Statement by Michael D. Rich on the U.S. Capitol Siege

For Release

Thursday
January 7, 2021

We have seen a great deal of civil unrest in America over the past many months, much of it peaceful. But the deadly siege that took place at the U.S. Capitol yesterday was different—both in motivation and response. The audacity of the rioters and the violence they perpetrated should have no place in the political process, although tragically, and all too often, violence finds its home in the United States.

Yesterday's shameful events stem from complex issues, including the accelerating violation of norms, racism, and growing distrust in institutions and the other trends that make up Truth Decay, the diminishing role of facts and analysis in American public life. These roots run deep. Countering them will require hard work, moral courage, and persistence. And repairing these fractures in our civic infrastructure will benefit from increased government transparency, more expertise in the executive branch, more inclusive public institutions, and greater investment in both civic education and civic accountability—ideas political scientist Jennifer Kavanagh and I advanced recently as advice to the incoming Biden-Harris administration. I recognize these are just some of many areas that need attention.

I believe RAND's mission is essential to countering the forces we saw yesterday, revitalizing the health of our democracy, and bolstering our collective well-being and sense of safety in the world—even as the path from research and analysis to sound policy can at times be winding. We are resolute in our efforts to develop solutions to society's most complex challenges by starting with facts and rigorous analysis.

This year did not start off in the way many of us had hoped. But I still believe 2021 will present growing opportunities to demonstrate how the application of facts and analysis can help restore trust in our democratic systems and solve even the most contentious problems.

—Michael D. Rich, President and CEO

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