A message from Mark after Capitol violence
Dear CCL volunteers, supporters and staff,
Yesterday was a frightening and heartbreaking day, as hundreds of our fellow Americans desecrated our nation’s Capitol. I imagine the images hit close to home for you, as they did for me—we have walked those very halls and felt the significance and privilege of being in the seat of American democracy. Many of us have warm relationships with our members of Congress and their staff, and we’ve been friendly with food service workers, security guards and others whose paths we cross on Capitol Hill. Knowing they were in harm’s way made yesterday’s events even more painful.
If you need support to process the events and emotions of this week, your Regional Coordinator may be holding “office hours” on Zoom. Please feel free to reach out to them or to other CCL staff members as we navigate this together.
I am grateful that Congress finished its work last night and many Republican members of Congress spoke out calling for an end to the mob violence and lies about the election. Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) called yesterday’s events an “insurrection,” and warned, “Those who choose to continue to support his [President Trump’s] dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy.” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16) in the House also denounced the insurrection, saying, “What happened yesterday is a call to accountability.” Unfortunately, more than 100 other Republicans ignored that call and chose to double down, continuing to object to states’ election certifications.
If your member of Congress is among the dissenters, I understand that meeting with them face-to-face might feel impossible right now. From our early days as an organization, our rule for citizen lobbyists was to meet with members of Congress from a place of respect, gratitude, and appreciation for their public service. If that’s not something you can do right now, it’s okay to take a step back from lobbying. There are other vital ways to build political will for climate solutions in your communities, which may be a better fit for you right now.
But in my view, it’s clear that American democracy needs more adults in the room. What we do in CCL is model the behavior that we need throughout our country: mutual respect, healthy dialogue, and faith in the processes and institutions of our democracy. I invite you to continue to be that example of democracy in action. If we continue to work together—with each other, within our communities, and with Congress—we can and will make positive change.
Mark Reynolds is the executive director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.