January 6, 2021
The Central Conference of American Rabbis condemns, in the strongest terms, the multiple assaults waged against American democracy from inside and outside the United States Capitol. Inside, a minority of Senators and members of Congress, seeking to subvert the will of the American people, attempted to reverse the result of our recent presidential election on the basis of lies, slander, and groundless conspiracy theories. Outside, the President of the United States incited a band of his followers to storm the citadel of our nation’s democracy, an act of terror that threatened the lives of members of Congress, Senators, Capitol Hill employees, and law enforcement officers.
We should not have been surprised. For two months now, President Trump and some of his supporters have endeavored to undermine American democracy. The President has employed harsh and dangerous words in attempts to intimidate members of his own Party to replace the electoral majority with his own will. We learn from Proverbs, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). The President has wielded the power of words dangerously, and today, our country tragically experienced the violence and fear his tongue has wrought.
Still, Reform rabbis hold on to hope, and we urge members of our communities and the American people not to despair. On the very day of the most dramatic assault on American democracy in more than 150 years, we are reassured by the decisions of Vice President Pence and Senate Majority Leader McConnell to defy the President’s unlawful and immoral orders and instead uphold the Constitution. In the wake of today’s harrowing ordeal at our nation’s Capitol, we are hopeful that Republicans and Democrats can now come together to restore faith in American democracy, and that under the leadership of President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, our elected leaders will work to unify and bring renewed hope to our divided nation.
Let order and peace be restored. Let democracy prevail. Let our nation’s motto, E pluribus unum, be animated by millions of Americans, coming together to build unity with diversity. Let freedom ring.
Rabbi Ronald Segal
Rabbi Hara E. Person
Central Conference of American Rabbis