Wisconsin Speaks Out About Attack On Capitol
January 12, 2021
On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, the United States Capitol Building—the People’s House—was invaded by a group of armed rioters who had, just minutes before, been listening to speakers—the president among them—urging them to “take back the steal.” These people believed the presidential election of November 2020 should have gone to Donald Trump—did go to Donald Trump. But for whatever reason, the election had been “stolen” from him.
They planned to take it back by interrupting Congress’s confirmation of the electoral votes.
Some Wisconsinites have since made their positions known. Both Republican Reps. Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau and Tom Tiffany of Minocqua voted not to confirm Arizona’s and Pennsylvania’s votes. They each admitted that, if they’d had the chance they would have disenfranchised thousands of Wisconsin voters by voting not to confirm Wisconsin’s electoral votes.
The Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin’s newspaper of record, published an editorial on January 8 condemning their actions, calling the representatives “two antagonists of democracy.” The paper also condemned US Senator Ron Johnson, a Republican from Oshkosh, who at the last minute voted for confirmation, despite having previously promoted the falsehood that the election had been stolen. “This cannot be forgiven,” the editorial stated in calling for their resignations.
Not every Wisconsin citizen agrees with The Wisconsin State Journal’s assessment. The St. Croix Republican Party of northwestern Wisconsin refused to take down the message on its web site urging citizens to “prepare for war.” The message asserted the false claim of an election rigged against Donald Trump. Even though the state’s GOP asked the group to remove that message, the group refused.
What do average citizens in Wisconsin think about the attack on the Capitol?
“I wasn’t surprised something happened,” said Charlotte*, a northeastern Wisconsin resident. “After listening to the president’s words to his backers for months, I expected someone to do something. I didn’t expect Trump to send them to the Capitol. I was happy the vote took place, (but) I worry about what could happen next.”
David*, an artist and professor, lives in the Chippewa Valley area. “Our country’s inability to cope with white supremacy and right-wing extremism has placed us in a position where the truth is hidden, denied, or ignored for a huge portion of the population,” he said. David explained that the ability to question what you yourself believe is an important virtue. “Empathy is a huge asset… We have to stop isolating ourselves and abandon everything for the truth. We have to participate in collaborative democracy and in public justice.”
Carolyn*, a teacher in the Baraboo area, was stunned by the news. “I was horrified,” she said. “Who would do such an awful thing? Trump told them something and they BROKE INTO OUR CAPITOL?” She went on to detail some of what went on during the invasion before adding, “I want Trump impeached. I want every senator who had planned on voting to disallow votes tried for sedition and terminated… I want every protester who came into the Capitol arrested… I’m also worried this puts our country in an even more vulnerable spot.”
“I was stunned, heartbroken, overwhelmed with anger and sadness,” Sarah*, a southern Wisconsin resident said. “These were people who were misled and deceived into acting against the country they thought they were saving. They risked their lives for a lie…
“American citizens entered their nation’s capitol armed with Molotov cocktails, IEDs, and guns, intent on holding Congress hostage. For a lie. And some died. For a lie. The people who will pay the most are those suckered into conspiracy theories and defending a would-be despot who sought to destroy the best things about this country: the part where the people choose their leaders and the peaceful transfer of power… These acts were abetted by members of a party I once admired and respected.”
*Names were changed to protect contributors in light of the threat of violence.