WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, today U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan spoke with Chris Ryan on WGIR’s “NH Today” about the importance of preserving American democracy in the wake of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Senator Hassan, who was in the Capitol on the day of the insurrection, reflected on what it means to live in a representative democracy and the significance of that day in the context of the United States’ long-standing efforts to spread the values of democracy around the world.
Here are some highlights from Senator Hassan’s interview:
On America’s role in protecting democracy around the globe: “Ever since World War II, the United States has been considered the hallmark for what it is to live in a representative democracy… The foundation of our democracy was attacked – it was threatened on January 6 – when we witnessed insurrectionists violate a really basic norm that is the foundation of the democracy, which is that we have impartially administered free and fair elections. And what we saw a year ago today was the kind of thing that we've seen in other parts of the world that we as Americans have said are unacceptable and violations of democratic norms.”
On Senator Hassan’s experience on January 6: “I just can tell you that among the Senators -- we were in the room we had all been evacuated to and we were watching things unfold as the law enforcement told us that they were going to move us off campus to further protect our safety, and we refused to go. And that was a bipartisan commitment at that moment. And we said we're going back, or if the chamber is too damaged for us to do our work, we have to bring TV cameras here and we will continue to certify the vote. But the work of democracy has to go forward. And that was the day, that was a moment, that gave me great hope. And I think it is really important for us all to reflect on the fact that the thing that distinguishes a democracy is that we make decisions and we resolve disputes without violence.”
On how to strengthen democracy moving forward: “Our founders sacrificed so much to give us this opportunity to self-govern, and most of the rest of the world didn't believe that a group of ordinary people could do that. We have proved them wrong for over 200 years, but it is a very, very fragile thing. And one of the things we have to do is not only understand what the foundations of a working democracy are, and reject any attempts to violently interfere with it, but we also have to understand the difference between truth and lie. We have to understand what we're seeing and what our sources of information are, and we have to help our children and all Americans in an ongoing way as our information universe changes and evolve to distinguish truth from lies and to understand the motivations of the people who are lying to us. And that's a commitment that I think has to be ongoing.”
To read Senator Hassan’s statement on the anniversary of January 6 click here.