Yesterday, the world watched as armed insurrectionists, with the encouragement of the President of the United States, launched an attack on the Capitol in an attempt to undermine our democracy and prevent Congress from certifying the results of the Presidential election.
Two images from their failed attempt to violently invalidate the votes of millions of Americans make their motives absolutely clear: the sight of the confederate flag being paraded through the halls of the Senate and a message scrawled on a door, “Murder the media.”
White supremacy is a poison that has been with us since the beginning of our country, and the confederate flag is its symbol, meant to subjugate and terrorize Black, brown, Asian and Pacific Islander, and Indigenous people. That was the goal of this mob and the President who asked them to assemble on his behalf.
Freedom of the press is the first target of fascists everywhere, as they seek to silence opposition and suppress any information that contradicts the alternate reality that their narcissistic leader creates to support his racist fantasy world. This freedom is enshrined in our Constitution because a healthy democracy is not possible without a free press.
There is no doubt that each day that Donald Trump continues to hold the powers of the Presidency presents a grave threat to the safety of millions of American and to the stability of our country. He organized an insurrection while ignoring a pandemic. Legislators and members of the Cabinet have taken an oath to defend our Constitution and they must act to remove him from office immediately before he does greater harm to our country and democracy.
But we must not fool ourselves. The end of Trump’s presidency does not mean an end to white supremacy in our government. After forcing Congress to flee and vandalizing the Capitol for hours, the insurrectionists were free to walk out the door and head home. After they returned to the Capitol, half of the Republican members of the House of Representatives, who are guilty of aiding and abetting this insurrection, voted to overturn the will of the American people.
Far too many politicians enabled Donald Trump to build and sustain power. Corporate CEOs and board members, driven only by the size of their fortunes, continue to extract wealth from our labor and cynically exploit racism for their own gain.
Along with the free press, free, democratic labor unions like ours are targets of fascists who fear the power of workers united in common cause. We must remain committed to the fight to strengthen our democracy and resist white supremacy and fascism. We must continue the process we began last spring to deepen our efforts to dismantle racism, including racism within our union. Together we will build power for all working people.