress.  These inciters (whom evidence points to being DNC and/or FBI operatives), unfortunately, were somewhat successful; the breakaway faction did indeed run up to the Capitol building, and while some logically stayed back, others pushed their way into the building. 

Unarmed and unorganized, the idea of calling this demonstration an "insurrection" is absurd.  But enough people entered the building — enough of them forcefully, enough of them loudly — to give the congressional leadership cover, to do exactly what they wanted to do: declare an emergency, interrupt the proceedings, and then race through the Electoral College counting process, shutting down any attempt to question the six disputed states, in an artfully designed atmosphere of fear and commotion.

That's what everyone has spent a year obsessing over.  Not the legitimate concerns of tens of millions of duplicate and questionable ballots flying through the mails, not the final rally of a populist president, not even one of the holy days of a Christian nation.  This last year has just been a relentless march to puff up that demonstration in the public mind and minimize all arguably more important issues.

When one studies the endless allegations of press bias, the coverage of January 6, 2021, constitutes a prime example.

Why do they cling to this one story?  Why do they exaggerate it so?

Because they know that it might work for them.  That's all.  Because they know that, with inflation impoverishing the country, with trans athletes destroying sports, with porous borders endangering our economy and our communities, with a weakened military and foreign policy leadership emboldening our enemies abroad...absolutely no other issue can possibly work in their favor.

You use what you have.

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based international transportation professional.  A onetime Milwaukee County Republican chairman, he has been writing a regular column in Illinois Review since 2009.  His book on vote fraud (The Tales of Little Pavel) and his new political satires on the current administration ("Evening Soup with Basement Joe") are available on Amazon.

Image via Max Pixel.

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