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January 6 and January 20, 2021: two days of extreme contrast and meaning. What do they mean to us?

Let's start with the assault on the Capitol, the home of our democracy. Not only was it vandalized, but also people were killed, injured and threatened with murder, all inspired by the then President of the United States! I took it personally. It was my Capitol they trashed, my representatives they threatened, my vote they wanted to discount. Perpetrators need to be held accountable. All of them.

We need to acknowledge what we saw. We saw that this mob was largely left alone to wander about and trash the Capitol as they pleased. If that same mob were BLM protesters they would have met with tear gas, bullets, massive arrests on the spot, and violence from police. That's the picture we need to see and do something about. As one writer says, "This is America." We need to acknowledge our own individual and collective responsibility for harm, abuse, oppressions and destruction to the lives of millions. We must acknowledge our crimes against humanity and the planet, and change.

Two weeks later we watched the rituals and traditional ceremonies of Inauguration Day. It proceeded without a hint of violence and with a spirit of hope and truth. For a short while people of both parties came together in a moving and positive ceremony. As flawed as our system is, our democracy prevailed. I cried a lot that day.

The previous day, January 19, President Biden and Vice president Harris held a ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial (pictured above) honoring the more than 400,000 Americans who have died of Covid. Biden said, "To heal, we must remember. It's hard sometimes to remember, but that's how we heal. It's important to do that as a nation. . . . We heal not by forgetting, but by remembering. Remembering is hard. It is a communal act."

As poet Amanda Gorman said in an interview before her amazing reading at the Inauguration, “In my poem, I’m not going to in any way gloss over what we’ve seen over the past few weeks and, dare I say, the past few years. But what I really aspire to do in the poem is to be able to use my words to envision a way in which our country can still come together and can still heal. It’s doing that in a way that is not erasing or neglecting the harsh truths I think America needs to reconcile with. . . . We have to confront these realities if we’re going to move forward.

There's been much talk about Unity. Many are saying, and I agree, there can be no unity without accountability. "Unity without justice serves only the agendas of those who sought to destroy our democracy." (Chris Winters)

Let's make 2021 a year of truth and reconciliation so we can move forward to the place of good health and harmony that we desire.


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