From the Trump era, Democrats need to learn that paralysis empowers populists. When government stops working on people’s behalf, or seems to, voters will turn to charismatic outsiders who promise they alone can fix it. As such, if Democrats want to avoid future Trumpian figures, they can no longer meekly accept congressional dysfunction and federal incompetence. That begins with fixing the filibuster, which is, today, the central impediment to Democrats fulfilling the campaign promises they made to Americans. But it doesn’t end there: Democrats need to do more than state the importance of democracy. They need to actually deepen American democracy. This is their chance, and their true principles will be revealed by what they do with it.
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“This Is America’s Day”
January 20, 2021
Chief Justice Roberts, Vice President Harris, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Vice President Pence, my distinguished guests, my fellow Americans: This is America’s day. This is democracy’s day, a day of history and hope, of renewal and resolve through a crucible for the ages. America has been tested anew, and America has risen to the challenge. Today, we celebrate the triumph not of a candidate but of a cause, the cause of democracy. The people, the will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded.
We’ve learned again that democracy is precious. Democracy is fragile. And at this hour, my friends, democracy has prevailed.
So now on this hallowed ground, where just a few days ago, violence sought to shake the Capitol’s very foundation. We come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries. As we look ahead in our uniquely American way, restless, bold, optimistic, and set our sights on a nation we know we can be and we must be.
I thank my predecessors of both parties for their presence here today. I thank them from the bottom of my heart. And I know —
— and I know the resilience of our Constitution and the strength, the strength of our nation, as does President Carter who I spoke with last night who cannot be with us today, but whom we salute for his lifetime of service.
I’ve just taken the sacred oath each of those patriots have taken. The oath first sworn by George Washington. But the American story depends not on any one of us, not on some of us, but on all of us. On we the people who seek a more perfect Union.
This is a great nation. We are good people. And over the centuries through storm and strife, in peace and in war, we’ve come so far. But we still have far to go.
We’ll press forward with speed and urgency for we have much to do in this winter of peril and significant possibilities. Much to repair, much to restore, much to heal, much to build, and much to gain.
Few people in our nation’s history have been more challenged or found the time more challenging or difficult than the time we’re in now.
Once-in-a-century virus that silently stalks the country. It’s taken as many lives in one year as America lost in all of World War II. Millions of jobs have been lost. Hundreds of thousands of businesses closed. A cry for racial justice some 400 years in the making moves us. The dream of justice for all will be deferred no longer.
A cry of survival comes from the planet itself, a cry that can’t be any more desperate or any more clear. And now a rise of political extremism white supremacy and domestic terrorism that we must confront and we will defeat.
To overcome these challenges, to restore the soul and secure the future of America, requires so much more than words. It requires the most elusive of all things in a democracy: Unity. Unity.
In another January, on New Year’s Day 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. When he put pen to paper, the president said, and I quote, “if my name ever goes down into history it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it.” My whole soul is in it. Today, on this January day, my whole soul is in this. Bringing America together, uniting our people, uniting our nation.
And I ask every American to join me in this cause.
Uniting to fight the foes we face: anger, resentment and hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness. With unity we can do great things, important things. We can right wrongs. We can put people to work in good jobs. We can teach our children in safe schools. We can overcome the deadly virus. We can reward work and rebuild the middle class and make healthcare secure for all. We can deliver racial justice and we can make America once again the leading force for good in the world.
I know speaking of unity can sound to some like a foolish fantasy these days. I know the forces that divide us are deep and they are real.
But I also know they are not new. Our history has been a constant struggle between the American ideal that we all are created equal and the harsh, ugly reality that racism, nativism, fear, demonization have long torn us apart.
The battle is perennial and victory is never assured. Through civil war, the Great Depression, world war, 9/11. Through struggle, sacrifice and setbacks, our better angels have always prevailed.
In each of these moments, enough of us, enough of us, have come together to carry all of us forward. And we can do that now. History, faith and reason show the way, the way of unity. We can see each other not as adversaries but as neighbors. We can treat each other with dignity and respect.
We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature. For without unity there is no peace, only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos. This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward. And we must meet this moment as the United States of America. If we do that, I guarantee you we will not fail. We have never ever, ever, ever failed in America when we’ve acted together.
