Anniversary of the storming of the Capitol: “Thin layer of normality”

Status: 06.01.2023 07:51

Two years ago today, Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol – but there is no official commemoration. And even on the building today there is almost nothing to indicate the events.

Von Arne Bartram, ARD-Studio Washington

There are few places in the United States that are as charged with historical pathos as the Capitol in Washington. Exhibitions, films and guided tours repeatedly emphasize that this parliament is the heart of American democracy. That two years ago today a mob has stormed the Capitolis not mentioned at all.

That doesn’t surprise 22-year-old Connor from the US state of Utah. “I think it was a sad day for America – that our countrymen did something like this in our country,” he says. “But still, I don’t think we should see this day as part of American history.”

Transport a different image?

US media reports that tourist guides in the Capitol even have explicit instructions not to mention the storming of Parliament two years ago. Many visitors also do not want to talk about the topic.

One of the few is 21-year-old Ruby from Delaware. “I think people just don’t want to remember that day, even if it was very important for our history and we have to learn from it,” she says. “But the Capitol doesn’t want to convey the image of Americans invading their own House of Parliament. Instead, they want to show a positive image of the history of this House.”

Political reappraisal completed

A great official commemoration in the Capitol will probably not exist today. However holds US President Joe Biden gives a speech and gives medals to people who have done a great job in promoting democracy.

The political coming to terms with January 6 is officially complete. Shortly before Christmas, the competent investigative committee submitted its final report – and previously recommended that ex-President Donald Trump be charged with inciting violent riots, among other things. does this really happen the Minister of Justice has yet to decide.

So what role does January 6 still play in American collective memory? “The day showed people once again how divided we are,” says Ruby from Colorado. “We are a country, the United States, with two very polarized political parties. And how much we need to work together now to mend those rifts.”

commemorate on your own

Two years ago, January 6 was a life-changing experience for Stephen, a retiree from Colorado. That’s why he got on the plane for three hours especially for the anniversary to hold a silent protest here in front of the Capitol. He stands all alone in front of this huge building – where the mob used to storm up the steps.

Stephen only has a sign in his hand: On it is a picture of Trump and the words: “Dangerous, poisonous”. But the ex-president is not the only danger for him: “The talk on the TV channels of the extreme right worries me a lot. A lot of anger is building up behind a very thin layer of normality on the surface.”

Also internal party split

Of the Controversy over the position of Speaker in the House of Representatives In Stephen’s opinion, the past few days have shown that the rift is no longer just between liberal and conservative Americans, but increasingly also within the Republicans.

“If you listen to the rhetoric of parts of the Republicans during the House Speaker election – they are just as crazy as Trump. They are agents of chaos.”

And so, today, too, Americans look at this anniversary separately. Or ignore him, like the Capitol tours.

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