Staff Editorial: ‘Unity’ is not a shield against accountability

January 6 was one of the craziest days of the Trump era. The Capitol was stormed. Police officers met the rioters with a mix of open welcome, support and lethal violence. Makeshift gallows were set up, outside police reinforcements had been purposely delayed and eventually, policemen took aim with pistols and tear gas. One Capitol officer and four rioters died amidst the frenzy.

According to the New York Times, calls to retake the Capitol had been echoed online for months, but the planned storming of the Capitol occurred immediately after the Democrats’ Senate win the day before. Donald Trump and several GOP members such as Ted Cruz incited the attack. The media scrambled to identify some of the rioters that had died or fled. Many argued over whether the attack came from Antifa or a mix of Qanon members and other Trump supporters. All the while, several GOP senators had begun to weaponize Joe Biden’s words of “healing” and “unity.”

When Biden campaigned with these words, he was playing to those who were tired of the chaos of the Trump administration, hoping that this new term would produce a calmer, less divided nation. When GOP members parrot these words, they do so in response to the outcries of citizens demanding that those who incited or encouraged the insurrection be purged from their roles. As Trump’s presidency came to a close and Biden took over, it became clear that these sloganeering buzz words were being used for a new, insidious purpose.

These are not words used in sincerity. When GOP members and other Republicans tell others not to hold them accountable because that would be “divisive” and they want the nation to go through “healing and unity,” they do so out of self-preservation. After all, Trump has publicly denounced those who went out of their way to attend the riots, including those who had feverishly believed in him throughout these past four years and felt compelled by his words and actions to join the attack.

It’s because of his denouncement that in the eyes, or at least the words, of the GOP, further punishing Trump for his involvement in this incident is “not helping.” It’s “vengeance” and not the “unity” that Joe Biden spoke of in his campaign. The Guilfordian does not share these sentiments. The House of Representatives seems to disagree as well, since some Republicans failed to stop the House from impeaching Donald Trump on Jan. 25.

The Guilfordian previously covered the insubstantial impeachment Trump faced last year. There is understandable cynicism about whether this second impeachment will amount to much. However, Trump being impeached a second time still means something for any member of the Guilford community harmed by his rhetoric or appalled by his final actions as president.

Donald Trump, as well as any GOP members who incited the Capitol riot which actively resulted in death and confusion, should be held accountable for their actions. The Guilfordian considers this a Band-Aid that needs to be ripped off as Biden works to help the country heal and achieve the unity he called for.