Councilmember Pam Foley Condemns the Violent Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Building
On Wednesday, January 6th, I watched in disbelief when an angry mob stormed the Capitol Building to prevent our elected representatives from certifying the 2020 General Election. That day, our democracy was threatened.
As your Councilmember, I condemn all acts of violence, insurrection, and sedition that aims to disrupt our system of self-government. It’s in times like these I find power in our National Motto, E Pluribus Unum — Out of Many, One. We might be from different states. We may be from different countries, pray to a different creator, or speak a different language, yet we must remember it is by creed and belief in democracy that we find unity.
As an elected official I have taken the oath of office many times, both as a candidate and then before assuming office. This oath of office is important and includes a statement to uphold the U.S. Constitution. This pledge includes a statement to protect and defend the Constitution against “all enemies, foreign and domestic.” I take this oath with the utmost seriousness and on more than one occasion I have been moved by the emotions of the importance of the meaning of these words.
When elected officials are prevented from carrying out their obligations, like certifying an election, when they are threatened in the halls where they work, Americans should feel deeply disturbed. These actions are against our creed and result in only further division. Governance becomes nearly impossible for this great nation if we cannot peacefully transition from one government to the next.
The City of San Jose relies on the federal government to set the gold standard for what it means to be a democracy, as does the rest of the world. In the midst of a pandemic, government must be focused on distributing the vaccine, rebuilding our economy for small businesses to thrive, and helping those in need. During these times, our residents yearn for logic, reason, and pragmatism to prevail. Not mob rule.
Our city has tough decisions ahead of it. How we make equitable decisions for our residents, how we tackle the challenge of homelessness, how we make San Jose more affordable to our children and spread job opportunities more evenly, are all big questions we need answered. The understanding that elected officials are sent to represent the people, to study complex issues, to view all perspectives, and then vote on behalf of their constituents must win the day. History shows us that mob rule is ineffective and clumsy at best and undemocratic and unprincipled at worst.
Anyone that incites violence or participates in any insurrection should be condemned by everyone. Our democracy depends on justice to work its way out. The path forward depends on all of us to recognize that our system of self-governance is fragile.
One day in 1787, Benjamin Franklin walked out of Independence Hall after the Constitutional Convention and someone shouted, “Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy?” Ben Franklin replied back, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
I remain hopeful for our future and believe strongly we will turn the page on these darker days. We will maintain this democracy and push forward to brighter times. As we build towards a more perfect union, I encourage all of us to come together over the shared sentiment of healing and unity and peace. Let us all double down on the ideals of democracy, the ideals of the United States of America.