Where we go next isn’t just up to Washington—it’s also up to us and our leaders here at home.
As an angry mob violently took over the United States Capitol on Jan. 6, the nation and the world looked on, riveted, wondering at how fragile our democracy suddenly appeared to be. The Congress inside counted votes, a final step in affirming the will of the voters. Encouraged explicitly and implicitly by outgoing President Donald Trump, they prepared to stop at nothing to stop the presidential election result from taking effect. And eight senators and 147 representatives voted with them, against certification.
It is the most dangerous lie of Trump’s presidency—that our bedrock system of free and fair elections is not to be trusted—and it is likely to outlive his term. How we rebuild trust in the system that defines our country and our government remains to be seen.
Where we go next is not up to only leaders in Washington—it’s also up to us and our leaders here at home. We asked local officials and organizers on both sides of the aisle to weigh in on the events of Jan. 6. Some, like Ed Smith, a self-described conservative Republican member of Monterey City Council, declined to answer (Smith says as a rule, he does not opine on national issues). Some, like Karen Reismann, president of Monterey Peninsula Republican Women Federated, insisted on repeating lies; she blames “busloads of antifa terrorists that infiltrated the peaceful protest” for inciting the takeover—false—and perpetuates the lie that underlies this whole crisis, that “President Trump won in a landslide.”
For our cover story this week, we compiled the answers we received into a Q&A. A shortened version appears in print and the complete version is online. The responses we got were diverse and illuminating—we hope you’ll read on.
-Sara Rubin, editor, email@example.com