Not even during the Civil War did insurrectionists breach our Capitol, the citadel of our democracy. But six months ago today, insurrectionists did. They launched a violent and deadly assault on the people’s house, on the people’s representatives, and on the Capitol police sworn to protect them, as our duly elected Congress carried out the sacred ritual of our republic and certified the Electoral College vote.
This was not dissent. It was disorder. It posed an existential crisis and a test of whether our democracy could survive—a sad reminder that there is nothing guaranteed about our democracy.
But while it shocked and saddened the nation and the world, six months later, we can say unequivocally that democracy did prevail—and that we must all continue the work to protect and preserve it. That requires people of goodwill and courage to stand up to the hate, the lies, and the extremism that led to this vicious attack, including determining what happened so that we can remember it and not bury it hoping we forget. It requires all of us working together—Democrats, Republicans, and independents—on behalf of the common good to restore decency, honor, and respect for the rule of law. And it impels our government—both the executive and legislative branches—to take the urgent steps needed to protect the fundamental right to vote.
It also requires all of us to remember who we are as a nation at our best—and that we are so much better than what we saw on January 6th. We are the United States of America, and over the last few months we have shown what we can do when we come together—beat a deadly virus, get our economy going again, and prove that democracy can deliver for the people.
On this day, Jill and I send our condolences again to the families of the U.S. Capitol Police officers who lost their lives or suffered severely in defense of our democracy. We pray for them and for our nation.
Together, let us demonstrate to ourselves, and to the world, the enduring strength and the limitless capacity and goodness of who we are as Americans.