Here's what Simulmedia CEO Dave Morgan sent to his team today:
For the moment, I am dispensing with the "Happy Thursday" greeting I would normally use because, like the rest of you, I am still trying to wrap my head around the events of the past 24 hours.
The day began hopefully enough, with likely winners declared in Senate races in Georgia that signaled a change in control of that important legislative body. The House and Senate were preparing to convene to certify the results of the Electoral College, signifying the will of the people and the peaceful transfer of power.
By the afternoon, however, we had rioters and domestic terrorists overrun unprepared and overmatched capitol police, break into and ransack the U.S. Capitol and send our legislators running for their lives. By the evening, we had throngs of police retaking the Capitol, Congress and the vice president reconvening and, early this morning, voting for the final certification of the election of Joe Biden as our next president.
I am writing this because I know that many of you are hurting and I think it's important to share what we're thinking and going through, particularly because we have made the pursuit of social justice such an important part of what we do and care about at Simulmedia. Also, I think that leadership matters and I want you to know where I stand, even if we have different political views or reactions to yesterday.
Here is what I have taken away from things so far:
Take nothing for granted in democracies. We all knew that yesterday's certification process was going to have its share of drama, and we knew we were likely to have protests on the edge of violence, but yesterday shows us that democracies and their institutions are fundamentally fragile things that need to be constantly and proactively protected and defended.
Elections matter, and so does the rule of law. Today, we can be heartened that the will of the people has been ratified, but we also saw criminal acts to obstruct Congress in carrying out its critical duties in initiating the formal transfer of power as provided by our Constitution.
As a former First Amendment lawyer, I am the first to acknowledge the strong protections afforded to freedom of speech and the press. However, those freedoms are not absolute. I am hopeful that we will see criminal and civil consequences not just for those who both committed yesterday's violent acts, but also those who knowingly or negligently incited them. The wheels of justice might be slow, but I am a big believer in the turning of those wheels.
Our problems of racial inequality and injustice were on full display. All you have to ask yourself is how would law enforcement and other government authorities have reacted yesterday if the thousands of rioters breaching the barricades, assaulting police and breaking into the U.S. Capitol were Black? What if they had been wearing headscarves? We know what would have happened. We saw the deployment of police in full body armor, armed U.S. soldiers and low -lying helicopters during the peaceful Black Lives protests in Lafayette Square this past summer.
Our actions and our inactions matter. No matter what, we must stay committed to action. We must continue to care. We must continue to make a difference. That means voting. It means protesting. It means deploring violence. it means holding our elected officials and public safety officers to high standards of conduct and removing them when they don't meet those standards. Those things are all essential.
What happened yesterday is going to be with us for a long time. At the least, I hope, we take from it the dangers that our nation and our society face if we don't nourish and protect our ideals and our institutions, and do it in peaceful and lawful ways, and hold those accountable who do not. Days like yesterday can get us down, or they can make us better. I choose the latter.
Thanks for reading this.