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April 22, 2016
For us at ADST, an organization that works to capture, preserve, and share the experiences of U.S. diplomats, it was painful to watch the violent events at the U.S. Capitol last week. The peaceful transition of power is a central tenet of American democracy. While the right to peacefully assemble is enshrined in the First Amendment, U.S. foreign policy opposes violent attacks such as those we saw in Washington on January 6. It is with those principles in mind that we at ADST strongly condemn the violent storming of the U.S. Capitol Building. We also mourn the senseless loss of life resulting from that violence, including the death of a Capitol Hill police officer working bravely to protect our members of Congress.
While we applaud condemnation of last week’s violence from leaders on both sides of the aisle, ADST’s staff, members, and board are now looking to our elected officials to embrace and secure next week’s inauguration. The constitutional and peaceful transition of power is a democratic tradition for which our nation is rightfully admired, and an essential feature that distinguishes our country from the sort of antidemocratic, autocratic, kleptocratic government many U.S. diplomats have spent their lives working to contain and reform. ADST will be sharing oral histories from our archives detailing some of that work via a special “moments” series in coming days.
The U.S. system of governance – imperfect as it may be – has been a model for democracy since its inception. With the commitment and resolve of our institutions and citizens, as recently demonstrated in our free and fair election, our system of governance can certainly continue to be an enduring beacon of hope in the future.
In the meantime, our thoughts are with the brave men and women protecting capitol buildings around our country from further violence, and with the brave men and women of the U.S. Diplomatic Service who continue to proudly represent America’s ideals, aspirations, and promise around the world.
Susan R. Johnson
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