‘We need to be in the know’: Arizona veterans hold January 6 watch party

The beer was flowing as the televised public hearing on the January 6 attack on the Capitol got under way in Phoenix, Arizona, at a watch party organised by veterans ashamed and angry at the attempted coup.

The party took place at an air-conditioned bowling and billiard joint in downtown Phoenix, where it was still 107F (42C) outside when the historic broadcast kicked off at 5pm local time. About 50 people sat around in the sports bar, watching Bill Barr and Ivanka Trump on 20 TV screens that usually show ball games and boxing matches.

“We need to be in the know, rather than sit back and act like it didn’t happen, so that it doesn’t happen again and people never cast another vote for Trump,” said Shannan Pahe, 41, who served for 12 years in military occupational health.

“It was shameful, another level of disrespect from Trump who showed his true colors that day,” added Pahe, who watched the previously unseen video footage with her husband as their two infant daughters played.

The Phoenix event was among dozens of in-person and virtual parties in towns and cities across the country, organised by a hotchpotch of progressive groups and volunteers who wanted to share their rage with like minded Americans.

Arizona was the closest state in the country in the 2020 presidential election, and home to a number of high-profile political figures who allegedly played a role in the run-up to the insurrection and the attack itself. They included Arizona resident Jake Angeli, the “QAnon shaman” who is serving a 41-month jail term for his role in the insurrection.

“There are quite a few Arizona Republicans who it seems did sketchy things but have so far been able to skirt the issue, so I hope we find out what role they played. I want to get a handle on who did what, including Trump,” said Ricardo Reyes, 40, a Marine Corps veteran who has voted Republican and Democrat.

The event was hosted by two veteran groups – Common Defence and VetsForward – and a local grassroots organisation, Progress Arizona. Some folks were glued to the screen, others stood around catching up with friends while tucking into the buffet of pizza, chicken wings and pretzels.

In between testimonies, there was lots of talk about a grassroots ballot initiative to protect access to voting which is under attack by Republicans who support the big lie.

Patty Contreras, 60, a Democratic candidate for the state legislature, said she was close to tears watching the insurrection unfold on January 6. “It was appalling to see how close we came to authoritarianism, to our government being overthrown. I hope this public hearing will convince people who have been putting their heads in the sand how close we came to a coup.”




, , ,

Comments are closed.