Reflections On January 6, 2021
One of my favorite Thurgood Marshall quotes seems fitting, today, in the light of the stunning mob-violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021:
"Where you see wrong or inequality or injustice, speak out, because
this is your country. This is your democracy. Make it. Protect it. Pass it on."
Still shaking my head this afternoon after watching the insurrection unfold, along with the continuing fallout and damage to our democracy. It is a dagger to the heart of most Americans to watch a mob storm the Capitol Building during what is normally a peaceful certification of Electoral College votes by Congress. Though I am ashamed that American citizens chose to become domestic terrorists, I am proud that Members of the House and Senate returned to the floor to do their part in what historically has been a “peaceful transfer of power.” I am grateful that more people were not harmed or killed. The loss of one life is one life too many.
Having lived through 9-11 in Washington, D.C. — when Al-Qaeda murdered thousands of innocent people on U.S. soil — I along with other citizens of D.C., gladly endured massive security, for years, to keep both people and U.S. Government Institutions safe. I have a pit in my stomach, as I write this, after watching security at the Capitol crumble so easily under the mass of “American” insurrectionists. That beautiful building is a symbol of what we as Americans stand for. The United States is the most powerful nation – and democracy – on earth. What happened? I am heartsick, but confident that this question will be answered, and corrective steps taken . . . but at what cost?
As I sit here, still immersed in this news on a Saturday afternoon, I am heartbroken that we have come to this place, and concerned about what comes next from potential future terrorist acts (foreign and domestic). Will there be more violence and loss of precious lives? I have worked in journalism and politics my entire career (most of it spent in D.C.) and “there was a day” when our elected officials worked together to find common ground on behalf of the American people. I was there. I worked for Members of Congress who respectfully debated, reached across the aisle, worked together, and then had a beer together at the end of the day, “even when they strenuously disagreed.” We can disagree on issues and still fight for what we believe in “together.” Sometimes we win. Sometimes we lose. But we must respectfully, peacefully, legally, continue the fight for what we believe in within the norms of government and society. We must find our way back from the abyss.
On the morning after Inauguration Day, January 2017, I marched with tens of thousands of other peaceful protesters in Washington to make a stand for my core beliefs and issues on which I have worked for decades. I vowed to respectfully, peacefully, legally work on behalf of those beliefs and issues during the next four years. If you want to make change (or as in the case of the past four years, to “defend”), you “persuade” and you “vote.” If it is the will of the people, hopefully, your candidate will win in the next election. I swore an oath "that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic . . ." as the holder of a Security Clearance, while working in the U.S. House of Representatives, at the White House and the Pentagon. I love this country, our constitution, and democracy, as do most Americans. Though the events of January 6 are stunning, frightening, and devastating, we "all" — Democrats, Republicans and Independents — must work together, in good faith, to find common ground and compromise during the next four years. The alternative is just not acceptable or sustainable for a strong democracy.
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