What happened on January 6th was nothing short of a violent attempt to overthrow the United States government. We were all shaken by this terrifying attack on our democratic institutions.
We all watched in shock as armed rioters streamed into the Capitol building and as members of Congress, their staff, journalists, and other Capitol employees were forced to evacuate or were sequestered in their offices, praying for their safety and the safety of others.
I won’t mince words: President Trump and his Republican sycophant enablers are responsible for this armed mob storming the Capitol. They’re responsible for delaying our democratic process and for putting so many in physical danger. They’re responsible for the violence that broke out and the terror felt by so many. The people who participated in and enabled this mob violence — including the President — must be held accountable and recognized as perpetrators.
For me, this is personal. As a Senator, I’ve experienced the legislative process being disrupted by violence. I’ve been sequestered, along with my colleagues, by Capitol security due to violence. I’ve been assaulted in the State Capitol by unhinged anti-vaxxers, as have colleagues. I witnessed blood being poured down on some of my colleagues from the balcony in the Senate chamber. I’ve received more than a thousand death threats from QAnon adherents because of LGTBQ civil rights legislation I authored last year. As I saw QAnon supporters storm the U.S. Capitol, it felt like the horrific and tragic culmination of the growing momentum of right-wing extremism and conspiracy theories in the Trump era.
As we process what happened Wednesday and hold accountable those who were responsible, we must also look forward. We must recommit — with our very core — to heal our democracy and to fight for our community. We must end this pandemic, get everyone vaccinated, support our small businesses and the millions who are suffering, fight climate change, make housing more affordable, fix our broken prison system, in addition to so many other needs.
Thankfully, President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be inaugurated on January 20th, and Georgia voters delivered us a Democratic majority in the Senate. Change is coming — and we badly need it. Things are often darkest before dawn. And I do believe that 2021 — politically, economically, and health-wise — will be our dawn.
In this somber time, I just wanted to remind everyone to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Stay home, and stay safe. We will get through this. While there are many challenges ahead, and lots of work to be done, better days are ahead if we work together for a better world.