MAGA Madness Was on Full Display at Jan. 6 Committee Hearing | Opinion

It wasn't just "a big lie." It wasn't just a few "rogue actors." The facts laid out expertly and in compelling fashion by the Jan. 6 Select Committee in prime time before the nation and the world, overwhelmingly and indisputably show that former President Donald Trump, encouraged, empowered, and supported by the Republican Party, led a deadly coup attempt and tried to overthrow a free and fair election in a desperate move to hold on to power.

It is MAGA extremism in its purest form: seizing power at all costs, sabotaging the will of the people, and blatantly disregarding the rule of law, the values of our nation, and our Constitution. It was documented over and over again during the riveting opening two-hour public hearing of the committee.

January 6 Committee Hearing
Rep. Liz Cheney (R) is flanked by Rep. Bennie Thompson, (D) chairman of the House committee investigating the Capitol riot, during a hearing on June 9. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

But this MAGA extremism is not just confined to the coup attempt on Jan. 6, 2021. We see the same MAGA extremism in the Republicans' efforts to subvert the will of the majority who are demanding universal background checks for gun purchases and banning weapons of war from our schools and churches. We see it in their relentless campaign to strip us of our rights and freedoms and ban all abortions. We see it in their attacks on LGBTQ+ youth and in their efforts to censor and ban books. We see it as they make efforts to ban contraceptives and go on TV to claim that interracial marriage should be left up to states. And we see it as the so-called "free market" party punishes corporations for daring to take a position that these MAGA Republicans disagree with.

This isn't limited to just Donald Trump and a few members of the MAGA movement. MAGA extremism has taken over the entire Republican Party and spread like a cancer. From the local to the state to the federal level, at this point the most extreme elements of the MAGA movement and the Republican Party are one and the same.

What is also evident is that MAGA extremism is on the rise and the threats at the core of what was laid out in the hearing are only increasing.

Jan. 6 wasn't the start nor the end of this extremism. The attack against the Capitol building catalyzed a sustained MAGA attack at all levels of our nation, attacking our right to vote, control of our own bodies, our basic rights and freedoms, equality, our safety, our right to have free and fair elections, and our right to be represented and have a voice in our government.

The hearing made it clear, Donald Trump and the Republican Party's attempted coup was a full-frontal assault on our democracy and the cornerstone idea our nation was built upon: Free and fair elections with a peaceful transfer of power. And it was a wide-ranging criminal conspiracy, not the whims of one would-be strongman. Every day we fail to hold those responsible accountable is another day the dark forces trying to undermine our democracy, deny us our rights, and turn the clock back on generations' worth of progress get stronger.

The responsibility to hold those who conspired on the coup attempt accountable falls to Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice. But the responsibility to reject MAGA extremism falls to voters this fall.

Between these hearings, the Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade, and the Republicans' efforts to block all meaningful gun violence prevention legislation, it is hard to imagine a more powerful distillation of what is at stake in this November's election than we are seeing this month.

It really is us versus MAGA. And the stakes could not be greater.

Epting is the Executive Director of MoveOn, one of the largest political advocacy organizations in the country with millions of members.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.