A Year Later, the Reckoning with Jan. 6 Continues
A touching, insightful, cogently argued book about the 2021 attack on the Capitol is Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy by U.S. Representative Jamie Raskin. It was released two days before the anniversary of the mob that stormed the building on January 6, 2021. In this book, Raskin presents a memoir of family grief and public service.
When Griefs Are Intertwined
Raskin’s 25-year-old son, Tommy — who he describes as a comedian, slam poet, second-year law student concerned about war, fascism, tyranny, and hunger, vegan who declined ever to get a driver’s license because he worried he might hurt someone in a motor vehicle accident— died by suicide just before New Year’s 2021 and was buried on January 5.
The next day, Raskin was inside the U.S. Capitol when it was attacked. The attack was apparently orchestrated (as Raskin would soon come to see) “with Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Rudy Giuliani, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Michael Flynn, Sen. Josh Hawley, Rep. Jim Jordan,” and other GOP extremists. Meanwhile, others like Roger Stone, Stephen Bannon, Michael Lindell, Linda McMahon, and Julie Jenkins Fancelli had been involved in other capacities, organizing the rally on January 6.
The general plan had been to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to reject the certified vote counts of some U.S. states and then allow the U.S. House of Representatives to pick the president. (This is a general tactic that Raskin frets might be tried again should Trump run and lose in 2024.) After that — an idea spearheaded by Michael Flynn — Trump would be encouraged to declare “martial law” and a state of siege. “A lot of people think,” Raskin said, “that the DC National Guard, which is under federal control, was being held back on January 6 because Trump wanted to deploy it later in conjunction with a martial law order.”
“Although Tommy’s death and the January 6 insurrection were cosmically distinct and independent events,” he says, “they were thoroughly intertwined in my experience and my psyche. I will probably spend the rest of my life trying to disentangle and…