Let’s be clear about what we saw at the Capitol yesterday.

What we saw yesterday was a lot worse than a “protest” or “riot” — two words I’m seeing a lot on social media. It was an attempted coup — a purposeful, targeted attack on the highest level of our democratic government.

The perpetrators where there at the president’s urging — specifically to prevent Joe Biden’s electoral win from being certified by Congress (however misguided such an interference strategy may be). It was an attack on the mechanisms of representative government. It was literally an attack on democracy.

A lot of us are also avoiding speculation about what would have happened if these Trump supporters had gained access to our democratically elected leaders themselves. That’s understandable and prudent, I think, at least for now — let’s focus on what happened rather than what could have happened.

Still, the noose they constructed within sight of the Capitol building should make their intentions clear. The worst case scenario could have been far, far worse than what we saw yesterday — in terms of both human lives and a viable democratic government.

It could have been an attack on our country that ISIS has only dreamed of.

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