A Look Back & Forward: Reinventing Thanksgiving, Gift-Giving & the Roundhouse

Lots of stuff here: Reinventing Thanksgiving and Winter Holiday giving. An embarrassing and potential catastrophic NM abortion bill in need of being rescinded, and promising shifts within the national Democratic Party. 


Donate Button with Credit CardsDonate to Retake Today!  We posted this yesterday and got one donation. We need to do better than that to build up a balance that will be adequate to manage the Roundhouse Session. If you believe in what we are doing, we need your financial support to cover ongoing expenses.  Our costs are going to escalate considerably in the run-up to the Roundhouse session Jan-March. We will have printing costs involved in circulating almost daily bill flyers to legislators, office space near the Roundhouse, and an over tripling of our internet and blogging costs. This is all vital to our capacity to operate an effective Roundhouse Response NetworkWe 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. The most important thing you could do is commit to an affordable amount as a monthly contribution. Your $10, $20 and $50 a month pledge would make all the difference. And Thank You!!!!

Since Every Day Now Has a Buying Theme How About Give Back Tuesday

A significant portion of the Thursday post (link and summary below) was devoted to describing ways in which you might make small changes in your Thanksgiving traditions. But it also talked about avoiding the Black Friday, Online Monday and lord only knows what they’ve got for us for the rest of this week: Return of Black Friday, Bigger, Better and Even MORE Savings. I had suggested that a part of possible changes to your Thanksgiving tradition could include a discussion of how your family and friends might de-commercialize the holidays and focus on giving back rather than adding to the stuff you already have. I’ve included at the bottom of this post, the wonderful George Carlin monologue on having too much stuff. I included it in a blog two years ago and Carlin’s daughter wrote to me to thank me for including it. Pretty cool.

So consistent with that theme, I want to encourage all of you to participate in Give Back Tuesday. I’ll post a reminder tomorrow, but maybe today you can scan the list from our Tithing page and make some plans to contribute to one or more of these worthy agencies. Click here to get to the Tithe Tuesday page. It will provide links to about 8 local non-profits very worthy of your contribution. If you have to choose between donating to Retake or to one of these causes, please give to them.

But more than making a donation now, I hope many of you will send the list of agencies to your friends and family indicating that this year, you’d prefer they make a donation in your name than send you some pajamas, a tie, or anything else. We Americans are so entitled; too many of us do not see the implications of our avarice for stuff (see George Carlin below). But here is a short list of some of the implications:

  • Our consumption results in the production of huge numbers of things that no one really needs, yet the production, packaging and distribution of these things consumes so much of our resources, the plastic to package it, the paper to wrap it, the gas to ship it and then there is the thing produced, often by workers in China earning pennies an hour. And once, you open your gift, then you have to throw away the packaging.  Except therein lies the rub: there is no such thing as away. Just out of sight, but hopefully the picture at right will stick with you so that out of sight is not out of mind. That is what our consumption spawns.  We live in a time when we vastly over-consume. Click here to review a prior post covering the myth of green development and how significantly we are already over-consuming our resources.
  • We convey a message to our kids that an important expression of our love is the scale of the gifts we bestow upon them instead of the quality of the experiences we share with them. And here is a real teachable moment with so many implications. Certainly a three or four year old is not going to understand if suddenly he or she gets just one gift and is told that the family made a large donation to a shelter in town instead of getting you that bike you’d been hoping for. Teachable moments should be age-appropriate. But after about six or seven, most kids can start to grasp that the world does not end with them and that there are others in need. Without drastically reducing your child or grandchild’s haul, you can introduce a process when before or after gifts are opened, you sit together and pick a non-profit that you will support locally. I’d suggest going beyond agreeing on an agency and an amount and also put some time into exploring how the family could do something together volunteering for one of the agencies you support. As a child grows, you can begin to introduce the concept that ‘we have more than enough.’ You can begin to introduce the notion that consuming all this stuff is destroying the planet and that maybe we should make a decision not to contribute to this over-consumption, making the winter holidays not a tradition of receiving, but of giving of time and other resources.
  • In a context in which you are raised to feel your value is related to your things, over time your self image too often is formed by what we have or own, how nice our car, how fashionable our clothes, how large our house, how big our bank account.

This is a theme I’ll return to periodically. That trash heap above right isn’t going to get any smaller until we make some personal decisions and until we help others we love make the same decision.

