While Most Texans Watched the January 6 Insurrection on TV, Some Had a Front Seat

January 6 Insurrection

Where were YOU on the day of the January 6 Insurrection? Today marks two years since the deadly event, and while many of us watched the news in horror as rioters incited by falsehoods and driven by vitriol stormed the Nation’s Capitol, some Texans didn’t need to switch on the TV to be part of the chaos—they had a front seat.

Shamefully, more Texans have been charged in connection with the riot than almost any other state. It’s not an award we can proudly display, but we’re not too surprised to have won it, considering misinformation, hatred, and fear have long been tactics used by the far-right in Texas to divide us.

We know that what happens in Texas has never stayed in Texas. From abortion rights to education, the nation watches us. And sometimes, they follow suit.

And while some rioters might be easy to chuckle at, like Jennifer Leigh Ryan, a realtor from Frisco who live-streamed her crimes and used it as a sales pitch, screeching, “Y’all know who to hire for your realtor. Jenna Ryan for your realtor,” the reality is, people lost their lives that day. 

Because words—and lies—have enormous power.

Our “leaders” know this. It isn’t any wonder that so many Texans were driven to violence and influenced by the tall tales of the President when our own attorney general, Ken Paxton, filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the election results in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Georgia while acting as the Lawyers for Trump co-chair. Unsurprisingly, Governor Abbott gleefully supported throwing out all of the votes in those battleground states.

And when that lawsuit failed in the Courts but succeeded in brainwashing Texans enough to actually travel to DC for an insurrection, of course, Senator Cruz was there to take up the baton for Texas.

On January 6, 2021, just as Trump wrapped up his rallying cry following Paxton’s speech where he asserted that “we will not quit fighting,” Cruz gave Texas an even bigger place in Inserruction History: He announced that he’d signed onto Arizona congressman Paul Gosar’s challenge to the election results.

And well… we know what happened next.

Two years later, many of the politicians who supported Trump’s dangerous claims are still in power. In the case of Paxton, Abbott, and Cruz, all of them are still in office.

Frankly, it’s easy to let that make us feel hopeless. But looking ahead into 2023, we’re choosing to view January 6 as a reminder that words have power. And while two years ago they incited violence, we know that our collective power, our voices, can bring progress and change. 

Paxton is right about one thing: We will not quit fighting.

Will you join us?

In 2023, we will enter yet another legislative session, and we know more attacks on our reproductive healthcare, LGBTQIA+ Texans, education in the form of another voucher fight, and voting rights are coming. No matter what, we’ll be there, fighting for equality and social justice–forging our path forward, together.

Don’t slip into despair on this day—take action by subscribing to lege alerts to stay informed on how your advocacy and activism can be a part of protecting progressive values at your Capitol.