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Faces of Baylor: History Teachers Comment on Capitol Riots
Janie Pippenger

When we first went into lockdown on March 13, 2020, Baylor history teacher James Scott ‘00, gave my U.S. History class the assignment of keeping a quarantine journal.

It has now been 322 days, and my journal is still going. It is full of reports of tornadoes, presidential debates and elections, worldwide riots, Black Lives Matter protests, murder hornets, the Beirut explosion, the West Coast fires, possible vaccines, tension between Iran and the U.S., Brexit, tension over masks, Supreme Court nominations, virtual AP exams, the birth of Leland Strang Wheland’s ’02 baby, virtual school, new viruses, and drilling in the arctic.

Six days into 2021, my journal was filled with a new event: the Capitol riots. This past week I touched base with a few of Baylor’s history teachers to discuss the historical implications of the event. Here’s what they had to say:

How important will this be in future history textbooks and DBQs?
“As an event, it’s not as important as it will be more important as a part of the larger scope of Donald Trump’s presidency.”

Have there been events like this in the past?
Always. In history, there have always been conflicts between people and government that often turn violent and physical. The significance is it hasn’t occurred in American history to this scale and this severity.”

General thoughts when watching/seeing it happen?
“General thoughts, let’s think. One is that this is a significant step. Understanding a historical process that has been occurring since (former house speaker) Newt Gingrinch. Another thing is this has been growing for 25 years, and the second is when I see it I understand that the U.S. is under incredible pressure and we need to have a frank conversation about a lot of issues like racism, equality.”

Legal ramifications and what now?
“I think the ramifications will be two-fold. One, in the short term, there will be a lot of talks and a lot of confusion. But, I believe that there is a way to sort out all of this. In the long term, this is going to start talks about what is really generational, to understand that there is a change going on in America in general. New ideas about democracy, what is economic equality.”

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