NEW YORK – The former Homeland Security Secretary in the Obama Administration, Jeh Johnson, told a virtual “luncheon” of the New York State Bar Association recently that we live in a nation “divided right now along racial, cultural, class and political lines.”
Johnson, who grew up in the Town of Poughkeepsie, said the country has taken “steps backward” in history with the January 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol Building.
Johnson said there exists now and in his father’s 89-year life – Jeh Vincent Johnson passed away on January 27, 2021 in Poughkeepsie – “a strand of America that is racist, that is intolerant, that is prone to conspiracy theories, prejudice and violence,” a society that is “bitterly” divided.
“We try to keep it under a rock; we try to keep a lid on it, but particularly over the last four years, that lid was peeled off and that strand of America felt entitled to bring its hate out into the open. We saw in Charlottesville in 2017 and we saw that in the U.S. Capital on January 6,” he said.
Most offensive to Johnson was to see the image of one of the domestic terrorists storming through the Capitol Building while carrying a Confederate flag. He said those who charged into the Capitol were “bigoted, racist and prone to violence.”