In the fall of 2016, Washington State legislature defeated a bill to put a price on carbon. Largely because the left turned on itself. There was name calling, back biting, and an inability to play well together.
Just when I thought we were making tracks. Every time I stretch, I discover there’s more stretch to go. It’s one thing to swallow my pride and listen attentively to people I don’t expect to agree with. In such cases, my expectations are modest and any win is a great stride forward. But my own peeps??? That’s going to take a different kind of courage on my part.
When I first learned that the Pasadena-Foothills chapter of CCL hosted a “Day of Dialogue” with a select group of environmental organizations, I scratched my head. A Day of Dialogue with environmental groups? Isn’t it the Republicans that we’re trying so diligently to bring on board? Haven’t we practiced and practiced our speaking points hoping to find common ground with the right?
Rob Haw, chapter group leader, opened the day by saying, “we’re all after the same objective – decarbonization as soon as possible – although each of our groups has identified a different roadmap for achieving it. Yet that difference shouldn’t set us apart – we’re all travelers on the same road. So let’s not allow the politics of identity to destroy our solidarity. Fellowship, not fissure-ship. Let’s make common cause and mutual support our grounding principles.”
All in all, it was a good day. Not always easy. There was some chest puffing and grandstanding. But it was an invitation for listening. It was the beginning of a dialogue. With the left.
Turns out, people are people. Whether they identify as Democrats or Republicans, whether they identify as men or women. Black or white, yellow or brown. We, all of us, want to be listened to. We want to be heard. We get our feathers ruffled. We have a hard time letting go of being right. Humility is not our strong suit.
But this is where the real work is. Opening our hearts. Again and again and again. This is the hard part. Meeting our dragons. Looking into the abyss. It is the climate hero’s journey. There is always one more mountain, one more dragon to slay, one more tight squeeze to shimmy out of.
All in all, I’d say it’s worth it.