When revisionist history is turned into truth

Calling the Jan. 6 riots “legitimate political discourse,” as the censure of Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger and Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney does, is nothing more than a willful denial of reality.

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In this file photo taken on July 27, 2021, US Republican Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger listen during the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol in Washington, DC. Republicans censured Cheney and Kinzinge on February 4, 2022, in a significant escalation of the drive to oust dissidents seen as disloyal to former US President Donald Trump.

In this file photo taken on July 27, 2021, US Republican Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger listen during the House Select Committee investigating the attack on the US Capitol in Washington, DC.


The irrefutable evidence that President Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election doesn’t matter to those Americans who continue to cling to the fantasy that Donald Trump should still be sitting in the Oval Office.

About a quarter of Americans — 26%, according to an Axios-Momentive poll that was taken right before the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots — do not accept Biden as legitimately defeating Trump. Another 16% say they’re not sure if Biden won or not.

When 42% of Americans struggle to accept indisputable facts, it’s a sign of how critical it is to fight back against any ideology that would catapult revisionist history into the realm of truth.

The Republican National Committee engaged in that revisionism just days ago, censuring two Republican members of the House of Representatives — Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, along with Rep, Liz Cheney of Wyoming — for the sin of participating on the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 violent insurrection by a pro-Trump mob.

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In its rebuke last week, the RNC said it no longer supports Kinzinger and Cheney as members of the Republican Party. The bipartisan House committee, in the RNC’s wording of the censure, is a “Democrat-led persecution of ordinary citizens engaged in legitimate political discourse.”

As Kinzinger put it, the RNC is “completely unmoored from truth.”

Illinois National Committeeman Richard Porter and Illinois National Committeewoman Demetra DeMonte, members of the RNC, supported the censure measure, as Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet pointed out,

Five people, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, died after rioters stormed into the domed building during that “legitimate political discourse.”

Video footage of the crowds pushing down metal barricades and scaling the walls of the Capitol was horrifying. The details that have emerged following the arrests of more than 725 Americans — including 23 people from Illinois — accused of taking part in the riots have been equally disturbing.

Dawn Bancroft, of Pennsylvania, said she was looking for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ”to shoot her in the friggin’ brain.”

Alan Fischer III, of Florida, threw chairs, a traffic cone and a pole toward officers, authorities said.

Donald Hazard, of Texas, allegedly fought with one officer, pulling him down the steps as they fell.

None of what happened at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, can in any way be considered “legitimate political discourse.” The RNC can make that claim, but as even the conservative National Review put it, that is nothing more than “political malpractice of the highest order coming from people whose entire job is politics.”

The reality is simple: What unfolded that day was an unprecedented assault on our democracy, carried out by a mob in denial that their reality TV hero did not win re-election as president.

By sanctioning the terror and the lies, and censuring their colleagues, the RNC doesn’t appear to want that black eye on democracy to heal. Instead, it appears they want to keep punching and encourage others, as Trump said before the riots unfolded, “to fight like hell.”

Illinois is no stranger to this mindset.

DeMonte denounced the media coverage of the RNC’s resolution, telling Sweet that the RNC “denounces all acts of political violence and lawlessness.”

However, the RNC’s ire was directed only at Kinzinger, Cheney and the Jan. 6 committee, not the hundreds of Jan. 6 rioters.

Porter, as the New York Times reported, said “The nominal Republicans on the committee provide a pastiche of bipartisanship, but no genuine protection or due process for the ordinary people who did not riot being targeted and terrorized by the committee.”

“Targeted and terrorized” sounds like nothing more than revisionist history, taking place in real time.

We hope the RNC’s latest move pushes Kinzinger, Cheney and the seven Democrats on the committee to move quickly, and thoroughly, with their investigation. We also think televised hearings, to educate all Americans about the full story of Jan. 6, make good sense.

Not everyone who’s a skeptic will be swayed by the committee, which was formed seven months ago.

But the well cannot be allowed to be poisoned any further.

The sooner the committee uncovers the full story of what happened that awful day — including whether the rioters received any planning or other assistance from those in power — the better. Our nation also needs suggestions to keep any similar insurrection from happening again.

The sooner that happens, the sooner the country can put the “big lie” to rest.

Send letters to letters@suntimes.com.

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