As an immigrant to this country, I would like to say a few words to my fellow Americans and our friends around the world about the events of the past few days.
I grew up in Austria. I am very aware of Kirstall Night or the Night of the Broken Glass. It was a night of rampage against the Jews carried out in 1938 by the Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys.
Wednesday was Glass Broken Day here in the United States. The broken glass was in the windows of the United States Capitol. But not only did the mob break the Capitol windows, but also the ideas we took for granted.
Not only did they tear down the doors of the building that housed American democracy, but they also trampled the principles on which our country was founded.
I grew up in the ruins of a country that has lost its democracy.
I was born in 1947, two years after World War II. Growing up, I was surrounded by broken men who swallowed the guilt for participating in the most evil regime in history.
Not all of them were rabid anti-Semites or Nazis. Many only walked down the street step by step. They were the people next door.
Now I've never shared this so publicly because it's a painful memory, but my dad got drunk once or twice a week and he screamed and hit us and scared my mom.
I did not hold him fully responsible because our neighbor did the same to his family and the closest neighbor was over. I heard it with my own ears and saw it with my own eyes.
Famous Sword: The star from Conan the barbarian brandished the sword from the movie when he compared American democracy to the tempering of a sword
In the movie: This was Schwarzenegger with the sword in Conan the Barbarian in 1982
They experienced physical pain from the splinters in their bodies and emotional pain from what they saw or did.
It all started with lies and lies and lies and intolerance. As a European, I've seen firsthand how things can get out of hand.
I know there is fear in this country – and around the world – that something like this could happen right here.
Now I don't think it is, but I do believe we need to be aware of the dire consequences of selfishness and cynicism.
President Trump tried to discard the results of an election and a fair election. He sought a coup by misleading people with lies.
My father and our neighbors were also misled with lies. I know where such lies lead.
President Trump is a failed leader. He will go down in history as the worst president ever. The good thing is that it will soon be as irrelevant as an old tweet.
But what should we think of the elected officials who made his lies and betrayal possible?
Let me remind you of what Teddy Roosevelt said: “Patriotism means standing by the country. It doesn't mean standing by the president. & # 39;
John F. Kennedy wrote a book called Profiles in Courage. Some members of my own party would never see their names in such a book because of their spinelessness, I guarantee you.
You are complicit in those who carried the flag of self-righteous insurrection into the Capitol.
But it did not work. Our democracy was established. Within a few hours, the Senate and House of Representatives did the people's business and confirmed the election of President-elect Biden.
What a great demonstration of democracy.
Now I grew up Catholic. I went to church, went to Catholic school, learned the Bible and my catechism, and from those days I remember a phrase that is relevant today: "The heart of a servant".
It means serving something bigger than yourself. You see, what we need now from our elected officials is an official's heart.
We need officials who serve something greater than their own power or their own party. We need officials who can serve higher ideals: the ideals in which this country was founded, the ideals other countries look up to.
In the past few days friends from all over the world have been calling and calling and calling me, calling me distraught and worrying us as a nation.
One woman was in tears about America, wonderful tears of idealism, about what America should be. These tears should remind us of what American means to the world.
Now I have told everyone who has called it heartbreaking that Americans will come back from those dark days and let our light shine again.
Now do you see that sword? This is the sword of Conan. Here's the thing about swords: the more you temper a sword, the stronger it gets. The more you hit it with a hammer, then heat it in the fire, and then poke it in the cold water, and then hit it again, and then dip it in the fire and the water, and the more you do that, the stronger it gets.
I'm not telling you any of this because I want you to become a skilled sword maker. But our democracy is like the steel of this sword: the warmer it is, the stronger it gets.
Our democracy has been weakened by wars, injustices and uprisings.
I believe that as shaken as we are by the events of the past few days, we will come out stronger because we now understand what can be lost.
We need reforms, of course, so that this never happens again. We need to hold the people accountable who brought us to this unforgivable point.
And we need to look past ourselves, our parties and disagreements, and put our democracy first.
And we have to heal together from the drama that just happened.
We need to heal, not just as Republicans or Democrats, but as Americans too.
To begin this process, regardless of your political affiliation, I would ask you to say with me to President-elect Biden: “President-elect Biden, we wish you every success as our President. If you succeed, our nation is successful. We wholeheartedly support you as you try to bring us together. & # 39;
And for those who think they can overturn the United States Constitution, you know this: you will never win.
President-elect Biden, we stand with you today, tomorrow and forever to defend our democracy from those who would threaten it.
May God bless you all and may God bless America.