I did something yesterday afternoon that I never thought was possible. I was interviewed by a foreign media outlet* that asked me to explain why rioters entered the Capitol of the United States while being incited by a sitting American President. Armed Americans storming past guards, attacking our Capitol building, busting into congress in session – it’s just plain unthinkable.
I usually try to speak in a conciliatory manner respecting many viewpoints. But in this case, I was clear and unambiguous. Peaceful protest is an integral part of our democracy, but there is absolutely no place for violence against people or property. I condemned the rioters of our cities this past summer when far too many inexcusably excused their actions, and I condemn today’s rioters equally vociferously, if not more, because the stakes are even higher.
There is no defense of a President encouraging protestors with dubious charges of stolen elections. There is no defense for stopping the peaceful transition of power that is the foundation of our democracy. Trump has done a great disservice to this nation.
This is not about partisan politics. If you don’t like our elected government, the forum is a peaceful protest and the ballot box in 2022 and 2024.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said, “This was the worst we have seen of America…this was unacceptable. We are so much better than what transpired today. It was appalling to see….Can’t we respect a difference of opinion?”
I couldn’t agree more.
Yet, I am cautiously optimistic. I am an American exceptionalist. I believe we will take back our place as the beacon of democracy, the city on a hill John Winthrop described to his fellow immigrants before landing in New England in 1630, telling them even then, “The eyes of all people are upon us.”
It will take time, patience, and the right leadership. Now is the time for unity, respectful debate, and the end of ad hominem attacks.
*The interview was on Iraqi TV (Rudaw), the leading media outlet in Kurdistan. The link to the segment is not yet available. If you would like to view it when it becomes available, please let me know.