The following commentary was adapted from remarks I delivered at an event held in Toms River, New Jersey, by the Patriot Freedom Project, an organization, founded by Cynthia Hughes, committed to shedding light on the plight of January 6 defendants and their families.
Today we commemorate the third anniversary of one of the darkest days in our country’s recent history—though not for the reasons the Left believes. The tragedy of January 6, 2021, was not that it was an “attack on our democracy,” let alone an “insurrection.” But rather, it was an opportunity for the deep state to finally remove its mask and begin the persecution and imprisonment of American citizens, innocent patriots labeled domestic terrorists merely for exercising their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble on public property, the vast majority of whom did not commit any acts of violence on Capitol grounds. As we later found out, through the disclosures of footage from Capitol grounds that day, many of these peaceful demonstrators only entered the Capitol after being waved on by Capitol police, who actively enabled them to make the alleged breach, only to later turn around and scapegoat them as trespassers and insurrectionists when it became politically convenient to do so.
As we have also found out in the months and years since that fateful day, federal agents were seeded throughout the crowds, both outside and within the Capitol, tasked with openly inciting the demonstrators to violence. Despite that irrefutable fact, an exceptionally small number of them did commit any violence. Absolutely zero engaged in the act of insurrection, which is a legal term of art with a very specific meaning: namely, the Framers of the 14th Amendment, from where that term originates, had in mind preventing Confederate War Generals from returning to government, who took up arms and literally waged war against the Union. Nobody who showed up on the Capitol steps on January 6 engaged in a rebellion—hardly any of them were even armed, and those who were armed were, at most, carrying around pepper spray. Show me an example in the entire history of the world of a successful armed insurrection done with pepper spray.
The tragedy of January 6 continues through the present moment, on the third anniversary, and will remain a tragedy so long as innocent Americans remain locked up, every single one of them denied due process of law. This will likely continue until Donald Trump is reelected this November. As you all know, many January 6 prisoners continue to languish behind bars—many still in the DC Gulag, and some in the most horrific conditions of solitary confinement. The media has constantly demonized these political prisoners (which President Trump refers to as “hostages” of our government) as domestic terrorists. And the treatment they are currently getting is, unsurprisingly, that of a domestic terrorist: cruel and inhumane, deprived of fundamental rights, including the right to meaningful legal assistance, food in some cases, and the bare minimum necessities to stay alive. All for merely showing up on the Capitol, a public forum on which Americans have long enjoyed their rights to assemble and speak for centuries, to contest an election whose results were tainted by the stain of illegitimacy—something that history has vindicated, overwhelmingly, in the months and years since that day.
If the truth shall prevail, here is how history will remember January 6: peaceful demonstrators were finally fed up with a government that had become outwardly tyrannical (and I’m not talking about President Trump). They saw violence all throughout the previous summer, committed by rogue, militant left-wing organizations such as BLM and ANTIFA. These organizations were allowed to commit untold billions of dollars of damage to public and private property, but the entire regime, including both party establishments and the mainstream media, excused them for every action and even designated them as “peaceful protests,” asking television audiences to deny observable reality, as churches were broadcast literally burning to the ground while businesses were looted and ransacked, and anarchy was unleashed in virtually every major city from coast to coast. This again was the backdrop against which, on January 6, a comparatively tame counter-response took place.
The 2020 presidential election observed all sorts of unprecedented rule changes, late-night ballot drop-offs, conveniently timed “water main” breakages that obstructed the electioneering process, not to mention rampant, government-instigated, top-down censorship of both stories like the Hunter Biden laptop scandal that would have been outcome-determining on the results of the general election, and political candidates, like the President of the United States himself, who was forced off every major social media platform—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you name it—thereby censoring his voice in the weeks before he left office.
So, the regime took away the President’s First Amendment right to speak and the people’s First Amendment right to peacefully demonstrate. The people who arrived at the Capitol on January 6 did so not out of retribution towards their government but out of desperation for their political situation—what felt like a last-ditch effort to have their voices heard.
The cause of January 6 is therefore ultimately the cause of the American republic: will it survive or will it too be relegated to the dustbin of history? That cause will be determined, ultimately, by whether President Trump is re-elected this November. So far, we have reason to be cautiously optimistic. He has never polled this well before in his entire political career. The momentum behind him seems to be growing stronger by the day, even as the weaponized justice system gets more and more belligerent, a sign of desperation for sure, with each successive indictment.
We are living through truly historic times, not just for the history of America but for the history of the world, because the 2024 presidential election will have world-historic consequences, for where America goes, so goes Western civilization.
Whether that dwindling light of freedom, which America long stood for, ever gets rekindled will largely come down to what happens in several months from now. It is our duty to continue to spread the truth, the perennial enemy of tyranny, in the lead-up to the election. We need to continue to expose the utterly fake narrative about J6, which was completely discredited for the garbage propaganda it always was by the (partial) release of January 6 footage.
We need to keep the momentum going strong behind President Trump and remain vigilant of left-wing fraud and scheming, which will surely get more desperate as they lose control of the narrative and see all their lawfare prove ineffective.
We must pray for the country, for the President, and for each other—and especially for the victims, including those still locked up—and for the wives and children of many victims, who continue to endure unspeakable hardship—financially and emotionally—each and every day.
We must also, and this is important, remain unified as a movement. Together, we are much stronger than if we merely proceeded individually. A strong, happy, and united front is what the Left fears most about President Trump and his supporters, which is why they are doing everything in their power that they possibly can to bring him down once and for all.
Let us send a clear and unwavering message to them that they cannot break our resolve whatsoever. We are stronger than ever before. They will be met with resistance unlike anything they have ever experienced if they so much as dare attempt to stop our momentum or strike any one of us down. We should accept nothing less than victory, because out of that victory will come true justice—the justice all these political hostages and their families have long waited for and so much deserve. Thank you.
Paul Ingrassia is a Constitutional Scholar; a two-time Claremont Fellow, and is on the Board of Advisors of the New York Young Republican Club and the Italian American Civil Rights League. He writes a widely read Substack that is regularly re-truthed by President Trump. His X handle is @PaulIngrassia.