Digital Exclusive: Presidential historian reacts to Capitol unrest

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DALLAS TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — On a day during which Congress convened for a normally ceremonial tradition to certify electoral votes, protestors descended upon Capitol Hill, eventually gaining access to secured buildings.

“This is now a part of American history. This is a part of our history which will stay with us forever,” said Larry Cook, Presidential Historian.

Cook is a two-time published author and presidential historian. He says what happened Wednesday at the Capitol is unprecedented.

“There have been other attacks on the Capitol, but nothing of this magnitude,” said Cook. “The comparison can be in 1814 when the British came into Washington, D.C. in the War of 1812.”

Though there isn’t much precedent for this scale of rioting in the nation’s Capitol, Cook believes there are reasons why it happened in 2021.

“Frustration over the pandemic, that’s been a longtime thing, that just happened to occur in an election year, you have social media that propagates a lot of things, whether they’re true or false, they get propagated and feelings run high,” said Cook.

Cook says there is one former president of the United States who may have foreseen today’s events.

“Abraham Lincoln said the only thing that can really destroy this country is something from within, and I think we need to listen to that statement,” said Cook.

Although Cook believes in people’s right to protest, he feels this particular protest could have been handled in a better way.

“Part of being an American is the right to express yourself and your ideals and the right to disagree, but you need to disagree in a civil manner,” said Cook. “Hatred on disagreement has to calm down.”

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