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UMaine professor discusses state of democracy one year since US Capitol insurrection

One year later, UMaine political science professor Mark Brewer said our democracy continues to be in danger.

ORONO, Maine — Thursday marks one year since the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. A year later, it seems many Americans are still divided when it comes to labeling what exactly happened that day. 

Mark Brewer, University of Maine political science professor, said while many Americans view it as a violent and uncontrolled riot, others see it as a "peaceful protest" and believe a number of conspiracy theories about that day. 

Brewer said it seems some Americans tend to think of democracy as something that doesn't require any work, but history has proven otherwise. 

"In the grand scope of recorded human history, democracy is a tiny little sliver, and it's a very fragile thing. Any time it's threatened, that threat needs to be taken seriously. I think the threat right now to American democracy is the biggest it's been, perhaps in American history, but it's definitely the biggest it's been in a century at least," Brewer said. 

Brewer said he does believe there is a way we, as a nation, could start moving toward a more constructive conversation and united front. 

"If there were certain groups or certain individuals who were viewed as legitimate by people on both sides of the divide who were willing to kind of lead this conversation and move this process forward ... I don't know that we have any individuals right now like that in American politics. We're in a very polarized place," Brewer said.

However, Brewer said we cannot solely rely on political leaders to unite us, it's work that each of us has to do. He said we can all play a role in considering different viewpoints and having constructive arguments in a civil and respectful way to move toward a stronger democracy.


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