A Look Back, A Look Forward

Looking Back. After several weeks of election-frenzy with five and even six posts each week, we settled back to the norm, three posts plus the Monday Week in Review.  So those of you who took the week off to revel with friends and family won’t have as much to pour over to catch up. We did cover quite a bit of ground for only having three posts last week, reflecting on lessons from the election and how big time Democratic donors are moving leftward and what we can learn from huge wins in NM and California. Plus reflection on Thanksgiving tradition, thinking that injecting a bit of political/social/historical discourse into the convening would be a good thing. Finally, we wrote about a 1969 NM law that bans abortion except in very narrow circumstances. It’s on the books, just not enforced.

Looking Forward. The Roundhouse Advocacy Team is in very high gear. We have an absolutely crucial meeting scheduled for this Thursday, Nov 29 from 6-8pm at the Center for Progress and Justice. For newcomers, we will provide a 30 minute orientation followed by a 30 minute training on how bills are created and move through the Roundhouse process. The training will be offered by Clifford Rees, a 13 veteran at the Roundhouse serving as a senior legislative analyst last year providing that analysis for Democratic Party leadership. We will then have a demonstration of how to make calls to people who might be interested in being involved in the Roundhouse Response Network, followed by breaking into groups to lay out in more detail how to research bills and then to write up bill summaries, how to work the floor at the Roundhouse, and how to help us expand our base in other parts of the state. Longtime Retaker, Andy Fertal will be on hand to videotape the orientation and training and so we will be able to use it to orient and train people in other parts of the State. If you want to learn more about Retake Our Democracy’s 2019 Roundhouse Strategy and our developing Roundhouse Rapid Response Network, click here. And please, if you are planning to attend on Thursday, shoot me an email to RSVP. It really helps us prepare. paul@RetakeOurDemocracy.org.


Retake Our Democracy on KSFR 101.1 FM, Saturday, December 1, 8:30am with Miranda Viscoli, Director of NM to Prevent Gun Violence. I am taping the show later today but am confident it will be tremendous, as Miranda is a very articulate, honest and passionate spokesperson on this issue.  Be sure to tune in or access the show via podcast. Last week I spoke with Andrea Romero and the week prior with Senate Floor Leader Peter Wirth and House Speaker Brian Egolf.

Blue Tsunami Hits California & New Mexico Leaving GOP in Tatters. Dem. Donors Shift Left

Tuesday, Nov 20.  The post described a new dynamic in the Democratic Party, a shift to the left among some of the Party’s largest donors. The post describes the Blue Tsunami that decimated the GOP in California and New Mexico and what we can learn from it. It seems that they get what Pelosi, Schumer and Lujan perhaps haven’t quite grasped what Democratic progressives have seen for some time: the long-term Democratic Party strategy simply must be to prioritize authentically engaging low-income communities, communities of color and youth. This isn’t to say that messaging can’t target former and current Trump supporters who have a vested economic interest in Democratic policies that offer increased minimum wage, debt-free college, Medicare for All, and Tax Reform that makes sense. In the post, I didn’t go after the Dems for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee too hard. After all, while I could quarrel with a few of the candidates they favored in the primaries over more progressive options, the Dems had just won the largest majority vote in a midterm since Watergate. Click here to read the full post. A good one.

A Decolonized Thanksgiving Is Possible. Suggestions for Transforming Your Thanksgiving Tradition

Thursday, Nov 22.  The post offered three videos depicting the perspective of Indigenous people on Thanksgiving. It also provide a link to a very thoughtful Truthout article on why it is important to reflect on our history honestly and how there is no better time than Thanksgiving. The post provided specific suggestions as to how you might gently nudge an apolitical gathering of friends and/or family and create a teachable moment for young and old. After publishing the post, I realized that I had written about decolonizing and decapitalizing your mind, freeing it from historic assumptions that limit our capacity to consider or realize new approaches that could transform the US. Click here to read a very short but very worthwhile post. Click here to read last Thursday’s post.

1969 New Mexico Law Bans Abortion in Most All Instances, Not Enforced Since Roe v. Wade, But Still On the Books

Saturday, Nov 24.  A bill to rescind the 1969 statute died quietly in committee, precisely the kind of behind closed doors workings that has undermined dozens of good bills in the past. Joanne Ferrary is reintroducing the bill in 2019. Find out why rescinding the 1969 bill is so important and how you can help make it law and protect a woman’s right to choose. Click here to read the full report.





Enjoy, Mr. Carlin.  In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne



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