After the Insurrection: What Is the Way Forward?

Jan 28, 2021

The insurrection at the U.S. capital January 6th is something, some people say they saw coming, but  what happened on that day, raises new questions about how we got to this point, and where we go from here.

The insurrection at the U.S. Capitol will go down in history. Researchers are already digging into what happened and why.

Farida Jalalzai is professor of political science at Virginia Tech. She and her colleagues are busy going over what happened when the U.S  capital was overrun by a dangerous mob, earlier this month, and what the way forward might look like.

“I think we were all united in the sense that, you know, these are things that can't, that should not go unchecked.”

In this Jan. 6, 2021, file photo violent rioters, loyal to former President Donald Trump, storm the Capitol in Washington. The words of Donald Trump supporters who are accused of participating in the deadly U.S. Capitol riot may end up being used against him in his Senate impeachment trial as he faces the charge of inciting a violent insurrection.
Credit AP Photo / John Minchillo, File

Jalalzai focuses on the role of gender in the political arena.

“We are trying to not just look at the next administration to think that this means that everything is going to be fine soon because we have a new person in charge. There's a lot of hope, but at the same time, there's a lot to, to grapple with.”

Brandy Faulkner is Professor of Black Studies at Virginia Tech.

“I think that this is a moment of reckoning and we have a choice.”

Faulkner says she and her colleagues  will be studying events and the national discourse that will set the tone for where we go from here.

Laura Belmonte is Dean of the Virginia Tech College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

“I think that a lot of things in American political culture converged and exploded on January 6th.”

Belmonte is an historian. She points to the expanding universe of communication outlets, where unsourced information, and unverified events can go viral without question, raising the possibility of inciting violence.

“It is evident that some of these people came into the Capitol with the intent to harm people. And of course, five people did die.”

Mike Horning teaches multimedia journalism at Virginia Tech.

“I think that that moment, was a wakeup call for our Congress. We've never seen a medium like this, where information can flow so quickly.  And it's often difficult to correct that misinformation before it's reached thousands of people.”

Horning says right now they’re working on ways to make electronic information reliable.  No easy task.