And so today, at this time, in this place, let’s start afresh, all of us. Let’s begin to listen to one another again, hear one another, see one another, show respect to one another. Politics doesn’t have to be a raging fire destroying everything in its path.
Every disagreement doesn’t have to be a cause for total war. And we must reject the culture in which facts themselves are manipulated and even manufactured.
My fellow Americans, we have to be different than this. America has to be better than this. And I believe America is so much better than this. Just look around. Here we stand in the shadow of the Capitol dome as was mentioned earlier, completed amid the Civil War, when union itself was literally hanging in the balance.
Yet we endured. We prevailed. Here we stand looking out on the Great Mall where Dr. King spoke of his dream. Here we stand where 108 years ago, at another inaugural, thousands of protesters tried to block brave women marching for the right to vote. And today we mark the swearing in of the first woman in history elected to national office, Vice President Kamala Harris. Don’t tell me things can’t change.
Here we stand across the Potomac across from Arlington Cemetery where heroes who gave the last full measure of devotion rest in eternal peace. And here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. Not ever!
For all those who supported our campaign, I’m humbled by the faith you placed in us. To all those who did not support us, let me say this: Hear me out as we move forward. Take a measure of me and my heart. If you still disagree, so be it. That’s democracy. That’s America. The right to dissent peaceably within the guardrails of our republic is perhaps our nation’s greatest strength. Yet hear me clearly, disagreement must not lead to disunion.
And I pledge this to you, I will be a president for all Americans. All Americans.
And I promise you I will fight for as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did.
Many centuries ago, St. Augustine, a saint in my church, wrote that a people was a multitude defined by the common objects of their love. Defined by the common objects of their love. What are the common objects we as Americans love? That define us as Americans? I think we know. Opportunity. Security. Liberty. Dignity. Respect. Honor. And, yes, the truth.
Recent weeks and months have taught us a painful lesson. There is truth and there are lies.
Lies told for power and for profit. And each of us has a duty and a responsibility, as citizens, as Americans, and especially as leaders, leaders who have pledged to honor our Constitution and protect our nation, to defend the truth and defeat the lies.
Look, I understand that many of my fellow Americans view the future with fear and trepidation. I understand they worry about their jobs. I understand, like my dad they lay in bed staring at night staring at the ceiling wondering can I keep my health care? Can I pay my mortgage?
Thinking about their families. About what comes next. I promise you, I get it. But the answer is not to turn inward, to retreat into competing factions, distrusting those who don’t look like you. Or worship the way you do. Or don’t get their news from the same sources you do.
We must end this uncivil war that pits red against blue. Rural versus urban, conservative versus liberal. We can do this if we open our souls instead of hardening our hearts. If we show a little tolerance and humility, and if we’re willing to stand in the other person’s shoes, as my mom would say, just for a moment stand in their shoes. Because here’s this thing about life: There’s no accounting for what fate will deal you. Some days, when you need a hand, there are other days when we’re called to lend a hand.
That’s how it has to be. That’s what we do for one another. And if we are this way, our country will be stronger, more prosperous, more ready for the future, and we can still disagree. My fellow Americans, in the work ahead of us, we’re going to need each other. We need all our strength to persevere through this dark winter.
We’re entering what may be the toughest and deadliest period of the virus. We must set aside politics and finally face this pandemic as one nation. One nation.
And I promise you this, as the Bible says, we may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning. We will get through this together! Together! Look, folks, all my colleagues I served with in the House and Senate up there, we all understand the world is watching, watching all of us today. So here’s my message to those beyond our borders: America has been tested and we’ve come out stronger for it. We will repair our alliances and engage with the world once again.
Not to meet yesterday’s challenges, but today’s and tomorrow’s challenges. And we’ll lead not merely by the example of our power but by the power of our example.
We’ll be a strong and trusted partner for peace, progress and security. Look, you all know we’ve been through so much in this nation. And my first act as president, I’d like to ask you to join me in a moment of silent prayer, remember all of those who we’ve lost in this past year to the pandemic, those 400,000 fellow Americans, moms, dads, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors and coworkers.
