Much is happening across the state. We repor on how Democratic challengers are springing up in most every one of the eight Senate districts where their Senator refused to protect a woman’s right to choose. We also offer commentary on the vigils scheduled for tonight across the country and we pose the question: What more need we do to resist what could be a slow slide toward fascism?
Events, Actions & Opportunities
- Friday, July 12, Vigils Across the State, 7:30-9pm in Santa Fe, times vary by community; Details on ABQ, Estancia, Taos, and El Paso
- Saturday, July 13, 8:30am, Retake Our Democracy on KSFR, 101.1 FM. This week we speak with Darien Fernandez, former Democratic Chair of Taos County Democrats and challenging state Senator Carlos Cisneros, another of the gang of eight Democratic Senators who undermined the state’s efforts to decriminalize abortion. It was a tremendous interview.
- Saturday, July 13, 2-4pm, EarthCare and Youth Climate Justice Activists Planning Meeting
- Saturday, July 20 in ABQ, Red Nation Protest of Leasing of 40,000 Acres of Stolen Navajo Land
- July 23, 7pm-9pm, Retake Our Democracy in Embudo Valley
- Aug 6, 6:30-8::30 Retake Our Democracy Organizing Meeting in Santa Fe
For details on all these events, click here.
Thoughts on the Vigils Across the State. I drove to ABQ yesterday to meet with advocates from throughout the state to begin strategizing about the 2020 primary. On the way I was listening to news on the radio. In four separate reports I heard about the plan for mass deportation arrests beginning this weekend; deplorable conditions in child detention centers; and then a report about a church in Ohio that has provided sanctuary for an asylum seeker since last August. That person has been levied a $400,000 fine for avoiding detention; and lastly, Trump’s threat to use an executive action to include a question about immigration status in the census survey (at least this is dead….for now). This was on a show that was not focused on immigration, just a 30 minute news broadcast where interspersed between these immigration reports were segments on flooding in New Orleans, Congressional subpoenas, and the Pelosi-AOC squabble. My point is that our Nation is at war on all fronts with the kinds of people, immigrants, who made this country. Every damn one of us sprang from immigrants, save the indigenous peoples whose culture we have tried to destroy and whose land we have stolen. What have we become?
Frankly, while I applaud tonight’s Lights for Liberty and the vigils that will be staged across the country, I feel that the response is insufficient. What we are facing, on so many fronts, looks an awful lot like a slow slide to fascism with immigrants identified as the source of the economic and social malaise experienced by many low-income individuals and families across the nation– a cheap and easy way to distract from the real source of the malaise. But there are so many other signs: Trump is now taking aim at all mainstream media, even Fox and yesterday hosted a gathering of some of the most racist, homophobic social media platforms in the nation….at the White House, charging them up and filling them with bile (as if they needed more encouragement). In the same day, he tweeted about leaving office in 10-14 years, called Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas, and Biden “Sleepy Joe.” He threatened to defy the Supreme Court with an executive order to insist on including a question about immigration status in the census survey.
Vigils are the kind of action that can bring people together, but are inherently a passive action. I admit to not really understanding how we move from passivity to some form of very likely illegal actions to confront what is becoming more offensive by the day. Question of the day: What can we do to actually challenge this insanity?
I got an email from Santa Fe Dreamers Project last night. It included video and plans for a convening to hear updates on the immigration crisis and to discuss ways to address it. Look for the videos and a few words about the event in Sunday’s post, Sunday at the Movies.
Have You Ever Felt That Your Elected Officials Don’t Care About Your Views? Well, according to a two-year study conducted by two Yale researchers reported in today’s New York Times, apparently they don’t.
Over the past two years, we conducted a study to find out. We provided state legislators in the United States with access to highly detailed public opinion survey data — more detailed than almost all available opinion polls — about their constituents’ attitudes on gun control, infrastructure spending, abortion and many other policy issues. Afterward, we gauged the willingness of representatives to look at the data as well as how the data affected their perceptions of their constituents’ opinions.”
And what did they find?
What we found should alarm all Americans. An overwhelming majority of legislators were uninterested in learning about their constituents’ views. Perhaps more worrisome, however, was that when the legislators who did view the data were surveyed afterward, they were no better at understanding what their constituents wanted than legislators who had not looked at the data. For most politicians, voters’ views seemed almost irrelevant.” To read the full NY Times report, click here. This is worth using one of your 5 or 10 free reads of the NY Times online. The report outlines how the study was conducted and some of the really stunning findings, e.g. when offered the opportunity to review a detailed analysis of their constituents’ views on a range of issues, only 11% even bothered to open the document. And that was hardly the worst of the news.
And this is precisely why Retake Our Democracy has a legislative and an election strategy. We need to better understand the degree to which our legislators work to advance our priorities and then when they don’t (as the study above suggests most don’t), then we need to elect new legislators. This report being an apt transition to the next.
Neomi Martinez Parra Announces She Will Challenge Sen. John Arthur Smith. On the same day we previewed our 2019 Report Card that zeroes in on Senator Smith’s role in undermining good legislation for years, he got more bad news: a challenge from a highly respected, well-known Democrat. Martinez Parra who served as vice-chair of the state Democratic Party of New Mexico. This will be a race we will be watching closely and while our Outreach and Organizing Action Team will be organizing throughout the state, a particular focus will be to organize in Senate Districts where their Senators voted against HB 51, Decriminalize Abortion. Senator Smith’s district is among those being targeted. So if you want to help change the political calculus of the Roundhouse, read on, as we have action teams at ready to get the work done and coordinators in place to organize the work, so it is time to get to work. At my meeting in ABQ, I heard from others of races forming in seven of the eight targeted Senate Districts. Stay Tuned. But also, now is the time to get active.
Retake Our Democracy in Taos and Embudo and Update on Action Teams. Oh my! This past Monday evening, Taos turned out and packed the Democratic Party headquarters to hear Roxanne and I preview the Report Card, outline Retake’s strategies, engage in dialog about the unique economic, environmental and political challenges faced by Taos residents and to hear about the local grassroots efforts addressing those challenges. It was a great evening that really underscores the value of visits to other parts of the state, part of the reason for our July 23rd in Embudo Valley with other visits to come. We will have video from that meeting for Sunday at the Movies.
Take Action with Retake. Retake Leadership clarified its strategic direction for the next 18 months, along with establishing four action teams to advance those strategies. We have updated our Response Network site to allow people from throughout the state to sign up to be part of this work. Even if you had signed on to the Response Network before, the options for involvement have changed given the shift in strategic direction. So it would be a good idea to visit the site, examine options and check off where you might want to be involved. You do not have to commit to attending meetings or commit to a high level of involvement. In fact, by checking a box, you are only committing to talking with one of our Action Team Coordinators about the work to be done and seeing if there is a fit. And every one of the roles can definitely be performed from other parts of the state. In fact, that is where we need volunteers most. We have two coordinators for each of three teams: organizing and outreach, marketing and media, and climate action and are closing in on identifying a coordinator for research. So, click here to check out the volunteer options.
In closing, it feels as if Retake Our Democracy is reaching a stage where we could grow exponentially …OR NOT. We have a Report Card being published on Monday that should garner significant attention; we have strategies and teams with coordinators in place ready to build upon that surge in interest; and we have a highly functional online platform (Nation Builder) ready to facilitate all the work. It has taken two and a half years to get to this point. We are ready. Are you?
In solidarity, Paul & Roxanne