The Attack on the Capitol: A Call for Accountability and Action

Yesterday’s lawless attack on Congress at the Capitol building was an unbelievable and yet completely predictable attempt to overturn the results of America’s electoral process and subvert our democracy. It is a direct result of dangerous disinformation and racist rhetoric from our nation’s political leaders. President Trump emboldened and incited his mob to commit these violent and seditious acts and they must be held accountable.

Americans are repulsed by these treasonous attempts to intimidate our elected officials. We won’t let these white nationalists and Confederate-flag-waving extremists shape our future. Their vision of America embraces disinformation-fueled conspiracies, violence with impunity, and racial exclusion in favor of white supremacy. I call on all Americans to reject these baseless, dangerous attempts to seize power. Enough is enough.

What gives me hope is that Americans recently witnessed a different and positive vision—one that is peaceful, orderly, inclusive, and just. Our public officials managed an electoral process that was fair and secure amid both a pandemic and an intensely contested election season. We also owe a debt of gratitude to organizers across the entire political spectrum for getting an unprecedented number of voters—especially Black voters—to exercise their democratic rights, despite a wave of efforts to suppress their votes.

In response to yesterday’s attempted insurrection, we are hearing numerous calls for healing, to work together, and to move on. But let’s not forget this moment. The root causes that drove this mob—racism, sexism, xenophobia, distrust in government—will continue to persist unless we have the courage to take them on directly, dismantle them, and supplant them with the cultural value of E pluribus unum—”Out of many, one,” which the U.S. has always aspired to, but has yet to attain. Until we do the hard work to achieve a more racially just and inclusive society, we cannot simply move on.

Given the polarization in our society, the vision of an equitable, just, and prosperous multiracial democracy may seem immensely difficult to attain. But in my view, achieving the transformative change to attain it is the most viable pathway to rebuilding our democracy, meeting all American’s needs, and protecting our rights and freedoms for future generations. It’s a collective responsibility, and we all have a powerful role to play in getting us there.

Don Chen
Surdna Foundation

Don Chen, President of the Surdna Foundation