We’ll honor them by becoming the people and nation we know we can and should be. So I ask you, let’s say a silent prayer for those who have lost their lives and those left behind and for our country.
Folks, this is a time of testing. We face an attack on our democracy and on truth. A raging virus. Growing inequity. The sting of systemic racism. A climate in crisis. America’s role in the world. Any one of these would be enough to challenge us in profound ways, but the fact is we face them all at once, presenting this nation with one of the gravest responsibilities we’ve had. Now we’re going to be tested. Are we going to step up, all of us? It’s time for boldness, for there’s so much to do.
And this is certain: I promise you, we will be judged, you and I, by how we resolve these cascading crises of our era. We will rise to the occasion is the question, will we master this rare and difficult hour? Will we meet our obligation and pass along a new and better world to our children?
I believe we must. I’m sure you do as well. I believe we will. And when we do, we’ll write the next great chapter in the history of the United States of America, the American story. A story that might sound something like a song that means a lot to me. It’s called American Anthem.
And there’s one verse that stands out, at least for me, and it goes like this: “The work and prayers of century have brought us to this day, what shall be our legacy, what will our children say? Let me know in my heart when my days are through. America, America, I gave my best to you.”
Let’s add, let’s us add our own work and prayers to the unfolding story of our great nation. If we do this, then when our days are through, our children and our children’s children will say of us, “They gave their best; they did their duty; they healed a broken land.”
My fellow Americans, I close today where I began, with the sacred oath before God and all of you: I give you my word. I will always level with you. I will defend the Constitution. I’ll defend our democracy. I’ll defend America. And I’ll give all, all of you, keep everything I do in your service, thinking not of power but of possibilities. Not of personal interest but the public good.
And together we shall write an American story of hope, not fear. Of unity, not division. Of light, not darkness. A story of decency and dignity. Love and healing. Greatness and goodness. May this be the story that guides us. The story that inspires us and the story that tells ages yet to come that we answered the call of history. We met the moment. Democracy and hope, truth and justice did not die in our watch, but thrive. That America secured liberty at home and stood once again as a beacon to the world. That is what we owe our forebearers, one another and generations to follow.
So, with purpose and resolve, we turn to those tasks of our time, sustained by faith, driven by conviction and devoted to one another and the country we love with all our hearts. May God bless America and may God protect our troops. Thank you, America.
Amanda Gorman, 22, America’s Poet Laureate, recites her inauguration poem with a poetry of voice and hands as she stood before us in yellow, hair woven and beaded and wrapped with a red silk sweeping band of a hat; a gift to all of us.
The Hill We Climb
When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade
We’ve braved the belly of the beast
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace
And the norms and notions
of what just is
Isn’t always just-ice
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it
Somehow we do it
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken
but simply unfinished
We the successors of a country and a time
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one
And yes we are far from polished
far from pristine
but that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect
We are striving to forge a union with purpose
To compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us
but what stands before us
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another
We seek harm to none and harmony for all
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true:
That even as we grieved, we grew
That even as we hurt, we hoped
That even as we tired, we tried
That we’ll forever be tied together, victorious
Not because we will never again know defeat
but because we will never again sow division
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid
If we’re to live up to our own time
Then victory won’t lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we’ve made
That is the promised glade
The hill we climb
If only we dare
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy
And this effort very nearly succeeded
But while democracy can be periodically delayed
it can never be permanently defeated
In this truth
in this faith we trust
For while we have our eyes on the future
history has its eyes on us
This is the era of just redemption
We feared at its inception
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was
but move to what shall be
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation
Our blunders become their burdens
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
and change our children’s birthright
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west,
we will rise from the windswept northeast
where our forefathers first realized revolution
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states,
we will rise from the sunbaked south
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid
The new dawn blooms as we free it
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it
If only we’re brave enough to be it
January 16, Saturday, Noon-2pm
KCDP HQ, 9 E. Vine St., Mount Vernon
Sign Our City Council Democratic Candidate Petitions. One of our most important objectives for the coming year is to recruit and elect Democrats in Knox County. We hope to have several candidates run for Mount Vernon City Council this year, but they need your help to get on the ballot. Every candidate must have 50+ signatures on their petitions in order to get their name on the ballot for the spring primary.
