The Crisis in Washington/American Politics and How to Respond: A Panel Discussion and Forum

Please join members of the CAS, Department of Political Science, and LAW community to discuss the recent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, its historical relevance, and what we can learn and expect going forward for American politics.

Date: Monday, January 11, 2021
Time: 4:00 to 5:30 p.m
Register via Zoom

Jack Beermann, Professor of Law (LAW)
Taylor Boas, Associate Professor of Political Science (CAS)
Karen Pita Loor, Associate Dean for Experiential Education & Clinical Associate Professor of Law (LAW)
Lida Maxwell, Associate Professor of Political Science & Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies (CAS)
Rachel Meade, Lecturer of Political Science (CAS)
Spencer Piston, Assistant Professor of Political Science (CAS)
Moderator: Virginia Sapiro, Professor of Political Science & Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies, and Dean Emerita of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (CAS)

Faculty members will present on various topics regarding these recent events and will take questions from the audience. Please email with any questions. We hope to see you there.

From January 7, 2021:


It is perfunctory for me to support enlightened, learned, liberal democracy but I struggle with what to do with January 6. Keeping it personal, I ask you to appreciate that January 6 afternoon feeling in your gut that sparked your sense that you – we – are vulnerable and that your way of life (and your democracy) could be easily snatched. You have insight into how I have felt most of my life.

In one day, we watched as thousands stormed the Capitol in an effort to stop the scheduled reckoning and confirmation of national election results. The sacking of the building resulted in the loss of life. On the same day, prosecutors in Kenosha, Wisconsin, declined to bring charges against a white police officer who shot Jacob Blake in the back in August. (Remember that the shooting set off days of protests and demonstrations within the region and throughout the country.) Let us not forget that we all continuing to struggle with COVID-19 – on January 6, Boston’s cases and deaths were the highest since the Spring.

Go ahead and write “Day of Reaping” within the Wednesday, January 6, box of your 2021 calendar. The day is as much about our cynicism, desperation, and depravity as it is about our democracy. Yesterday was another reminder of our individual lack of caring about someone else. We gave sympathy and leniency in our outrageously sad response to the January 6, violent takeover. And, to date, we continue to support and condone leaders who embrace fear and sow the acceptance of brutal attacks on Americans. I just can’t help but to think, whether intentional or not, forces of hatred and racism rallied and incited yesterday’s humiliation. For years, we have sat and watched. I stand with the increasing stream of folks calling for legal, democratic, and moral accountability for the people who looted and ransacked the Capital, those who incited the actions; and those who allowed it to happen.

Foolheartedly, perhaps, I am still willing to lend my personal, individual efforts to the cause (if someone can tell me what the cause is). I struggle with what I may do now – how any of us goes forward, and what “America” means. I’m open to ideas for how I, you, and we go forward. What can and should we do? As a start, I think adults talk this stuff out. I plan to take advantage of space and time to hear other folks’ thoughts for what we can do as individuals and together to move forward (whatever moving forward might be). I am pleased that the CAS, Department of Political Science, and LAW community have planned an opportunity for us to discuss these recent incidents. I’m looking for less grievance and kvetching and more exploration of ideas and actions that I, as a citizen, can take and inspire. Perhaps you and I will catch up and check-in. For the sake of my personal future, I remain hopeful in our ability to remake this country, this world.

I’ll end by upping the game on platitudinous thoughts and prayers and leave you with fond hopes, fervent prayers, and much strength to us all as we go forward (we’re going to need it all),

Kenneth Elmore
Associate Provost and Dean of Students

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