By Shane Madden
When President Joe Biden addressed the nation on Thursday, Jan. 6, he did so from an unusual location. Instead of the briefing room, a short walk from the Oval Office, the president was live from the Statutory Room, located a mile and half away, at the Capitol building. He didn’t make the trip to mince words or sugarcoat the truth.
You might not know it by name, but you’ve seen the pictures. Here inside the main entrance to the Capitol, sits a large circular room adorned in marble and encircled by statues of American heroes, standing guard over the halls of our democracy. Situated between the House of Representatives and the Senate. One year ago, it was on this threshold, this gateway to democracy, where protestors became insurrectionists.
The imagery shouldn’t be lost on anyone. The last time we paid any attention to this room was while viewing the Jan. 6, 2021 footage of hundreds armed individuals trekking through, intent on disrupting the democratic process. Some with worse intentions than others. But, democracy endured, at least this time.
It is from this former battleground that Biden chose to address the nation. This time with a new tone. After spending much of his first year in office actively avoiding discussing his predecessor, Biden, without mentioning his name, accused former President Donald Trump of not only inciting the mob, but conspiring to undermine the post-election process.
He emphasized the importance of moving on, with the caveat, that moving on means accountability. Not only for those that breached the halls of Congress, but those that organized, funded and conspired to do so.
The president wasted no time calling out the original lie, that the election was stolen, that led to the Jan. 6 attack or the string of lies that still permeate right wing echo chambers like Facebook and Fox News.
“So now, let’s step up, write the next chapter of American history. Where January 6th marks not the end of democracy, but the beginning of a renaissance of liberty and fairplay,” Biden said. “I did not seek this fight brought to the Capitol one year ago today but I will not shrink from it either. I will stand in this breach. I will defend this nation. And I will allow no one to place a dagger at the throat of our democracy.”