I don’t usually make general statements reacting to major events shaping the country and world, because there is plenty of coverage on them. We take positions on issues in our portfolio, as directed by our members, committees and boards, and I usually do not like to stray into larger issues that are outside those lanes. We stick to our issues on social media, and I personally limit engagement on most other issues because of my professional position and general intolerance for a medium that quickly devolves into people yelling past each other.
However, the events yesterday at the Capitol were so shocking that our policy engagement with and PAC support for the Trump Administration compels me to speak up. I am disgusted by the violence witnessed yesterday and President Trump’s role in spreading misinformation that incited it. I’m disgusted he discredited all the good work he did reorienting the judiciary back toward respect for the rule of law and constitution by dishonoring the vote of the People and the rulings of those very same judges on his numerous challenges. I’m disheartened he besmirched his smart, well-intentioned people in the agencies who did such good work on important policies that advance the crucial mission of making life-sustaining, affordable energy accessible to all Americans, no matter their race, gender, and political orientation.
I am also disgusted that similar violence over the summer was routinely excused by most of the media and many politicians. Do they only care when they’re physically threatened, as they were at the Capitol, but not when small business owners, low-income residents, and other ordinary people in cities are killed by rioters and have their homes and businesses burned and looted? Those folks didn’t have the police and national guard protection Congress did even when it was similarly warranted. And I’m furious with dishonest media that have routinely lied and misled the public to suit a particular political agenda, fomenting the toxic environment without ever acknowledging their role.
But I also see hope after hitting rock bottom as a country. As I’m engaged in political and media work professionally, friends and family have often asked me what can be done to change the disfunction of our political situation. And I honestly haven’t had an answer for them.
But after yesterday’s confusion comes clarity. It comes from all of us, since after all, our politicians are a reflection of us. I know it sounds trite, but change can only come from within. It does seem overwhelming at times when the rhetoric on both sides is so inflammatory. Trying to engage in the debate can devolve into recriminations and accusations. I’m not encouraging engaging in unconstructive shouting matches by any means, as I limit my exposure to social and traditional media myself to maintain sanity and perspective.
Rather, we should rise above the tribalism and echo chambers that have unfortunately become the norm. We must conduct ourselves with dignity, credibility, humility, and restraint. We must listen to and accept others whom we disagree with, even when they don’t return that respect. We must stick to our nation’s founding principles of the sanctity and rights of every individual, even as many forces are undermining those basic principles. By making this effort individually and together as citizens, we may eventually get political leaders who better reflect the ideals of our nation.
So how does all that idealism translate into anything practical at the Alliance? We will continue to advance the policies that we helped enact while defending against radical proposals that would be devastating for our country. We’ve chosen those policy positions because they aren’t just good for our industry, but good for the country, despite how we may be maligned and misunderstood. But we will step up efforts to engage moderate politicians on both sides of the aisle and build bridges. We’ll look for meaningful ways to find mutually agreeable issues to work on. While we will not back down from opposing policies like a federal ban on leasing and fracking or radical climate change policies that would starve our country of energy, being part of the solution means moderation and compromise to find common ground.
The moderating results of the election, from defeating President Trump to the razor-thin margin in Congress, provide hope for a resurgence of sanity if we all help achieve that reality through our personal and professional conduct. We wish President-elect Biden the best of luck in his goal to return to normalcy and moderation, even as we oppose policies that aren’t moderate or normal. Both normalcy and moderation can and must be achieved.