Director Waisbord's Note on the Anniversary of January 6th

January 6, 2022

To the SMPA Community, 

Today is the one-year anniversary of the unforgettable attack on the U.S. Capitol and our democratic institutions. Last year, right after January 6th, I wrote to you stating my belief that our democracy was resilient, despite what we witnessed on that day. I still believe in that. The peaceful transfer of power is the hallmark of democracy. Respecting the will of the people expressed through free and fair elections is a bedrock principle of democratic life. 

A year later, it’s important for us to remember the historic events and to reflect on the monumental significance of an insurrection driven by absurdities, stoked by political opportunism and malice, and hellbent to overturn electoral results. The echoes of the infamous rampage on the heart of our democracy still reverberate, especially as we see further signs of democratic decay. The fact that sizable numbers of citizens justify and celebrate force to access political power, and brazenly disregard democratic norms and laws are ominous developments.

To the SMPA students, alumni and friends who were working in the U.S. Capitol that January 6th, I want to let you know that we are thinking of you today. We are grateful for the work you continue to do. Your work strengthens and safeguards our democracy.  

The U.S. Capitol has special relevance for the SMPA community. It has more than symbolic power. So many of our members have worked in that building which represents the fundamentals of democratic politics. We believe that democracy needs facts and information, truth-seeking, dialogue and compromise, and civil communication to express views and negotiate differences. 

I encourage you to hold on to hope for ourselves and for our country. Hope is always necessary, especially when despair seems convincing to many in these challenging times.

Silvio Waisbord 

Director, SMPA