The violence we all witnessed last week shocked our collective conscience, but it did not rattle our commitment to democracy.
Oxfam works in many countries around the world where militias and other non-state armed groups run rampant, and have seen firsthand how the existence of such groups threatens the safety and well-being of civilians, and undermines the democratic process and the rule of law. And sadly, America is not immune from the danger of violence and authoritarianism.
Make no mistake, this was an attempted coup at the hands of white supremacists. President Trump and many Republicans in Congress incited and enabled the violence that took place at the Capitol in an effort to overturn a free and fair election. This has been intentionally seeded by President Trump and his enablers for more than four years. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color have warned of exactly this outcome, but for too long, their words have gone unheeded. That's why we are joining with allies in calling for him to be removed by any and all legal means.
In a true democracy, voters, backed by the law and the institutions of our democratic process, decide the outcome of the election. Not the candidates. Americans did their part, voting in record numbers in the midst of a pandemic, with poll workers and many others risking their health to fulfill their democratic duty. Their efforts must not be in vain, and voters must never again have to choose between their health and democratic participation. Respecting the outcome of a free and fair election is a cornerstone of our democracy. When those are not protected, we risk the crumbling of our democratic system.
As intended in our democratic process, and despite the violent events that occurred last week, Congress and Vice President Pence have officially affirmed Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election. We call for peace and respect for the will of the people in our election. Bullies, autocrats, and white supremacists will not succeed in silencing the will of the people. Our country’s leaders must ensure a peaceful transfer of power.
Now is not a time for inertia – it is a time for action, for bold, systemic, long-term change and accountability. We call on President-elect Biden to dismantle the rising threat of white supremacy in our country and hold those who commit acts of violence accountable. His administration and Congress must also get back to work immediately to address growing inequality, and usher in a new era of progressive, global, and feminist policies that will prioritize peace, racial and gender justice, climate action, and equal opportunity for every single person. People in the US and abroad are suffering. Now is the time for bigger, bolder action that will deliver a more resilient and dignified future where everyone can thrive, not just survive.
We must move beyond political theater and pro forma acts supporting the status quo. Congress must protect our democracy and do its part by enacting a transformational COVID-19 recovery plan that helps families cope with the economic impacts of the pandemic, get people back to work, rein in corporate power, help rebuild our economy from the bottom up, and begin to tackle the economic, gender, and racial inequalities that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.