If you spent last week like we did - watching incredulously as terror seized a grip on the nation's capital - then it may be difficult to process the emotions and repercussions of what it all means, now and going forward. It may also be difficult to keep
If you spent last week like we did – watching incredulously as terror seized a grip on the nation’s capital – then it may be difficult to process the emotions and repercussions of what it all means, now and going forward.
It may also be difficult to keep from feeling a sense of overwhelming fatigue. After all, we are now approaching a full year of being besieged by an unforgiving, unrelenting disease that has sickened and killed millions of people worldwide and continues to bombard our daily lives with endless reminders that things are anything but normal or OK. Now, on top of this suffering, we have been shown in no uncertain terms just how fragile our oft-envied democracy truly is – and it is now truly sinking in how close we came to something tragic beyond reasonable comprehension.
We cannot offer solutions to the problems that have led us to this moment. These issues are far too broad, nuanced and deeply entrenched to simplify in such a way. Nor can we offer a valid explanation for what exactly has led us to such a frightening place, where Americans – our neighbors, local business owners, stay-at-home-parents, teenagers, educated members of society – would defile the very symbol of our country purely as an indulgent surrender to tribal anger and resentment rather than any set of coherent facts or objective reality.
The facts must not be altered or spun. A sitting United States president actively encouraged a mob of supporters to rally on Washington, knowing full well the explosive potential for that group – who had been whipped into a frenzy through poisonous and fanciful claims of election fraud made continuously from his position of power – to turn violent and seditious. The ensuing death and chaos was nothing more than a likely result from an effective and dangerous equation – one that no true patriot would seek.
There is hope, however, that this dark moment in history has provided enough of a wakeup call for those in power who have either sat by idly or actively encouraged these lies to fester and calcify. There has always been room in America for dissenters – and its foundation is rooted in civil disobedience – but what we saw last week was neither of those. All who continue to propagate the lie that the election was a fraud or attempt to rationalize or justify what happened on Jan. 6 are not a part of any solution to our nation’s ills, but rather a serious part of the problem.
For those feeling devoid of hope, we share your unease. But we must not lose sight of the hopeful horizon here in Rhode Island. Through our own elections, we have a new wave of leadership in our legislature, and as a result of the pending inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, we will also soon have a new governor who has demonstrated a desire to hold onto the things that have worked for Rhode Island and attempt to improve upon areas where the current administration has been less effective. We hope, because we must, that things will improve for the better of all Rhode Islanders.
We must hold onto this hope, because from rock bottom there is nowhere to go but up.