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.
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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.
- 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.