SIU professors react to the January 6 Capitol riots

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 6:55 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 5, 2022 at 7:29 PM CST
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - The January 6 Capital riot in 2021 is widely considered the single most serious challenge to our democratic system since the civil war.

“This is the way we do business in American democracy; we’ve had what’s called the peaceful transfer of power, every single election since 1800,” said visiting Professor at SIU Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, John Jackson.

Jackson’s watched every single election, state and national, for more than five decades.

This veteran political science professor says January 6 should have marked the certification of President Joe Biden’s election win.

“And because of the that, the crowd or the mob gathered to try to stop that certification,” said Jackson. “And I think as you know, the President in some ways, or another, President trump had encouraged them to be there and to attempt to do what they wanted to do.”

The country watched as hundreds, if not thousands of rioters broke into the Capitol, assaulting police officers some openly searching for lawmakers and even the vice president.

“If it were not for the actions of both the majority of the congress and for what Vice President Pence did, I think they probably would of succeeded and we would of had a chaotic mess, we would of had a liberal constitutional crisis at that point,” said Jackson.

SIU Law Professor and former prosecutor Sheila Simon says these cases should proceed and do not infringe on the protesters’ rights to free speech.

“I don’t want to deny any of those folks their right to have their say. To make their claim, as outlandish as their claim may be. But yeah, when you violate the law, you should be prosecuted,” said Simon.

Simon, the daughter of former U.S. Senator Paul Simon, hopes the insurrection can lead to more in-depth teaching moments for students of all ages.

“Another thing we can take away from this is the importance of learning about how our government works. In schools, in middle schools, in high school, in college and laws school,” said Simon.

Professor Jackson says he believes the division between political parties highlighted by the capitol attack will likely continue.

“Some are trying to downplay the seriousness of it, others realize I think accurately that this really is a continuing challenge to how we do business under the constitution with respect to our elections,” said Jackson.

President Joe Biden will address the nation one year later on Thursday at 8 a.m.

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