You can help us with a one-stop petition-signing event THIS SATURDAY, January 16, noon-2pm, at the KCDP HQ, 9 E. Vine St., Mount Vernon. (Candidates! Let us know you’ll be there!) We will have space available for candidates to collect signatures in a COVID-safe placement of tables in the office. We require all to wear masks. If you forget yours, we will have masks on hand.
Sign Our Petition Calling for Representative Bob Gibbs’ Resignation
Bob Gibbs has recently proven he is not qualified to represent Ohio’s 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives. A group of the 7th District’s citizens are calling for his resignation. We believe unity is not possible without accountability, and Rep. Gibbs needs to own his part in last week’s insurrection. We hope you’ll join us. You can sign the petition here.
On January 4, 2021, Mr. Gibbs announced his intention to vote against the acceptance of Electoral College votes from certain other states during the congressional certification process. Mr. Gibbs said — with absolutely no evidence and despite more than 60 lost court cases — that “I believe state judiciaries and state executive offices overstepped their authority in a handful of states.”
In refusing to acknowledge the real winner of the election, Mr. Gibbs threw more fuel on the fire started by President Trump’s lies about a fraudulent election, riling up their base of QAnon and radical far right groups who attacked the Capitol on January 6. Not only that, Mr. Gibbs actually voted to object to the certification of votes from Pennsylvania and Arizona following that terrorist attack. He voted as such, even as he knew that President Trump had incited that insurrection through his continual lies about stolen and “rigged” elections.
As a member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Gibbs swore an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Mr Gibbs has violated the 14th Amendment, the one that prohibits anyone who “shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States, “or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof,” from serving in Congress.
|Wednesday, January 13, 2021 4:39 PM EST|
|The Republicans who supported the charge included Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the party’s third-ranking leader in the House.The defections were a remarkable break from the head of the party by Republicans, who voted unanimously against impeaching Mr. Trump just a year ago.|
Jan 8. 2021
Patricia McGuire, Trinity Washington University
Higher education should be the great counterweight to government, the reliable steward of truth and knowledge against the corrupting tendency of politics to manipulate facts and tell outright lies as a means to gain and secure public support. Truth was one of the earliest victims of the Trump administration, with the president racking up more than 20,000 documentable lies across four years, according to The Washington Post.
Silence is the enemy of truth, and yet few college presidents dared to challenge this tsunami of official lies. Whether about immigrants or climate change or white supremacy or the Covid-19 pandemic, the president and his allies lied with abandon, and higher education remained largely silent. So, in the face of the president’s acutely manipulative lies about the presidential election, it was no surprise that colleges remained on the sidelines, raising no voice in defense of democracy in a timely way, saying nothing about voter suppression, allowing the corrosive effects of the repeated lies to inflame those Americans who are especially susceptible to demagoguery. The mob gained its energy by coalescing around the lies.
In our silence, we have allowed an even more insidious force to spread through the body politic — the racial animus and embrace of white supremacy that give so much energy to the mob. The real cause of the January 6 insurrection is the pervasive fear in one part of American society that the white majority is diminishing as Black and brown Americans grow in numbers and political power. The Trump administration inflamed this fear through rhetoric intended to stoke racial hostility, along with repeated actions to overturn achievements of President Barack Obama. Attempting to destroy the legacy of America’s first and only Black president has been one of Trump’s major preoccupations, part of his effort to remain in power. Few college presidents have had anything to say about this. Even historically Black colleges seemed co-opted by a president whose rhetoric perversely sought to portray himself as their savior.
read entire article in Chronicle of Higher Education
Jan 11, 2021
Meg Galipault, Chair of KCDP
“An elected institution that opposes elections is inviting its own overthrow.” These words by
Timothy Snyder in the New York Times have stuck with me for several days. They speak to truth
and consequences. The fatal lie told by political leaders and believed by millions—that our
election was “rigged” and that Donald Trump is the true winner—will have devastating
consequences for us all: the loss of democracy. This lie fed the discontent that led to last week’s
The country indulged Trump’s lie for two months. He took it upon himself to challenge the votes
only in those swing states he lost, spending much of November and December engaged in more
than 60 lawsuits contesting the results. He lost every single suit. Not a single piece of evidence
convinced any judge, including judges appointed by Trump, to overturn the results. All the
while, Trump heralded the lie that he won the election in a “landslide.” He fed Americans with
provably false information about fraud.
