Not even during the civil war did insurgents break into our capitol, the citadel of our democracy. But insurgents did so six months ago today. They carried out a violent and fatal assault on the People’s House, elected officials, and Capitol Police, who swore to protect them while our duly elected Congress performed the sacred ritual of our republic and certified the vote of the electoral college.
This wasn’t a contradiction. It was a mess. It was an existential crisis and a test of whether our democracy could survive – a sad reminder that our democracy does not guarantee anything.
But while it shocked and saddened the nation and the world, six months later we can say in no uncertain terms that democracy has prevailed – and that we must all continue to work to protect and sustain it. That requires people of goodwill and courage to face the hatred, lies and extremism that led to this vicious attack, including determining what happened so that we can remember it and not bury it in the hope that we forget. It requires all of us – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – to work together in the name of the common good to restore decency, honor and respect for the rule of law. And it is forcing our government – both executive and legislative – to take urgently needed steps to protect the basic right to vote.
It also requires that we all remember who we are at our best as a nation – and that we are so much better than what we saw on January 6th. We are the United States of America, and in the past few months we’ve shown what we can do when we come together – defeat a deadly virus, get our economy going again, and prove that democracy can help the people.
On this day, Jill and I extend our condolences again to the families of the US Capitol Police Officers who lost their lives or suffered badly while defending our democracy. We pray for them and for our nation.
Let us together demonstrate to ourselves and to the world the enduring strength and limitless ability and goodness of our Americans.