American Decline

‘Democracy is always up for grabs.’ Will January 6 become the new July 4?

By  Richmond Times-Dispatch

In hindsight, Virginia was a testing ground and a grim portent of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

On the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in January 2020, theologian Corey D.B. Walker, then a visiting professor at the University of Richmond, was among a group holding a prayer vigil as thousands of firearm-toting folks occupied downtown Richmond during a gun rights rally.

Walker sees a through line from the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville to the Second Amendment gathering in Richmond to the U.S. Capitol riot. The Richmond gun rally turned out to be a peaceful event, though law enforcement had feared the worst – including the storming of the Virginia capitol.

“That didn’t portend anything good for what would happen January 6, 2021,” Walker, now the Wake Forest (University) Professor of the Humanities, said in an interview Tuesday. Whether democracy survives that trauma is “an open question we have to wrestle with.

“Democracy is a practice, it is not a declaration. It is not the finished product. It is an ongoing practice,” he said.  And if we don’t cultivate it, we could lose the American Experiment.


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