We all feel overwhelmed and impotent in the face of one moral assault after another. But today we reprint a powerful article from Kim Trent for what we can do now besides seethe.
On Saturday, I will post about two pressing and highly divisive New Mexico issues. The first is the continuing schism among grasstops and grassroots environmental organizations,, divisions that leave their constituents confused as to who to believe. The issues are so complex, the stakes so high, we simply must find a way for these groups to come together. On Saturday, we’ll outline the issues and what is at stake.
The second issue is more clear. An utterly undemocratic coalition of incumbent board members of the Jemez Mountain Electric Co-Op (JMEC) is attempting to negate the recent board election vote of their constituents, using truly shockingly Boss Tweed tactics to retain power. A good deal is at stake as the regime is advocating for a potential renewable contract calling for 6 cents per kWh of solar electric generation for 25 years, a contract that is difficult to defend in light of the recent bids for 2.5 cents per kWh received by neighboring Kit Carson Electric co-op. I have been getting competing direction as to actions that should be taken by those opposing the regime at Sunday’s JMEC annual meeting. Retake was very clear about what JMEC voters should do in the elections just held and we posted encouragement for JMEC members to support challenging candidates. Two of the three challengers won, but now the regime is trying extraordinary tactics to retain power. While we clearly oppose this effort, we want to be on solid ground as to whether JMEC members should boycott the July 21 or attend and disrupt. We’ll report more on this Saturday, hopefully with clear direction from those challenging the regime.
A Very Clear & Passionate Declaration of How to Respond to Trump and His Moral Offenses
I write sparingly about Donald Trump. My hate and disgust for this man has so exceeded how I seethed over Nixon, Haldeman, Bush, Cheney, Reagan.. But while my disgust with this man exceeds no bounds, I haven’t found the point to writing about it much. Until today. Kim Trent wrote a searing article about Trump ending with her plan for the remainder of his term. And that plan is worth sharing.
Kim Trent was elected to an eight-year term on the Wayne State University Board of Governors in 2012. She previously served as the director of former Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm’s southeast Michigan office. This column originally appeared in the Detroit Free Press.
I’m sick of Donald Trump.
Sick of his lies. Sick of his mean-spiritedness. Sick of his tantrums and his immaturity. Sick of how he erodes standards of decency and morality. Sick of America’s standing in the world receding. But most of all, I’m sick of his racism, sexism and xenophobia and the abettors in his party who choose to look the other way when he engages in the destructive “isms” that brought him to the national political stage.
Trump’s latest display of Archie Bunkerism was his attack on four progressive women of color who serve in the United States House of Representatives, who according to Trump “originally came from” corrupt countries. Three of them, Detroit’s own Rashida Tlaib, Boston’s Ayanna Pressley and New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were born in the United States. The fourth, Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2000, six years before Trump’s wife, Melania, obtained that status.
Decent people everywhere clutched their pearls and gritted their teeth upon reading Trump’s racist, disgusting Twitter tantrum, knowing that no one in his inner circle or political party will convince him to tamp down the divisive rhetoric that is unraveling the already-fragile fabric of the American character. For the time being, at least, this is White House normal. Racist in Chief: Donald Trump’s latest tweets cast him as racist in chief: Today’s talker
Whenever Trump lobs an attack designed to make critics of color feel like their citizenship is somehow less valid because of their ethnicity, religion, or race, I feel an urge to state the obvious: Non-white American citizens are Americans. Full stop. This land is soaked in the blood of the ancestors of people of color. Trump’s racist screeds make me feel defensive — I want to tell him that the bloodlines on both sides of my family have walked on American soil longer than his own. But I have made a commitment to myself: Donald Trump will get no more blood pressure spikes from me. I’ve decided to go a different way.
“I can show you better than I can tell you,” my mother used to say to her nearly-never-naughty children. When our misbehavior had escalated to an unacceptable level, it was both a promise and a warning. It meant that the time for talk was over and the time for action was nigh, and that meant big trouble for us.
So I’m promising a new approach to Trump’s degradation of America. Instead of simply getting angry, I will spend every moment of my free time engaged in uniquely American displays of strength.
Instead of just posting Facebook memes mourning the potential loss of democracy that Trump represents, I’m going double down on democracy itself and my role in it.
Motivated by the bullies: Bullies told me to go back to my country. At first it silenced me, now it spurs me on.
I’m going to tell every Michigan voter I know about the state constitutional amendment we passed last year to make voting easier, and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure they exercise the right to vote. I’m going to engage in voter education, since I suspect that those who seek to restrict voting access will also ramp up their dirty tricks. I’m going to fight for this country’s soul.
