This has been a difficult week. And it comes on top of what has been an incredibly difficult year. Emotions are raw as we have witnessed an erosion of our democracy and an elevation of racism and hatred that has shaken all of us.
Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Trump for the second time. Last week, the League called for the removal of President Trump for his role in the attack on our U.S. Capitol.
This was a critical decision for the national board to make, but it was rooted in our mission. As an organization, we have fought for more than 100 years to defend our democracy. This has included many times where we stood up to threats to our core institutions. From fighting to enfranchise women and others who have been denied the vote to challenging McCarthyism and working to reduce the undue influence of big donors on our elections, we have stood on the right side of history. Last week was no exception.
As the process moves to the U.S. Senate, we encourage Leagues to sign and share our action alert and reach out to your Senators
Unfortunately, what we saw last week may not be the end of violence. We must stay informed and alert. Efforts to undermine our democracy will continue in the days ahead of inauguration. Protests may also erupt into violence again this weekend around the nation, in Washington D.C., and in the future beyond next week.
LWVUS will have no formal role in these gatherings (or counter protests). As an organization, we value political expression and protest – however, safety cannot be guaranteed at these protests. We encourage League leaders to monitor the news locally and connect with your members in advance of the holiday weekend. Please remind them of this safety message. LWVUS will continue to monitor the investigation in Washington and communicate updates with state Leaders. We are also reinvesting in our efforts to reform democracy through passage of HR1 and to ensure voting rights through the VRAA. Finally, we will continue to look at how we can help combat mis- and dis-information and strengthen foundational civics education.
The year is off to quite a start, so we will continue to keep hope alive and take care of ourselves and each other. I encourage each of you to take a moment to disconnect from all that is happening for some self-care and time with your loved ones. Please be safe and don’t forget to wear your mask!
Deborah Ann Turner, MD, JD