The unbelievable insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week is a wake-up call for how deep our nation’s fault lines and inequities have become.

Through all of America’s historic ups and downs, individuals’ hope for upward mobility, security and rule of law has fueled the America dream.

That dream has been stained, though, by slavery and Native American genocide, which egregiously repressed and closed off full participation in that dream by all Americans.     

Not since the Civil War have we experienced a threat like this to our self-government.

Why now? What has happened to so deeply divide our country?

 The answer is the four powerful negative forces that have coalesced into what is a moment of truth for our democracy and our humanity. The year 2021 will be seminal for our future. How we govern at local, state and federal levels will be critical. Treating each other with respect and dignity is crucial.

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To start the healing, we must acknowledge and address the four negative forces:

· Systematic inequities and discrimination.

· Consolidation of wealth and hollowing out of Main Street businesses.

· The fragile state of our local free press system.

· The dysfunction of social media, including Facebook , Google and Twitter.

If Americans have the will and the leadership to honestly address and reform these forces, and do it with equanimity, we can recreate the American Dream for those who follow us.

With the continued support of our community, The Seattle Times will continue to do all we can to inform and engage our community with what has become a national model for regional journalism.

For additional detail see our full annual community message