NEW YORK, NY — Yesterday, over 500 protesters forcefully entered the Capitol building and halted the official electoral college certification while many more gathered outside. In response to these events, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) released the following statement:
“The violent, lawless, mob that invaded the seat of American democracy on Wednesday both captured a tragically fitting end to this presidency but also highlighted the challenges America must face as we continue to transition power from one administration to the next. What it made clear is that we are a country with very different reactions to protests by people of color compared to gatherings of white men and women; we have a media with very different ways of describing what the world witnessed live; and we are a nation of individuals with varying explanations of what triggered the chaos that unfolded.
The safety and protection of our democratic system is not a partisan issue. Yesterday’s attack on the Capitol was a direct assault on this system and on the rights our service men and women have fought for centuries to defend. The illegal actions by thousands of our fellow citizens who seemed to revel in their destruction of our nation’s Capitol should not be an occasion for nuanced perspective. No matter who you voted for, it was an attack on our country. After a legal, fair, and state by state certified national election, the President called for the country to ignore the results and deliver him an unearned victory. When that did not happen, he called on his supporters to march on the Capitol. They did and at least one person was killed, many were injured and the oldest democracy in the world was revealed to be much more fragile than many believed.
Wednesday’s events have no place in our society. IAVA condemns the violence and anarchy we witnessed and encourages everyone who took part in the unlawful actions to consider the democratic ideals that, instead, we should aspire to reach.
We can recover from this moment. We can do so not by undermining the system with lies, conspiracy theories and hate but by peacefully and legally fixing the parts of our society that are failing us. We can do so by expanding American’s access to the ballot box, by removing the racial and gender-based barriers that limit so many from achieving the American dream, by supporting and paying attention to organizations, individuals, and groups that promote fact over fiction, and by spending more time working to make it the country we want rather than literally and figuratively tearing it down.”
IAVA is the voice for the post-9/11 veteran generation. With over 400,000 veterans and allies nationwide, IAVA is the leader in non-partisan veteran advocacy and public awareness. We drive historic impacts for veterans and IAVA’s programs are second to none. Any veteran or family member in need can reach out to IAVA’s Quick Reaction Force at quickreactionforce.org or 855-91RAPID (855-917-2743) to be connected promptly with a veteran care manager who will assist. IAVA’s The Vote Hub is a free tool to register to vote and find polling information. IAVA’s membership is always growing. Join the movement at iava.org/membership.