One year ago today, we witnessed a violent attack on the US Capitol and US members of Congress aimed at overturning a free and fair election. The attack was incited and enabled by former President Trump and many Republicans in Congress, and five people lost their lives on that day or the days that followed.
Despite the violent efforts to break it on January 6, our democracy held that day. But Republican elected officials and a small number of Democrats in Congress have failed to protect it every day since.
Oxfam works in many countries around the world where militias and other non-state armed groups run rampant, and we have seen firsthand how the existence of such groups threatens the safety and well-being of civilians and undermines the democratic process and the rule of law. We have seen how the tools of power have been wielded to weaken and overturn the right of citizens to freely and fairly choose their leaders. Too often it is the rights of the marginalized, of ethnic, gender or religious minorities that are restricted to prop-up the power of specific ethnic groups. US democracy is not exempt from these risks—the threat of authoritarianism is alive and on the rise in America today and so is white supremacy.
Some individuals who participated in the attack on January 6 have been brought to justice for their actions, but those most responsible for it have not. We need our leaders to thoroughly investigate and hold to account those who sought to overturn the will of the people. We need them to protect our democracy from those who attacked it on January 6, those who attack it by gerrymandering and preventing citizens, particularly people of color, from exercising their right to vote, and those who may attack it in the months and years ahead. The future of American democracy hangs in the balance.