January 6, 2021

We will all pay a price for this attack on the Capitol. Without a doubt, the halls of Congress will become more secure than ever. The most precious institutions of our government will be more locked off from the public.

When I was a teen, my mother and I casually walked through the Capitol. We sat in the House chambers and watched in real life people I only saw in the newspaper or on TV. Common folks from Kentucky could watch our government with our own eyes. We didn’t need an appointment or an escort. Nobody searched my mother’s purse.

2020 separated us from our decision-makers and the meetings where they make the decisions. When chaos broke out, we lost the C-SPAN feeds. As government institutions are locked away from the people, they must at least give us uninterrupted camera and audio feeds, not cable feeds, from the House, Senate (and their committee rooms) and yes, from the U.S. Supreme Court.

What must all of this look like to the rest of the world? How can America criticize chicanery in foreign elections in the future? What standing will we have to uphold the rule of election laws around the world after today?

Across the globe, leaders were far more emphatic in condemning the violence than President Donald Trump himself was.

  • U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned what he called “disgraceful U.S. scenes.”
  • Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote, “Canadians are deeply disturbed and saddened by the attack on democracy in the United States, our closest ally and neighbour. Violence will never succeed in overruling the will of the people. Democracy in the U.S. must be upheld — and it will be.”
  • German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas tweeted, “Enemies of democracy will be happy to see these unbelievable pictures from #WashingtonDC. Riotous words turn into violent acts — on the steps of the Reichstag, and now in the #Capitol.” That was a reference to when protesters rushed the German parliament building in August. “The disdain for democratic institutions is devastating,” Maas wrote.
  • President of the European Council Charles Michel said, “The U.S. Congress is a temple of democracy. To witness tonight’s scenes in #WashingtonDC is a shock.”
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Al Tompkins is one of America's most requested broadcast journalism and multimedia teachers and coaches. After nearly 30 years working as a reporter, photojournalist, producer,…
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