I thought I was ready for what is to come, but in hearing of Trump’s first announcement as president: a promise to gut the Violence Against Women Act, I sit typing in tears, and realize what is called for: An Army of Justice Heroes. Time for you to enlist. Please join a Women’s March near you. We need to be together. Today and for a very long time.
At long last, today is the march, a march initiated by a one woman whose reaction to Trump’s election was: “Let’s march.” And so this massive movement begins with over 600 marches in over 100 countries. One woman. Certainly others have taken her proclamation and advanced the logistics, but never question what one person can do. What you can do. And now what is abundantly clear: what you MUST do.
Today we march in solidarity with and in support of women. And at marches throughout the world people will hear from Justice Heroes who have been and will continue to advocate for women and for women’s rights. Many have been fierce advocates for the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA). Click here for details of Trumps plan to gut this Act. As I sit here trying to absorb Trump’s first presidential pronouncement two things occur to me: What kind of person is so small that they oppose clinics to help victims of domestic violence? What kind person wants to shut down a rape crisis hotline? This morally bankrupt human being likely made that pronouncement precisely to give the finger to the millions of women and men marching today. I can’t imagine his Tweets as we march. I have no crystal ball, but I am guessing he will make a similar pronouncement about Planned Parenthood, cheerfully tweeting how he will defund it.
So as I was pondering — What is wrong with this man? How will we overcome or at least endure him? — Roxanne shared with me a 4-minute video by Keith Olbermann. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a link to this video, so you will have to click here and scroll down our Facebook page to find it. While you are there, how about clicking “like.” Olbermann says so well what so many of us feel in our hearts: There is something deeply disturbing about Trump. He is unstable. Yet he is our President.
And while he has taken his first hours in office to make an assault on victims of domestic violence and rape, we have seen that he and his allies in Congress have many more targets: environmental regulation, immigrants, Social Security, the ACA, FDA, EPA and all banking regulations, the list is literally endless.”Less than an hour after President Trump took the oath of office on Friday, the White House’s webpage on climate change disappeared.” –The Hill. We could become numbed by the 50-foot tsunami of injustice that is about to hit. But our only hope, and it truly is our only hope, is to stand together, never lose our sense of astonishment at the moral horror of this petty man, and use that astonishment to drive our sustained activism.
Today we march for women. But women are not the only group threatened by this petty man; it is all of us. Many of you have your pet issues, your population you are committed to defending or advancing. But right now there is no time for advocating in our single-issue silos. We are very obviously in this together, and together is our only way to overcome this. We must realize a common enemy: the selfish greed of a corporatocracy, of the 1%, that is now manifested in all its ugliness in Donald Trump, our president. So if you are environmentalist, a healthcare advocate, a small business entrepreneur, an artist, a teacher, a Native American, Hispanic, Latino, Black, Asian, Muslim, Jew — all of you, all of us, who realize the threats to our justice that are evident and all of those who don’t yet realize it: our way of life is at stake, our very future is at stake.
A friend of mine and colleague in activism, Mark Diaz Truman, told me weeks ago that it’s important to know where your line in the sand is, a point where things are so unjust, where our rights and our human dignity have been so insulted, so violated, that the line has been drawn. It took Donald Trump a few hours as our president to draw that line. Anyone who can threaten to gut the VAWA a week after his henchmen voted to repeal the ACA has made it abundantly clear: it is Trump vs. us. The line has been drawn.
I want to make a small but important distinction between us vs Trump and us vs Trump supporters, or even us vs the GOP. We have two hopes to survive the next four years.: One is that as Trump attempts to commit one moral indignity after another, there are those who voted for him who begin to turn away, there are Senators and members of the House who say: this is not what I signed up for. That is one of our hopes. The other is that each of you, each of us, realize what is at stake and realize that life as we knew it is officially over. The line in the sand has been drawn and to save our planet, our future, and our children’s future we must stand together.
But it is not enough to resist Trump, we must reimagine New Mexico. In November we defied the national trend and turned New Mexico blue. Now we need to organize locally and statewide and turn the land of enchantment into the land of justice, We must:
- Fight for $15 an hour;
- Protect our land, our water, our air
- Create a sanctuary state
- Defy Trump and create not Obamacare, but a single payer health system–the NM Health Security Act
- Restore the integrity of agreements with our indigenous people
- Expand early childhood education
- Stand with all the objects of Trump’s hate
- Eliminate pay day lenders
- Protect women’s rights
- Transition from an economy dependent on fossil fuels and promote our natural resources not destroy them
- Build wind towers and solar installations and invest in renewables not methane producers
- Build an economy based upon sound investments with funds from a reformed tax system: make it a progressive tax system not a regressive one; and then invest in: our film industry, our artists, our tourism, an expanded health system, industrial hemp; and
- Let’s legalize marijuana, create jobs, generate revenue for our state and keep folks out of jail and off the highway to Colorado because they prefer pot to beer.
We can do all of this whether Trump likes it or not and in working to resist Trump and reimagine New Mexico, we can build a progressive community of people who know each other, trust each other and have confidence that together we can do much more than resist.
We all have skin in the game: our kids, our grandkids, the next generation, and we owe it to them to spend some time in deep reflection: What can I do to devote more time to achieving justice? What can I give up? What can I do with my personal or family budget? What can we give up so we can add a zero to our check to Planned Parenthood, New Energy Economy, Somos Un Pueblo Unido, or Common Cause. It is time for sacrifice, my fellow activists. It is time to be a Justice Hero, a Moral Hero, a Human Hero. Nothing less will do. Spend some time sitting with this and then make a plan to seriously commit to saving our country. The line in the sand has been drawn. Together, let’s resist Trump and reimagine New Mexico, the land of enchantment, the land of justice.
Justice. We’ve wanted it forever; it is supposed to be what America is about. We can do this. See you in a few hours.
Paul & Roxanne
Be strong friends. We need each other.