Dear editor,

The first anniversary of the Jan. 6 insurrection has come and gone. Scenes from the storming of the U.S. Capitol have been played over and over again as the U.S. Select House Committee has methodically been gathering evidence and testimony in its investigation of the attack. Attempts have been made to sidetrack the investigation and to intimidate committee members. 

Many in this country seem to be tired of the whole affair and want to move on.  Public fatigue is what the insurrectionists and their allies are counting on so the Capitol attack is forgotten. If forgotten, it then can be reconfigured into something it wasn’t. It is important that we keep the facts before us as to what actually happened so we are not blinded by lies and misinformation which is being circulated by social media, FOX News and other sources. Truth must not be twisted into falsehood.  Jan. 6, 2021, must be remembered.

It is well that we remember and look back. Jan. 6 should have been an uneventful day of ceremony when members of the House and Senate in Joint Session would witness the tabulation of electoral college votes and the certification of the electoral results. However, it was far from ordinary.

Early on it became apparent to me that two separate events actually took place that day. Two groups, a mob of Trump fanatics and Republican members of Congress, sought to prevent Joe Biden from taking office as the next president of the United States. Together they sought to achieve that goal but by different means.

Getting the most attention were Trump fanatics who stormed the United States Capitol.  They were bent on violence, destruction and mayhem. They trashed the Capitol building, occupied offices and terrorized legislators and their staff. There were injuries and deaths. It was a horrifying display of hatred and anger to behold.

The attack on the Capitol seemed to overshadow the other event that was happening in the chambers of Congress. A large number of Republican representatives and senators were involved in the coup attempt as obstructionists who opposed the certification of electoral college votes and sought to overturn the results of the November presidential election. Their actions would have denied the transfer of power to President-elect Biden, undermined the democratic process and disenfranchised millions of voters.

There still is unfinished business that needs to be addressed. Most pressing is the prosecution of insurrectionists who participated in the attack on our nation’s Capitol. Regardless of the degree of involvement, they must be held accountable.  According to the United States Attorney’s Office, more than 725 individuals across the country have been charged for their involvement in the insurrection. 

Of those, around 640, faced or will face charges ranging from assault, resisting arrest, destruction of government property, to conspiracy. One hundred and forty officers from the Capitol police and the Metropolitan police department were assaulted during the riot and melee. Those charged are in the various stages of court proceedings. Six Wisconsin men were charged. Four of the six pleaded guilty to lesser charges. The status of the other two in court proceedings, at the time of this writing, is unknown.  

Attention must now turn toward obstructionists who participated in the insurrection from inside the Capitol building. Among them are Rep. Thomas Tiffany and Senator Ronald Johnson, members of Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation. They, along with their colleagues, may think they can get away from any charges by virtue of the offices they hold since they did not participate in the riot and melee. How wrong they are! They are also among the co-conspirators of the Jan. 6 insurrection. They, too, should be held accountable.

These Congressional leaders have clearly violated their oath of office to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic” (my emphasis).  Their actions amount to sedition. Sedition is “the stirring up of discontent, resistance or rebellion against the government in power.” This is a serious charge whose consequences cannot be minimized. The honorable thing would be for them to resign from their public offices. However, this will not happen.

Ms. editor, I thank you for the opportunity to share my concerns. We are in extraordinary and troubling times. It cannot be “business as unusual.”  The Jan. 6 insurrection changed that. We cannot move forward as a nation until justice is served. Thank you.

Bill Schruba of Wausau

Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.