Had our Republican leaders done what legislators have done in elections past for centuries—
accept and acknowledge the winner—perhaps no storm would have descended on the Capitol to
disrupt the Congressional certification of the election last Wednesday. Instead, legislators, like
our own Representative Bob Gibbs (OH-07), perpetuated the lie, riled up their base of QAnon
and radical far right groups, and encouraged them to “Stop the Steal.”
As of this morning (Jan. 11), Rep. Gibbs still has not issued a public statement denouncing the
violence. But I’m not surprised. Gibbs was, after all, one of the 100+ U.S. Representatives who
voted on January 6, AFTER the insurrection, to oppose certification of the Electoral College for
In voting to reject the certification, Bob Gibbs willfully lied to his constituents. He knows how
elections work; he’s been running for various offices for two decades. He knows how votes are
counted and by whom and how rare it is to find fraud. He knows how vote totals are released
throughout the night and sometimes into the days following an election. He knows our system
allows for ballots from overseas U.S. service people. He knows what provisional ballots are. He
knows the role of the Secretary of State in certifying elections. He is not some rube.
Hence, he lied last week. He continues to lie by not acknowledging Joe Biden as president-elect.
And in letting this lie stand and fester, he is every bit as culpable for the Capitol insurrection as
Donald Trump. If he had half a conscience, if he mourned those five deaths, he would resign.
We, the voters of the 7th U.S. Congressional District, deserve better.
Whoever told you 2021 would be more chill than 2020 lied to you.
As I write this, a riotous mob of right wing thugs have taken over the U.S. Capitol building after receiving encouragement from the outgoing president earlier today, material support from right wing media and the Republican Party for the past four years, and aid and comfort from a supremely racist and callous political establishment over the past four decades.
It’s a remarkable moment to witness the siege of the most federal of federal buildings in the capital city of the United States, with more law enforcement officers than anywhere else in the nation.
We know that had the insurrectionists been Black or Brown they would also be dead. We know that had Hillary Clinton ordered people to the US Capitol to “fight” she would have been rebuked forcefully by the entire political establishment.
But we also know that we live in the United States of America, a nation at choice when it comes to determining who gets to be angry, who gets to be violent, who gets to revolt. In America, we reserve the right of revolution for those who’ve always had the most power. Sometimes they revolt in the form of mob violence. Other times it’s the quiet theft of trillions from the treasury or the suppression of votes through legal bribery and gerrymandering. The result is the same.
Recall that time back in 2020 when this nation chose not to muster its resources to fight a deadly pandemic, chose not to equip its people with masks and face shields. Recall a few months later when that same nation chose to equip its security forces with gas masks and riot shields and toxic chemicals we don’t use in war and to deploy them against the very people they are sworn to protect and serve. Recall the front of the White House or the streets of Portland or New York or Los Angeles where those security forces kidnapped, beat, drove over, and arrested thousands in the name of “law and order.”
Recall today, the 6th of January 2021. When an angry mob stormed the U.S. Capitol and the US Department of Defense refused DC’s request for support from the National Guard. Recall the scenes of mayhem inside the halls of “the world’s greatest deliberative body” as Trump extremists removed the US flag and replaced it with a Trump flag. Recall the calm, kind way these violent, criminal, insurrectionists were gently led out of the building as if they were merely in the wrong seating section at the theatre and needed the friendly assistance of an usher.
Now recall the 350,000 people who are not alive to witness these chickens coming home to roost.
Welcome to 2021.
This is what can happen when you put people in charge of government who don’t believe in government, when you undermine democracy from within. The good news: we have a new president coming, a new Congress coming, and a new, Democratic and democratic Senate coming (congratulations to incoming Senators Warnock and Ossoff). We have each other.
The bad news: we also have more conflict, division, pain, disinformation, and chaos coming. The poison is already flowing deeply through the body politic. It will take time to extract it, and we will suffer in the meantime. Hang in there. Stay vigilant. Stay safe. Let’s hold each other through this latest storm.
Baratunde Jan 6, 2020