Mandy will always remember Jan. 6, 2021, in a deeply personal way. Because she was there, inside the U.S. Capitol, supporting her president. 

The images she saw that day remain sharp: The giant American flag carried by the crowd as they marched from the Ellipse. Singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” on the Capitol steps. And finally, entering the building through open doors and standing peacefully in its cavernous Rotunda.

She’s aware of the videos showing mob violence. But that must have been on the other side of the Capitol, she says. For her, it was a day of jubilation, of like-minded people joined in common purpose to “stop the steal” of the 2020 election. 

Why We Wrote This

For many Americans on the left and right, politics has become imbued with a kind of religious fervor – while at the same time, participation in actual, organized religion has plummeted.


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