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The Capitol riot? Admit that this is who we are — and get better

One of the clichés spouted by media and politicians in response to Jan. 6 is that “words matter.” These words are usually aimed at Donald Trump and his epigones, aimed at them for stoking the embers of hate and violence culminating in last week’s siege on the Capitol.

Words do matter but let’s reflect on a different, less innocuous string of terms, the catchphrase “That is not who we are.” Be it a mass shooting or smashing the windows and breaking into the halls of our most sacred institution, President-Elect Joe Biden inevitably intones the mantra, “That is not who we are.” Last week, he repeated this refrain as he addressed the coup attempt at what Biden rightly termed our “citadel of liberty.”


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