Originally published as "Accountability for Insurrectionists Is an Act of Unity," Akron Beacon Journal, January 15,2021.
Among the insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 were white supremacists: Their Confederate flags and anti-Semitic garb make their racism clear. Their chants, zip cuffs, and weapons are evidence of their intent. What secured their ability to gain entry and occupy the Capitol is long-standing impunity.
Our democratic system cannot be protected if insurrectionists are not held accountable. Accountability for the insurrectionists — from those who broke through the doors of the Capitol, to those who legitimized the action through the media and in legislative halls, to the man who instigated and gave permission for it all — is critical for the furtherance of democracy in this country. Accountability not only protects the institutions of the state, but advances the dismantling of white supremacy by withholding impunity from those who seek to protect it.