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Assault on Democracy Repelled

In the wake of last week’s outrageous assault on the American democratic process, we join in calling for renewed commitment to democracy, justice, and equity.

It was the last and arguably most outrageous act of a dying administration. Defeated in a free and fair election, blocked in the courts, and facing the final formal recognition of his ouster, the most anti-democratic, anti-environmental president in American history instigated a violent assault on the United States Capitol. Video images of violent insurrectionists fighting their way past police and into the chambers of Congress while the elected members were evacuated to a tenuous safety shocked the world. For the space of one afternoon, the normal processes of peaceful transfer of power in the world’s oldest democratic republic were interrupted by a sitting president’s attempt to hold onto power by intimidation and force.

This assault on democracy was ultimately repelled, dozens of its perpetrators arrested, and the formal Congressional process of recognizing the elections of the new president and vice president completed in a marathon late-night session. However, the assault itself and its sources underscored the grievous dangers of enabling those who demand that we deny reality — of their election losses, a raging viral pandemic, or a civilization-threatening climate crisis.

NCLCV executive director Carrie Clark said, “In the end, democracy still prevailed. In less than two weeks, this president will leave office. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in with America’s blessing. But we know what happened at the Capitol was the culmination of a long history of white nationalist violence and voter suppression that too often is fomented by those in power, including in our Congress and our General Assembly.”

“Even if they hold fewer positions of power,” Clark continued, “the people who perpetrated and encouraged that failed insurrection won’t be quiet now. They will continue trying to suppress democracy, to steal elections, to artificially preserve their power and privilege, and to take power away from Black and Brown communities. We agree with our friends at Democracy North Carolina that our state’s elected officials must not only disavow the violence in Washington, but also the lies and conspiracy theories that helped produce that violence.”

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