In their first opinion of the new year, the editorial board of the New York Times warned Congress and Americans to not grow complacent now that Donald Trump has been out of office for almost a year.
The editorial, under the ominous headline of "Every Day Is Jan 6th Now," made the case that the country remains in "grave danger" because so many conservative Americans believe the 2020 presidential election was stolen which could lead to another violent insurrection.
Beginning, "One year after from the smoke and broken glass, the mock gallows and the very real bloodshed of that awful day, it is tempting to look back and imagine that we can, in fact, simply look back. To imagine that what happened on Jan. 6, 2021 — a deadly riot at the seat of American government, incited by a defeated president amid a last-ditch effort to thwart the transfer of power to his successor — was horrifying but that it is in the past and that we as a nation have moved on," the editors added, "After four years of chaos, cruelty and incompetence, culminating in a pandemic and the once-unthinkable trauma of Jan. 6, most Americans were desperate for some peace and quiet."
However, they warned, complacency and hope that Trump's followers will lose their ardor for taking back the White House would be a tragic mistake.
"Peel back a layer, and things are far from normal. Jan. 6 is not in the past; it is every day," they wrote. "It is regular citizens who threaten election officials and other public servants, who ask, 'When can we use the guns?' and who vow to murder politicians who dare to vote their conscience. It is Republican lawmakers scrambling to make it harder for people to vote and easier to subvert their will if they do. It is Donald Trump who continues to stoke the flames of conflict with his rampant lies and limitless resentments and whose twisted version of reality still dominates one of the nation’s two major political parties."
"In short, the Republic faces an existential threat from a movement that is openly contemptuous of democracy and has shown that it is willing to use violence to achieve its ends. No self-governing society can survive such a threat by denying that it exists. Rather, survival depends on looking back and forward at the same time," the editorial continued before adding, "We know now that top Republican lawmakers and right-wing media figures privately understood how dangerous the riot was and pleaded with Mr. Trump to call a halt to it, even as they publicly pretended otherwise. We know now that those who may have critical information about the planning and execution of the attack are refusing to cooperate with Congress, even if it means being charged with criminal contempt."
Pointing out and praising the work being done by both the Justice Department in prosecuting accused Capitol rioters, and the investigation by a House committee investigating White House involvement in the events of Jan 6th, the editorial board stated that is not enough.
"Above all, we should stop underestimating the threat facing the country. Countless times over the past six years, up to and including the events of Jan. 6, Mr. Trump and his allies openly projected their intent to do something outrageous or illegal or destructive. Every time, the common response was that they weren’t serious or that they would never succeed. How many times will we have to be proved wrong before we take it seriously? The sooner we do, the sooner we might hope to salvage a democracy that is in grave danger," they warned.
You can read the entire comprehensive editorial here -- subscription required.