Meacham, Goodwin: Threat to Democracy is DireHistorians in the News
tags: Jon Meacham, doris kearns goodwin, Coup, Capitol Riot, January 6
Some of America’s most prominent historians gave an urgent warning about the state of American democracy as they gathered on Capitol Hill on Thursday to commemorate the 6 January insurrection.
Doris Kearns Goodwin and Jon Meacham condemned the attack on the Capitol, which was carried out by a group of Donald Trump’s supporters to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 election.
They warned that the US remained at a crucial turning point amid threats to its democratic systems.
“What you saw a year ago today was the worst instincts of both human nature and American politics,” Meacham said. “And it’s either a step on the way to the abyss or it is a call to arms figuratively for citizens to engage.”
Echoing Meacham’s message, Goodwin argued that this moment represents an opportunity for Americans to rededicate themselves to the cause of democracy, citing the example set by those who fought for the Union in the civil war and marched for civil rights in the 1960s.
“We’ve come through these really tough times before,” Goodwin said. “We’ve had lots of people who were willing to step up and put their public lives against their private lives. And that’s what we’ve got to depend on today. That’s what we need in these years and months ahead.”
The historians’ comments came as many Americans, particularly those who support Trump, continue to deny the dark reality of the Capitol insurrection.
Only about four in 10 Republicans describe the 6 January attack as very violent or extremely violent, according to a recent AP-NORC poll. About 30% of Republicans say the insurrection was not violent at all, while another 30% say it was only somewhat violent.