The worst way to respond to the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol would be to further undermine the democratic ideals that were under attack that day. The civil and human rights community is united in opposition to federal legislation that would create a new domestic terrorism charge, as some members of Congress and the Biden administration are considering. Such a change could be turned unfairly against communities of color, religious minorities and political dissenters. We must hold the violent insurrectionists accountable now using the federal criminal statutes that have long been available to address white-nationalist violence and give no cover for the failure to use these tools in the past.
There must be a strategic response to the attempt to disrupt our democracy. The failure to prepare for violence that had been telegraphed weeks in advance makes it clear that we need a more effective plan for dealing with white-supremacist bigotry and white-nationalist ideology.