Vigil: Anniversary of January 6 Attack on US Capitol

By Robert Bernstein

American Democracy nearly ended a year ago in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol in my hometown of DC.

Here are my videos of the January 6 vigil at the Santa Barbara Courthouse “Our Democracy – Our Commitment”. Here are a few of my photos.

Approaching the Courthouse I saw these signs posted: “Remember January 6 Senators – Protect Our Democracy”The event opened with an introduction by Savannah, one of the event organizers from the group Indivisible Santa Barbara.At this point the crowd was gathered in a vigil with various forms of candles.Some had signs reading “Democracy Can’t Wait”Chumash Elder Annette Cordero opened with an invocation.Local musicians Dan Diamond and Kelly Simmons performed the Bob Dylan song “I Shall Be Released”

Another event organizer, Andrew Bermant, acknowledged organizers Michal Lynch, Marilyn Brewer, Louise Rosen and Judith Effron. This was relevant to what he said next. A quote from former CBS News anchor and decades-long journalist Dan Rather on this January 6 anniversary: “… the tides of history are shaped by who is willing to show up, to act, to be counted… “. Bermant thanked the crowd for showing up and being counted. He noted that we can be grateful that democracy did prevail. This time.

He then introduced our State Assembly Member Steve Bennett. Bennett explained that he had been scheduled for another event, but he canceled that because he felt that this vigil was the most important thing everyone should be doing on this occasion.

Bennett is a former history teacher and he wanted to emphasize the historical significance of January 6, 2021. It was the first time in US history that the peaceful transfer of power was ever challenged by a sitting president. He noted that the sitting president began this attack long before January 6, 2021. It had been years in the making with his rhetoric indicating that if he lost the election it would be because it was “stolen”. A very odd claim from someone who lost the popular vote by millions of votes in both 2016 and in 2020. And one who did his best to suppress votes and steal votes after the 2020 election.

He noted that Trump was following a standard script used by would be tyrants: Tell a Big Lie. Attack any institution that can show you are telling a Big Lie. Scapegoat a vulnerable part of the population. In this case immigrants. Who Trump incorrectly claimed had voted illegally.

Bennett warned that this vigil is just the beginning. We must be vigilant in every way now to maintain our democracy or we will lose it. Here is my video of Bermant and Bennett.

Bennett then introduced our US Member of Congress Salud Carbajal who was at the US Capitol as it came under attack. Carbajal stressed that the events of January 6, 2021 were in no way a peaceful protest. He called it a violent attempted coup d’etat. Instigated by the sitting president Trump.

Yes, we should be grateful that the institutions survived. But it showed how fragile they are and how easily democracy can be lost.

House of Representatives Speaker Pelosi had asked members of Congress not to attend the certification of the electoral votes unless they were part of the actual counting process. Not because of the detailed knowledge of the attack. But because of COVID. Things could have turned out very different if the House floor had been full as usual.

He read some key statistics of the attack. 725 arrests so far. 165 pleaded guilty. 70 have been sentenced. About 30 have received prison time. The Department of Justice has brought conspiracy charges against about 40 defendants. Mostly those with ties to extreme right wing groups. Over 150 Capitol police officers were injured. Five people are now dead.

Carbajal noted that the Big Lie has continued to this day by Trump and current members of Congress. They have used the Big Lie to actually try to steal future elections: Over 30 states have introduced laws designed to suppress voting. The House has passed voter protection laws, but they are currently being blocked in the Senate due to the threat of a filibuster.

Here is my video of Congress Member Salud Carbajal’s speech.

Next, Andrew Bermant called for a moment of silence. Then he introduced Revae Moran of the local League of Women Voters. Moran noted that the League of Women Voters has been around for over 100 years. That some of their leaders have recently been arrested for standing up for voting rights.

She called for passage of the “Freedom to Vote Act” that will protect and expand the right to vote. It gets money out of politics. And ends gerrymandering where candidates pick voters instead of vice versa. The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is also needed now that the Supreme Court recently got rid of the core of the Voting Rights Act of the 1960s. Moran invited people to join the League of Women Voters. Here is my video of her speech.

Next, Bermant listed other ways to take action and named some organizations to support. After that, local Pastor David Moore spoke. Here are those speeches.

Wrapping up the event was our former State Senator Hannah Beth Jackson. She showed her American flag scarf and shouted that she is an American and this is her country, our country. And we are not going to let the voice of tyranny, bigotry and totalitarianism take over our country.

She quoted Republican member of Congress Liz Cheney who said on Sunday this week: “We can either be loyal to Donald Trump or we can be loyal to the Constitution, but we cannot be both.”

Jackson noted that the Big Lie about widespread “voter fraud” revealed that the few cases of actual voter fraud involved illegal votes for Trump. She said that we need to pass voting rights legislation. For that to happen and for democracy going forward we have to end the filibuster in the Senate that allows a minority to overrule the majority.

She noted that one point of the Big Lie has been to undermine President Biden. She went on to enumerate some of his achievements in his first months in office. Getting money to people hit by the effects of COVID and getting people vaccinated and protected from COVID.

At this point someone out on the street tried to disrupt her speech by shouting anti-vax misinformation.

She paused briefly and continued, noting that President Biden also passed an infrastructure bill that will start to rebuild what has been neglected for decades, while providing millions of jobs. And she reminded the crowd of the threat of the Climate Crisis and what more still needs to be passed in the Senate. Here is Jackson’s speech.


Written by sbrobert

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  1. What a joke, open borders, gas is nearly $5.00 a gallon – freebies to anyone too lazy to work, wanting and allowing felons and illegals to vote… – killing fossil fuel will help gas reach $10 a gallon, current leadership is causing inflation like we haven’t seen… good grief.

  2. what about, what about, what about, what about.
    This was an attempted coup, let’s focus on that and then you can share your opinions about the other stuff when there’s an article focused on inflation, gas prices, etc.

  3. Babycakes, you don’ get it. Not even close. January 6th last year was just the start. There are literally millions of extremists out there who are completely convinced that Trump is still President and that violence is absolutely justified to overthrow what they believe to be an unlawful occupation. The 3 percenters, Proud Boys and all the heavily armed psychotic militia members out there are ready and thrilled at the prospect of committing violence on our streets to further their political aims.

  4. The GOP elites raised millions of dollars to assemble and activate a crowd on January 6th and then, oh the shock and surprise, had no control over the monster they have worked so hard to create. It’s only going to get worse when a massive number of right wingers believe that a.) the election was stolen and b.) that violence is justified in response.
    And people like you don’t see a problem with that. Amazing.

  5. Ed, I realize this whole article and comment section violates the comment policy of no discussion of national politics but what is your stance on conspiracy theories and misinformation? Lots of comments here perpetuating false info that propagandists are spreading, shouldn’t they be deleted based on the policies?

  6. You brought up something I often circle back to Babycakes, if it wasn’t for the DNC messing with their own primaries, Bernie Sanders would have won and Trump would still be that rich reality TV show guy. People wanted a change from the legacy political elite that Hillary reeked of, that change would have and should have been Bernie.

  7. Who’s downvoting this??? Honestly… how fragile do you think America is? These criminal idiots are being prosecuted. Our constitution and democracy is fine. Kind of amazing really to think that people here believe America is that fragile.

  8. It was the worst day in our nation’s history. Democracy nearly ended that day. The events on Jan. 6th were on par with 9/11 and Pearl Harbor. No weapons. No torches. No graffiti. One unarmed female insurrectionist shot in the neck and killed by a lone police officer (What? No taser?????).If Democrats had stormed the Capitol building after Hillary lost, this would have been big/big/BIG news.

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