Week in Review: Revealing Travesty of Justice and What We Must Do

Vigorous grassroots efforts to derail the Kavanaugh nomination fell on deaf ears, leaving many of us beyond disheartened. Where to next? We consider what we can learn from this and where we go next.

Donate Button with Credit CardsDonate to Retake Today!  If you believe in what we are doing, we need your financial support to cover ongoing expenses. Most of these expenses are largely ‘invisible’ but amount to between $300-500/month. We really don’t waste money here and we are 100% volunteers, so we do depend on you to cover these costs. While many have stepped forward, many more have not and every little bit helps. And Thank You!!!!

Reflections on a Horrid Week. Today’s blog includes reflection on a tumultuous and painful week. But from the start, Retake Our Democracy has insisted that building power to effect change is a long-term struggle that will include setbacks and successes. We need to learn from the former and build on the latter. In addition to considering our most immediate options with what we can do with our anger, I have included a poem from Langston Hughes and an inspiring video at the bottom of the post. Even if you’ve seen it before, I recommend watching it now as Valarie Kaur as she describes what experiencing some of our darkest days could foretell. But first, Langston Hughes to remind us that the struggle must continue and then we start with consideration of the opportunities for all of us to create a political environment in NM where progressive priorities and programs can be implemented and sustained.

Mother to Son
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
Langston Hughes, “Mother to Son” from Collected Poems. Copyright © 1994 by The Estate of Langston Hughes. Reprinted with the permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated.
Source: The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes (Vintage Books, 1994)
Formation of An Income Inequality Advisory Committee to Campaign to FIGHT FOR $15. Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2pm-4pm at 1420 Cerrillos Rd., Center for Progress & Justice.  This is a kickoff meeting and all are welcome to join the discussion. New Mexico data on income.
  • The median income is 17 percent lower than the national average
  • Thirty-one percent of our hourly workforce (245,894 workers) are earning wages at, or below, the state’s minimum wage of $7.50 an hour
  • 100,596 children have at least one parent earning low wages

As reported in prior posts, it is not just minimum wage that impacts worker justice, but working conditions that relate to worker safety, the absence of sick leave or vacation pay or input into working conditions.

Public Banking, Our City Council and the State, Wednesday, October 10, 5pm.. In the 5:00 p.m. session of the City Council, our public banking resolution will be on the Consent Agenda. We believe it will pass, and we hope for a near unanimous vote. In the Finance and Public Works Committees, all councilors have reviewed a version of the resolution, so it may move forward without comment from any of them. Another possibility is that it will be moved from the Consent Agenda for more dialogue before the vote. I anticipate the latter scenario. In either case, there will NOT be public comment.

Some councilors have expressed skepticism about the amount of public support for public banking that exists in Santa Fe. We want them to see a number of us in this meeting.

For information on other actions this week and next, click here. You will find information on Retake Our Democracy’s Roundhouse Advocacy Team (which meets tomorrow (Tuesday) from 4:30-6:30pm. 

Reactions to Retake’s Support for MLG 

All but one comment and all the emails I received were very positive in relation to Retake’s encouragement that voters not just vote for Michelle Lujan Grisham but also actively support her. I actually expected much more push back, but while most everyone expressed some misgivings about MLG, mostly around her taking funds from gas & oil and her weak position on fracking, those same people recognized that she was more than just ‘the lesser of two evils’ but rather a governor who would help us advance progressive policies that have been only a dream for the past 8 years.

In his criticism of our decision, Robb Chavez essentially said he had given up on Retake as an organization for progressives, that we had sold out to a centrist Democrat, and suggested a new title “Refake Our Democracy.”–which I must acknowledge as a clever retort. But to Robb, whose criticisms I always welcome, and to all those who may agree with him, I’d like to ask you this. There are hundreds of thousands of very poor families in New Mexico who have suffered unspeakably over the past eight years. And Pearce would only extend and expand that pain. How can anyone possibly justify so sticking to ones progressive principles as to, in effect, endorse the continued suffering of those families?

Is there any scenario in which anyone could project Steve Pearce as governor doing anything but lead to more poverty, more prison time, more fracking, more pollution, more union bashing, and more budget cuts?  And if that is the case, how can one feel good about sitting on the sidelines and possibly contributing to Pearce being elected, knowing that his term would simply subject more people to more suffering?  I don’t get it.

There is a time for sticking to principles:

  • lobbying at the Roundhouse and fighting for bills that address the needs of our underserved populations in NM;
  • working in the grassroots to educate and organize to cultivate understanding and support for progressive principles,
  • identifying and supporting young progressive leaders and helping them get elected to the city council or school board so that one day they can run for NM House seats or even for governor.

But if anyone can explain to me how we benefit from a Pearce administration or, put another way, how we can justify standing on our principles and ignoring the very human consequences that hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans would face with Pearce as Governor, please comment away.  But rather than comment on this debate, how about getting in the game. Click here to get to our Voter’s Action Guide, pick out a race, gather some friends and get off the couch. We can’t let the Donald and the Brett defeat us. There may be splinters on the floor, but there is no other choice than to keep climbing.

