We come to this strange day in our nation’s history—a former president indicted by the Department of Justice—with profoundly mixed emotions. There's shame that our country could have elected such a man, pride that we’ve reaffirmed the hope that the law can apply to all, and fear at the violence some of his supporters have promised.

It’s precisely scenes like this that led us to make democracy one of the key focuses at Third Act. Many of our generation—growing up under presidents like Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy, and in the light cast by prophets like Dr. King—took for granted the thought that our country was becoming more small-d Democratic: that all Americans would finally have the right to vote and that those votes would count. It’s been hard for us to believe that we’ve descended into a place where presidents summon mobs to stay in power, and where in too many states entrenched interests work to effectively disenfranchise Black, Indigenous, and Latino voters.

But you’ve done so much already to fight back. In the last year we’ve together registered huge numbers of voters, fought effectively to beat election deniers, and worked to make ballot access easier for everyone. And we all won at least a minor victory last week when the Supreme Court refused to allow Alabama’s absurdly racist new election districts.

Today, as the spectacle in Miami unfolds, we’d ask you to take one action that will not, at least immediately, change the course of history. But it will matter. Could you please contact your Congressperson and your Senators to prioritize the John Lewis Voting Rights Act? We’re under no illusion that it can pass the current Congress, but if we build up support for it now then the prospects for its adoption after the next election will improve.

This fall, we’ll continue to engage civically together by expanding our national voter registration work, and supporting the extraordinary efforts made by Third Act’s Working Groups to counteract state-level threats to voting rights– all of which will help us gear up for the 2024 election and federal voting rights work. 

We need to put America back on solid democratic footing. No one is above the law, even those in high places, but in the end, repairing the big holes in our democratic system is the truly crucial work. Thank you for being a part of it.



Bill McKibben is a founder of Third Act, which organizes people over the age of 60 to work on climate and racial justice. He founded the first global grassroots climate campaign, 350.org, and serves as the Schumann Distinguished Professor in Residence at Middlebury College in Vermont. In 2014 he was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel,’ in the Swedish Parliament. He’s also won the Gandhi Peace Award, and honorary degrees from 19 colleges and universities. He has written over a dozen books about the environment, including his first, The End of Nature, published in 1989, and The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon: A Graying American Looks Back at his Suburban Boyhood and Wonders What the Hell Happened (2022).