January 7, 2021
Dear Amherst College Community,
Like many of you, I am sure, I was left with a range of feelings after yesterday’s horrific and deadly storming of the Capitol building in Washington. I have needed time before writing. I do so now knowing that all attempts to capture the significance of this moment and reflect on its implications are bound to be inadequate.
What happened yesterday was not a surprise, not in the usual sense. There were signs, even warnings, that violence was possible, perhaps even probable, when Trump supporters were hailed to Washington to protest the outcome of the presidential election on the day when it was to be made official. There was encouragement of it at the highest level. And still, it is shocking. I felt the kind of shock that horrific events or inevitable losses cause, even when we have been forewarned, even when we know they are coming. After years of attacks on truth and the possibility of a shared sense of reality, it is good that we retain the capacity to be shocked, even, if not surprised.