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On the anniversary of the U.S. Capitol Hill attack, Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ) recalled in a Twitter thread a conversation he had with his 5-year-old son on the night of the Jan. 6.
On Jan. 6, 2021, thousands of former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol Building to prevent Congress from counting electoral college votes and keep Trump in power.
Two years later, the 40-year-old U.S. representative from New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District tweeted how he would discuss the domestic terrorist attack with his children and what he would teach them.
Kim, who previously helped clean up debris in the aftermath of the Capitol Hill siege, expressed concern for the future of the nation and its children.
“It hurt my heart to think of the terrible example our broken politics sets for our kids,” Kim tweeted. “It’s sad to imagine 5 year olds discussing the horrible actions of adults. What are they saying? What lessons are they learning?”
“I fear we are becoming a nation addicted to anger,” he added. “My heart hurts for a generation of children raised in a pandemic and surrounded by political vitriol. I cannot perfectly shelter my boys from turbulent times. Nor can I just assume they draw the right lessons on their own.”
Following the attack, Kim said that he has since been working to solve the question of how leaders and citizens can heal the country.
The congressman noted the importance of teaching people respect that goes beyond institutions.
“As I talk to my boys about Jan 6, I will teach my boys to respect the Capitol. To recognize it’s more than just a structure. It is the physical manifestation of Article 1 of our Constitution. To defile and disrespect the Capitol is to defile and disrespect our Constitution,” Kim tweeted.
“I will teach my boys that our respect must also extend beyond our institutions and include the people around us,” Kim added. “We are struggling from a crisis of empathy as a nation. It’s why so many Americans are willing to call each other the enemy. Empathy must flow in all directions.”
Kim has worked as a career public servant under Democrats and Republicans and has served at USAID, the Pentagon, the State Department and the White House National Security Council.
“I don’t have all the answers on how to best talk about Jan 6 and this chaotic moment we live in, but I do know that as a father I can’t keep ignoring it with my boys,” Kim concluded. “Kids are perceptive and they soak in far more than we understand. I will do my best to teach them to love this building as much as I do. I hope my boys and kids around our country will grow up to respect our democracy, respect each other and respect what it takes to be caretakers of a democracy that is simultaneously powerful and fragile.”