The New Year got off to an interesting start with Elizabeth Warren announcing her candidacy, but 2019 can’t be about candidates, it needs to be about groundbreaking vision, big ideas, fierce advocacy and a sustained effort on the part of all of us. This may be our last best chance to reverse our course. And sadly, that may well be exactly true, our best and last chance to get it right.
Happy New Year. I hope all of you had great holiday respite with friends and family. We need restorative moments to recharge our batteries and so I hope you are charged because today I am issuing a New Years challenge. I hope that upon reading this post many of you who have not been involved in our Roundhouse Advocacy will make a decision to join us Thursday. Time and location for that meeting are provided at the bottom of this post along with information about NM Money Out of Politics’ meeting and training on Saturday.
Yesterday, I wrote that there were many indicators that 2019 could be a pivotal time, when defense shifts to offense and when there will be important things we can do, not to resist, but to create. What we can accomplish will not be achieved through petitions, protests or marches. It is time to change gears and call upon ourselves to engage in a completely different strategy that involves two inter-related and wondrously exciting actions. We must dream and we must demand.
Dream. The time for modest proposals is over. It is time to dream big, very big, to imagine a city, state, nation and world as it could be if we were not mired in the mud and accepting the limits of what is possible, limits imposed by the media, our political leadership, and their corporate sponsors. If you have lived in a world where the possible is defined by those with a vested interest in maintaining control, the imagination atrophies. We begin to accept, almost unwittingly, constraints on our imagination that upon reflection seem counter-intuitive, even ludicrous.
- Healthcare for All and tuition-free college would bankrupt our country despite evidence throughout the world that both are possible and impactful;
- Cutting taxes on the wealthy and on corporations is a good thing despite it benefiting only 1% of our people and robbing us of precious revenue;
- Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on defense while unraveling our strategic alliances with allies is a good use of our scarce resources and makes us safer;
- A transition to renewables and keeping our oil in the ground would cost too many jobs and bankrupt us, so we continue to spend tens of billions recovering from devastating climatic catastrophes—a cost that will escalate many times without meaningful action on our parts.
Stop one moment here. 97% of all the world’s scientists are 100% in agreement that choices made by mankind are accelerating climate change and if we don’t reverse course immediately, untold devastation will result, perhaps reaching a point where climatic catastrophe is irreversible and a dystopian end to mankind is inevitable.
How can there even be a debate about how we respond to this challenge?
What relevance are lost jobs and lost revenue when weighed against the lives of our great grandchildren and the future of mankind? Certainly for the person working in an oil field, that job means everything. But where are the policy makers with imagination who could develop strategies to create jobs that do not destroy our planet and our future?
On a personal level, we would sacrifice everything for our children and most people without children would sacrifice personally to save our future. Yet on a state and national level our policy makers are sacrificing our children and our planet for jobs and dollars every day that they dawdle over modest proposals.
What does it really matter how many jobs and how many dollars when our entire future is at stake? When does our leadership finally start the discussion with: the oil stays in the ground, all of it, immediately? And with that as our absolute commitment, how do we replace those jobs and that revenue? And don’t for a moment think those jobs and that revenue can’t be replaced. Here in NM, we could:
- Restore all the tax cuts created by prior administrations, generating hundreds of millions of dollars with taxes paid by our wealthiest residents and by corporations;
- Invest new tax revenue in job-creating economic development, generating hundreds of jobs in developing a green energy generation and transmission infrastructure, jobs that don’t require workers and communities to breath toxic air and pollute their water;
- Create a New Mexico State Public Bank, as is in place in North Dakota, and immediately reap tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in savings on every bond the state issues for infrastructure, economic development and other investments;
- Legalize recreational marijuana, generating between $100-$200M a year and creating hundreds of jobs;
- Accelerate production of industrial hemp, replacing water guzzling alfalfa with hemp that uses far less water, generates more revenue per acre and can be used in a myriad of industrial uses that produce still more jobs, producing clothing, bags (replacing plastic), piping (replacing plastic) and CBDs;
- Pass and implement the Health Security Act vastly reducing our spending on healthcare costs, expanding our healthcare services and creating still more jobs that significantly improving the health of New Mexicans;
Even with these options, our policy makers feel it is meaningful to find ways to capture a higher proportion of methane, raise penalties for methane and oil leaks, and increase oil royalties to eke out one more payday from the fossil fuel industry that is destroying our future. Where are the elected officials with courage who decide that going forward, no methane is produced, no oil is produced, and New Mexico sets the standard for how to address climate change with the urgency it demands? In the absence of courageous vision from our leaders, we must dream and then we must demand action.
There are certain things that we incorporate into our daily and weekly routine. They may be gardening, reading, exercising, creating art, watching TV, taking walks, skiing, spending time with friends and family, or learning Spanish.
Together with sleep these activities consume 24 hours a day, seven days a week. What does it take for all of us to elevate our personal activism into one of those daily and weekly activities that has a secure claim on at least one or two hours a week?
Two hours a week equals less than 2% of your time. if you can find 2 hours a week, Retake Our Democracy can provide you with things you can do to expand a base of power advocating for the kind of change we need right now. We can provide you information to share; meetings to attend; emails to send to legislators; conversations to have with neighbors. But you have to make a personal decision to commit that time.
Today is a day that many make New Year’s Resolutions. I’d suggest that along with the annual pledge to drop five pounds, to eat less pizza, to exercise more, you put at the top of the list: save the lives of my children and the future of our planet-2 hours per week. Then follow this blog and we’ll put you to work. We can’t demand that our legislators change course if we don’t do it ourselves. And the first step in this renewed commitment to a sane future just might be to join us on Thursday for our Roundhouse Advocacy Team meeting where we are making plans to press our legislators to act as if the times require urgent action. Because they do. See below for information about our Thursday meeting.
Let’s do this!
Paul & Roxanne
Thursday, Jan. 3, 6pm-8pm at 1420 Cerrillos, The Center for Progress & Justice. Retake Our Democracy Roundhouse Advocacy Team Organizing & Training Meeting. It is crunch time, 12 days to the opening of the Legislative Session. Orientation for the new participants that have been recruited will be from 6-6:30 followed by more training and considerable time for small group planning focused on the role you want to play in our work. Please RSVP by writing to email@example.com. And please, please, please, ask 2-3 friends to join you. It is time to flex our muscles and we need your help in that effort.
For another opportunity to get involved:
NNMOP Legislative Lobbying Training. Saturday, Jan. 5, 1 to 3 pm. Santa Fe Public Library Main branch, 145 Washington Avenue. Please plan to attend, and RSVP. Please plan to attend the training. We have a great opportunity to strengthen democracy in New Mexico. The 2019 NM Legislative Session starting on January 15 looks to be very promising. However, your active participation is vital to insure NMMOP’s success in obtaining our goals in this legislative session. At this meeting we will review our legislative agenda and be offered training in how to advocate effectively at the Roundhouse. To RSVP write to Bruce Berlin at firstname.lastname@example.org.