RLF Statement on Events of January 5-6, 2021

Today has been an extraordinary and scary day in American history, its developments generating feelings across an unimaginably broad emotional spectrum.

We have been riveted, watching unprecedented violence in the nation’s capital (and, literally, in its Capitol building) that was driven by at best disingenuous and arguably seditious actions, taken at the highest levels of government. This jaw-dropping, mesmerizing spectacle almost eclipsed events of the last 24 hours in Georgia.

Almost, but not quite. For in Georgia we are once again able to celebrate the effectiveness of fair and inclusive elections, led by dedicated, strategic grass roots organizing and advocacy by both political parties, that drove voter turnout overseen by committed public officials and workers. It resulted in an outcome not only of electing the first Black and Jewish U.S. senators in that state’s history, but of creating a majority in the U.S. Senate that will enable the new presidential administration and Congress to work to turn back the damaging tide of the last four years.

“America’s political institutions—its democracy—survive,” said RLF President Michael Mantell. “In this election, we have secured the opportunity to repair them and make them better and stronger.”

Perhaps it was folly to imagine that this administration would close in any other fashion than the horror we have witnessed today. Yet at the end of this day, we at RLF hold more hope for the future than we have for a long while. Our democratic institutions have held and we can now turn to the important work ahead of building a better nation, one in which recognition of the vital relationships of everything in our human and natural worlds—from community health, economic opportunity, and racial justice to biodiversity conservation and climate resilience—drive the choices we make as individuals, communities, a nation, and a world.