Week in Review

I was looking for an image to use in relation to the two blog posts this week that have to do with expressing anger. I was even more  specifically looking for an image to express women’s anger, something that captured a legitimate and powerful use of women’s anger. Click here to see what I found. We have a long way to go.

Women’s Perspective on Kavanaugh and Washington Power & Oppression

Tuesday, Oct. 2.  Historically, aggressive men, angry men, even threatening men are viewed as getting things done, as being powerful. Women expressing their anger is viewed quite differently, leaving women with nothing to do with their anger except to suppress it and be polite. This post offered a different perspective from the words of Rebecca Traister, NYT Op-ed writer and commentary from Roxanne Barber, co-founder of Retake Our Democracy. The post also included actions you could take to try to derail the Kavanaugh nomination.  Click here to read the full post.

Michelle Lujan Grisham for Governor?

Thursday, Oct. 4. Roxanne and I joined Jay Levine and Pia Gallegos–leaders in the Adelante Democratic Caucus and met with MLG’s Policy Director, Jane Wishner, and Deputy Campaign Director Victor Reyes. The purpose was to get a better understanding of MLG’s policy positions and to see if there was enough common ground for the Progressive Caucus and Retake to enthusiastically encourage you not just to vote for MLG, but to campaign for her.  This blog post generated quite a bit of comment and emails to me personally.  Click to review this entire post.

Something To Do With Your Anger and Shame

Saturday, Oct 6.  Yet another shameful moment in a litany of them, each more insulting than the next. We could curl up in a ball and pout, or you could take your anger and  channel it into action, action that could help transform our state. The post focuses on one race, District 20 where Abbas Akhil is running against Jim Dine to flip a key district seat. The blog also includes a link to the full 2018 Retake Our Democracy Voters Action Guide so that you have options for how you can get engaged. Click here to review the full post. 

After a very disheartening week, I think most all of us need a bit of inspiration and no one delivers inspiration better than Valarie Kaur.  It is only six minutes, but her riff on what the current darkness could mean is a message we may need today.

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3 replies

  1. That is a wonderfully inspiring video. Thanks for offering it to us again.
    It’s a good thing we have each other because it’s hard not to be discouraged. But I refuse to be discouraged. I’m encouraged by all the fine women and men who are working all over the United States to fight against greed and corruption. Resist!

  2. We do understand what R.Chavez is saying. If you’re looking for the reasons why a progressive would not vote for MLG, we can tell you. The same reasons exist as to why many people wouldn’t vote for Hillary. The shame and guilt tactics saying the progressives cost her the election are absolutely absurd (or Ralph Nader votes cost Al Gore the election). People in other countries don’t understand this logic at all. Vote for what who you want to vote for, it’s your voice. What really happened is Hillary stole the primary from Bernie by fraud that was released by wikileaks in which the democratic party ACTIVELY worked on her behalf. Easy to prove. Instead of fixing the corruption within the DNC, the DNC actively diverts the issue to the Russians. This is HUGE. As the saying goes, the person who points the finger has four fingers pointing back at them (in their fist). If you want an explanation, you can listen to Susan Sarandon on how she had heard others talk about a Trump administration would be better because it may wake the people up to actually get upset/hurt enough to get involved or vote for what they want instead of FEAR. There was a progressive candidate for governor here in NM, and he had to drop out because there was not enough interest. Instead of blaming/shaming/guilting progressives for not voting for a corporate democrat, the finger could be pointed right back for not supporting/gathering the voters to back a progressive who actually wanted to do good things for the people, not corporations. This candidate was not mentioned that much by this platform, and NOW we should go door to door?. The progressive governor candidate could have been dominating the posts, (if it’s a progressive platform) and now MLG is dominating it. If the progressive candidate was backed with more vigor, we would possibly not be in this position of thinking about voting for a corporate democrat, MLG, for a change. There is still too much fear in voting and clinging to a Democratic Party, bought out by corporations, who could care less about actual people. There is not much difference with the two parties, and for many, the difference is not enough to give a voice/vote for. Corporate Democrats may actually be worse because they say all the right words and pretend they are with the people, but they are not. It reminds me of the minorities down South who say they trust the unabashed racist more than those who are nice to their faces but hide their true feelings. They say, at least they know where the racist stands. We don’t want to win a debate here, just give a description. Is voting for a corporate democrat who doles out hate-speech to progressives someone you want to give your voice/vote to? Are her policy stances enough? Do you trust her? That is your decision.

    • So, since my choice is to vote for Pearce or to vote for her, I’d vote for MLG. The point of the post. I would hardly say that one post on supporting MLG is “dominating the post.” I do not think that MLG “doled out hate speech to progressives.” I was not happy with her comments about progressives not “getting” that gas and oil is 40% of our budget or that Texas could extract our oil if we don’t. But it was hardly hate speech. I just feel that come January, I’d rather be lobbying her than Pearce. And there was never a scenario where I felt Peter D had the horses to win the nomination or the general. We have to begin developing a “farm team” of good solid progressives who win seats in local government and the Roundhouse and develop candidates who could win a Dem. primary and general. I just don’t see the option right now other than support for MLG.

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