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The Live Wire

The Student News Site of Liberty High School

The Live Wire

January 6th insurrection – democracy at a crossroad

With the 3-year anniversary of the attacks, students and staff reflect on what that day meant to them, prompting the question- how has this event transformed the meaning of democracy in our country?
Former+President+Donald+Trump+was+recently+kicked+off+the+2024+presidential+ballot+in+Maine+and+Colorado+for+his+part+in+the+Jan.+6th+Insurrection%2C+2021.+
Ellie Martinez
Former President Donald Trump was recently kicked off the 2024 presidential ballot in Maine and Colorado for his part in the Jan. 6th Insurrection, 2021.

Jan. 6, 2021 – A joint Congress session was held at the United States Capitol to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell took the Senate floor and declared that the courts and the states had spoken: “If we overrule them, it could damage our republic forever.”

While the certification of the votes was supposed to be the pinnacle part of the day, all eyes were on the 2,000 insurrectionists preparing to storm the Capitol. 

Brady Shutt was teaching AP Government at the same time the insurrection was happening. On Jan. 6, while Shutt was teaching, he missed the crucial moment that would change the course of democracy.

“By the time those classes ended…I checked PBS News Hour to see what their coverage was, or see how it was going, and realized that in that little gap, the storming of the capitol started,” said Shutt. 

While the teachers themselves struggled to process the events of the day, they also had to find a way to properly address and discuss the event with students. Stacey Strief, a social studies teacher at Liberty, also vividly remembers the emotions brought about that day.

“We were still processing what had happened as well… [but] we were still collecting information, trying to read and talk to one another and depending on each other as much as possible, so that we could get the right information to our students,” Strief recalled.

During the 2020-2021 school year, Liberty students were in the midst of dealing with constant changes throughout the school year, due to COVID-19. The Jan. 6 insurrection caused another level of uncertainty for Liberty students. 

 Avery Van Abbama, 12, was a freshman in high school at the time of the insurrection. At 14 years old, she experienced a once-in-a-lifetime event. While she didn’t quite understand the full scope of the threat at the time, it weighs heavily on her mind, even 4 years later. 

“What I remember from January 6th… It didn’t seem like a big deal until I got home from school. I saw what was happening in the news and I was in denial… They were climbing walls and breaking windows, and it seemed too crazy to be real,” recalled Van Abbama.

As the 2022 Midterm Elections had one of the highest young turnout rates, more young people are getting more politically involved than ever before, for various reasons. For Van Abbama, Jan. 6 was a political turning point. 

“That really spurred me to learn more about politics and understand why I believe what I believe. I come from [the] standpoint that we are all different, but many people react to things very differently…I definitely will keep this event in mind when I make any future voting decisions.”

While there is a collective worry that Jan. 6 will be a turning point in how young people see democracy, Shutt wants students to remember that whoever you are rooting for in an election, at the end of the day, a democracy is a democracy. 

“[Students may think] I’m out, the system’s rigged or whatever it might be. I hope they stay encouraged and think that’s sort of how it works sometimes in a democracy,” said Shutt.

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About the Contributors
Madelyn Johnson, Social Media Manager
Madelyn is a Junior at Liberty and is a Social Media Manager for The Live Wire. This is her 3rd year in journalism, 2nd year on staff. She runs cross country and track and is also a member of the speech team. In her free time, you can usually find her hanging out with friends and watching romcoms.
Megan Quinn, Editor-in-Chief
Megan is a senior at Liberty. This is her third year on staff and she is the editor-in-chief for the 2023-2024 school year. She is involved in theatre, mock trial, speech, and city government. In her free time, she likes to watch video essays and try new coffee shops.
Ellie Martinez, Multimedia Manager, Social Media Manager
Ellie is a senior at Liberty. This is her second year on the Journalism staff. At Liberty, she is involved in the Liberty Dance Team, National Honor Society, and Best Buddies. Outside of school, Ellie enjoys listening to music, hanging out with friends, and eating Sour Patch watermelons!