Political science faculty reflect on capitol insurrection at panel discussion

A group of panelists including David Rutledge, Kyla Stepp and David Jesuit, answered questions students and faculty members had about recent conflicts taking place at the Washington D.C. This event, "Unpacking Chaos at the Capitol", took place via WebEx on Jan. 14.

Central Michigan University’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration presented “Unpacking the Chaos at the Capitol” on Jan. 14. The virtual panel discussion is part of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences "Critical Engagements: Questions that Matter" series.

Former state representative David Rutledge, political science faculty member Kyla Stepp and department chairperson David Jesuit were featured speakers. Students and other staff members were also part of the discussion.

The event gave participants a chance to ask panelists questions on the Jan. 6 conflict at the United States Capitol building. That day, President Donald Trump rallied his supporters to storm the capitol building and delay the counting of votes that would certify President-Elect Joe Biden's victory. 

Trump was impeached for a second time due to the incident on Jan. 14.

At the beginning of the discussion, Jesuit and Rutledge highlighted the importance of finding multiple sources to verify facts in order to create an informed opinion, especially in the current political climate.

Rutledge said he looks at sources that do not necessarily share his own opinion so he can better understand each angle of a news event. 

Audience members asked about the arrests made so far. According to CNN more than 30 people have been arrested on federal charges. Stepp said she figures more severe charges are coming. 

“I expect hundreds of people to be charged,” Stepp said. “It might take weeks with more serious offenses.”

Stepp said the National Guard has been warned in anticipation of Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration. According to Jesuit, some state capitol buildings, including the building in Lansing, are preparing for more violence.

“We don’t move forward in this country if we continue like this,” Jesuit said. “I do not expect in the next decade that things will get better. There is only hope in the long term.”

The discussion came to a close after Rutledge pointed out that when people in political office offer courage and step up, we will come back together.

“I don’t want to suggest that there is no hope,” Rutledge said. “There are still good people with a good conscience.”

Watch the full panel discussion by visiting the cmlifevideo Youtube Channel.