Donald Trump may doubt the authenticity of my claim on America, but I don’t. In the 477 days between now and November 3, 2020, I’m going to show Donald Trump how American I am.
I can show him better than I can tell him.
Of late, Roxanne and I have spoken often about what activists like us can do to translate our own anger over Trump, McConnell, John Arthur Smith, Mary Kay Papen and others who impede social justice into credible action. As reported in our just published Report Card, a coalition of conservative Democratic Senators has a stranglehold on the Roundhouse. But here we have a plan (below). But we have been at a loss how to channel our anger at Trump into meaningful action. So it was inspiring to hear how Trent is channeling her Trump anger into voter education and voter registration and devoting all of her spare time to that work.
Our takeaway from Trent’s article is that Retake needs to find the motivating language to translate your anger into focused action where all of us view it as our duty to devote most all of our spare time to focused action. And there are some ways you can do that. If you want to talk more about this, you can comment below. But better, first take a look at Retake Our Democracy’s goals, strategies and Action Team descriptions. Maybe you can find a niche where you can devote your spare time to help build our coalition, to resist injustice and advance progressive priorities. You can also RSVP now to our Aug 6th 6:30-8:30pm Organizing meeting at 1420 Cerrillos. We will spend the first half hour to forty five minutes discussing appropriate levels and forms of sustained resistence before breaking into our Action Teams how to advance our legislative, election and climate action strategies: Outreach & Organizing; Media & Marketing; Climate Action; and Research. There are ways you can devote your spare time that can make a difference in NM and perhaps beyond. RSVP by writing to me at email@example.com.
Paul & Roxanne
Paul, you and Roxanne inspire me!! I can’t be too involved in Retake due to my husband’s Parkinson’s and my responsibilities facilitating support groups for PD folks and their care partners. Although I spent days writing and sending emails last session on all the bills that you provided such excellent information on, I do want to do more, if I can. My particular interest is health services, especially for seniors. I just worked this last session to get our Movement Disorder Center funding for the UNM campus. Finally we won’t have to go out of state to get help for Parkinson’s and other movement disorders!!
Your Report Card is EXCELLENT!! One of the best I’ve seen.
Please keep up the fight! Let those of us who can’t be at meetings or the Roundhouse all the time know how we can support you. We want change in NM and that means getting rid of the DINOs once and for all.
Thank you for all that you do to make NM a better State for all of us!!
I am so motivated to devote “most all” of my spare time (specifically to the Climate Action Team), a chance to do more than sign petitions, write letters, and make little donations. I signed up at least two meetings ago, but I’m certainly not part of the team. Every time I read about how easy it is to participate even if we’re not in Santa Fe, I feel so let down. It’s becoming clear that there will be the A team in Santa Fe who decide priorities and set direction for the auxiliary. I think it would be appropriate to make that clear in your future invitations to the rest of us in the hinterlands.
Hi Sandra…. I appreciate your reaction and understand it. But that team has only met once, just established two people to serve as coordinators and we are not quite done with the communications tool we will use to link other regions. The development of the Report Card was all consuming. We have a leadership retreat in two weeks when we will work out more precisely how remote advocates can be engaged. The plan is for the CAT to be tracking a variety of climate and environment related commissions like the BLM, PRC, Oil Conservation Commission, Water Quality board (the name on that is a bit off) and a handful of others. That is something folks can do remotely. We have no intention of Santa Fe dictating issues or positions, but shifting from essentially and Santa Fe-centric to a statewide organization when you are 100% volunteers is not an easy shift to make. It will happen, though and this summer. I am going to take your email address and link you with the coordinator for the CAT and perhaps you could talk with her about how we can make this work authentically for people throughout the state. Again, thanks for your critique.
Thank you for the missing details.
I imagined we were going to identify the climate issues most essential for the planet and work to get those introduced and passed. If we don’t, who does?
Always, the anti-dote to cruelty, illegality and corrupt leadership is to take action. The anti-dote to anger, tears for families at the border, the unlawful shootings of blacks (“I can’t breath”), legalized weapons of war, toxic water and air across the continent, the racist endorsements and the exploitation of and denial of rights for women — the anti-dote is ACTION.
Decide your personal line in the sand. Decide what is absolutely unacceptable to you as a citizen of this nation? Do this now, and pledge to personally act to save our democracy. This privilege of citizenship is a gift from those who defended democracy in earlier generations — WWII, the Civil Rights Era, the long years of Viet Nam protests, and the determined land/water guardians at Standing Rock. We have many models for how to do this. Courage is still possible, while we still have the right to free speech, the right to assembly, the right to disagree with our government.
No one else can defend your freedoms for you. And we each must act to defend the rights of all who have been denied justice in the past 2.7 years. The time is now. Commit to justice.