Statement by County Executive Satpal Sidhu in Response to Attack on Capitol
"Whatcom County has lowered its flags to half-mast in honor of the Capitol police officers and others who died as a result of the insurrection and attack on democracy inspired if not incited by our president.
This is a sad day for our nation and a glaring signal that our democratic system is in serious danger. This threat did not spring up overnight. It is the result of many years of poisonous rhetoric from a small minority of extremists on the far right. New media of the digital age have allowed these messages, laced with fear and conspiracy, to take hold in the hearts and minds of people across America, including in our community. It’s not easy to accept that a US president has repeatedly made false claims about the results of the election and urged others to overturn the will of 'we the people.'
I condemn violence of any kind by either right-wing or left-wing extremists. Our loyalty as United States citizens must first and foremost be to our nation, to our democracy, which respects the legitimacy of the will of voters. Party affiliation and personal preferences must be secondary. Unfortunately, small but vocal minorities on both sides of the political spectrum have taken up all the oxygen in the room. As a community with diverse histories and perspectives, we must reject divisive and extremist positions that seek to tear us apart. Instead, we must focus on our common interests and goals and our shared values and aspirations.
The word ‘freedom’ seems at times divorced from its meaning and value. Freedom does not stand alone or exist in a vacuum. Rather it is a consequence of the practice of responsibility, honesty, integrity and discipline. Like a capricious and beautiful flower, it blooms only when the conditions and care are right. You must prepare the soil, plant the seed, provide water and nutrients, pull out the weeds and ensure the right amount of sunshine. None of these elements constitute a flower, but without any of them no flower will grow. So too is our freedom! If we want to have and enjoy our freedom, we must practice responsibility, honesty, integrity and discipline, which means avoiding empty and inflammatory rhetoric.
We have a lot of hard work to do this year, and we can get through it happier, healthier and more prosperous if we work in unison, finding common ground, recognizing the humanity of others and acting out of kindness. E pluribus unum—Out of many, one— the motto of the United States, should be at the forefront of our thoughts as we come together to live, work and govern in Whatcom County."