“We can never move forward without remembering the past; we do not progress without an honest and unclouded memory.” - Pope Francis
One year ago today, the nation watched in shock and disbelief when roughly 8,000 rioters fought their way into the U.S. Capitol. This attack on our democratic process, fueled by untruths, is incongruent with our Jesuit values, which encourage peace, civil dialogue, and social justice. We remember and pray for those lost, the injured, and their friends and family.
Viewing the event through a historical lens, we are reminded of Benjamin Franklin’s observation during the 1787 Constitutional Convention that the delegates were creating “a republic, if we can keep it.” More than 70 years later, as the nation lumbered in fits and starts toward greater democratization, President Abraham Lincoln called upon the “better angels of our nature” in fulfilling the promise of the Constitution to make “a more perfect Union.” Over the past 150 years, voting rights became the primary sign of political empowerment for the working class, African Americans, Native peoples, and women, bending, as Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned, the moral arc of the universe toward justice.
We have faced many tests as a nation. By remembering clearly and accurately the events that transpired on Jan. 6, 2021, we may begin to replace division with unity, anger with compassion, and fear with hope. As Franklin mused, “A nation of well-informed [citizens] who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance where tyranny begins.”
As we embark together on a new year, with hope for the future, we look to the words of St. Ignatius, who said “Truth always ends by victory; it is not unassailable, but invincible." Let us pause today in remembrance so that we may continue to pursue the truth and build a more just and inclusive society.
Linda M. LeMura, Ph.D.
James P. Hannan, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs