An inspiring rally, but just as a march is not a movement, neither is a rally. What is important is what you do today and tomorrow. Recent posts have been critical of DCCC Chair and our Congressman, Rep. Lujan, but I was among a handful of progressives who met with him this weekend in a very productive meeting. Post also includes links to Elizabeth Warren’s stunning speech to NetRoots Nation which generated an interesting idea. What if?????
The Rally Against Racism was inspiring and it was heartening to see such a large crowd. We need these moments where our community comes together. But even with the best of intentions, the City and the organizers failed to incorporate a Native speaker among the many faiths represented. What’s more, shouts occurred throughout the speakers presentations about “Where are the Native Americans?” and with signs referencing the Entrada prominent, it was clear people had noticed the omission. The Mayor made a very stirring speech about there not being two sides to what happened in Charlottesville, a clear reference to Trump’s insensitive response.
But in the middle of the plaza is an obelisk with the inscription “To the heroes who have fallen in various battles with Indians in the Territory of New Mexico.” The obelisk stands as a very strong symbol that projects history as having but one side and one group of heroes without any acknowledgment that those Indians were defending their land and their people against colonization and then that those coming from Spain and Mexico were then recolonized by Anglos. The obelisk doesn’t convey anything like an honest rendition of our history. If we are going to stand in solidarity with Charlottesville, we may want to use last night’s stirring moment of protest to racism and use it to jumpstart a conversation about substantive ways we can address our own injustice. It is a giant elephant in the midst of our community that rears its head every Fiesta and perhaps we might want to consider using the Fiesta as an opportunity to address past wrongs and begin a deep community education effort about the realities of our cultural and political history. It seems quite obvious to me that the intentions yesterday were values-based and sincere. If the same folks on the stage incorporated representation from the Native Community and worked together to create forums for conversation, learning and listening, that would be a very good bi-product of yesterday’s rally.
But if rallies and marches are to have enduring impact, they must inspire sustained action. People need to find ways to make civic engagement a part of the fabric of ones life, not something expressed in response to a crisis or an announced march. Retake is holding a Town Hall on Aug 19 where in addition to holding a conversation with leadership from DPNM Labor and Retake, we will share ways in which you can make civic engagement part of your ongoing routine. it is easy, it is fun and it is rewarding. But more importantly, it is the only way we retake our democracy. RSVP on Facebook by clicking here or just write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elizabeth Warren Makes It Clear: The Future of the Party is NOT in the Center, But on the Left: An Inspiring Speech
Sen. Elizabeth Warren spoke at the 2017 Netroots Nation conference Saturday. And she tore into “so-called Democratic strategists” who advocate for more centrist positions and called for the party that to win, it must move boldly left, a position being advanced by Retake for weeks. The Massachusetts senator began by referencing a recent New York Times opinion piece advising that Democrats go “back to the center.
“A few weeks ago, I saw an op-ed in the New York Times from a so-called Democratic strategist titled, ‘Back to the Center, Democrats.’ It was all about how we have to stop caring about, quote, “identity politics” and stop waging, quote, “class warfare.” Apparently, the path forward is to go back to locking up non-violent drug offenders and ripping more holes in our economic safety net. I even got a shoutout! Apparently, I’m the face of the problem. So is Bernie. But let’s be really clear here – the real power, the real threat, is not me—it’s you, all of you. It’s your energy, your passion, and your commitment to our values that threaten the bland, business-as- usual establishment.” She could have been speaking directly to Retake members. You are the real threat.
After proclaiming that the political and economic systems were rigged, Warren went on to say that “liberals are now the “heart” — rather than a “wing” — of the Democratic party.…the Democratic Party isn’t going back to the days of welfare reform and the crime bill. It is NOT going to happen. We’re not going back to the days of being lukewarm on choice. We’re not going back to the days when universal health care was something Democrats talked about on the campaign trail but were too chicken to fight for after they got elected.” Clearly, Warren feels that the Party has not gone far enough with A Better Deal.
This brings me to some thoughts on Congressman Lujan. In a meeting with the Congressman and a handful of progressives, we discussed ways in which the progressive constituents might be able to support him in taking stronger and more progressive stands and to use his position of leadership to advocate among his peers. Sen. Warren and Sen. Sanders are clearly the Senates version of the heart of the Party. Sanders’ approval ratings clearly illustrate that by wide margins that his vision for the future of the Party, a vision shared by Warren, is very popular among all demographics. Indeed of the 16 politicians included the Harris Survey sited at left, he was the only one to enjoy better than 50% favorability. This isn’t an effort to advance a Sanders candidacy for 2020 as in all likelihood, Bernie will need to pass the torch. But what if, Rep. Lujan were to grab that torch and begin advocating stridently for universal health care, $15 an hour, eliminating money from politics, and putting a cork in the oil drills and becoming a fierce advocate for renewables? What if he were to become a champion for the 8-point People’s Platform? Click here to review OurRevolution’s eight-point plan. He has a safe seat and a very solid progressive community at his back. What if?
Click here to read the Boston.com article which includes the text to the entire speech, which was riddled with specific policies that the Party needs to advance clearly and boldly. At the bottom of this post is the video of the entire speech, so you can pull up a chair, pour a cup of coffee and listen to what leadership sounds like.
Roxanne and Paul