Enough IS Enough: A Call to Action & A Coronavirus Update, Trump Unhinged

Stock market collapse, oil price plunge, Trump’s continued egoism and total inability to lead. And two climate justice emergencies inject urgency here in NM. Also, a video from Jack Forbes, author of Columbus & Other Cannibals.

Tuesday, March 17, 6:30 pm — 8:30 pm, at 1420 Cerrillos, the Center for Progress & Justice. Retake Our Democracy 2020 Election Campaign Strategy Launch. Join Retake Our Democracy with guests Eric Griego, Director of Working Families Party New Mexico, and Bruce Roach from Indivisible Nob Hill to hear their statewide election strategy with a focus on how we can replace a handful of State Senators who have blocked good progressive legislation for years. Learn how you can support challengers’ campaigns across the state to help elect real Democrats and get rid of the DINOs (Democrats In Name Only) in our State Senate.

Election strategy discussion will be preceded by a brief wrap-up of the 2020 Session — what passed, what didn’t, the usual suspects who killed good bills, and what we’ll be fighting for in the 2021 Session. We’ll also talk briefly about how New Mexicans can influence the U.S. Senate races and the Presidential race in swing states. It’s time to take it all back and restore sanity to our state and our country! Click here to RSVP via Facebook or RSVP by email to RetakeResponse@gmail.com.

Friday, March 13 and March 20, Noon – 1 pm. Westside Entrance to Roundhouse. Sit-in in support of Sunrise Movement’s international Fridays for the Future. Join a local middle school student, me (Paul) and hopefully others outside the Roundhouse. Bring signs. This is not a YUCCA or a Retake sponsored event, just two people asking others to join them in protest of the lack of any responsible action from our leadership in NM, the US, and the world. See below for more about what is being considered going forward.

Other Actions & Events. For more information on local and state events, click here. Details are provided for:

  • TODAY’s march from City Hall (starting at 2pm) to Heinrich’s office and the Governor’s office to drop off signatures demanding an Environmental Impact Study before initiating new plutonium pits at LANL;
  • This Thursday’s New Energy Economy screening of Bedlam: An Intimate Journey Into America’s Mental Health Crisis at the Violet Crown. The screening benefits Casa Milagro’s homeless program and their solarization initiative;
  • Saturday’s YUCCA planning meeting to organize a student strike and direct action on Earth Day, April 22;
  • Sunday’s Journey presentation featuring leadership from Red Nation; and
  • Ongoing events and actions for the public banking initiative and Santa Fe’s chapter of Extinction Rebellion.

A Compounding of Crises Leads One New Mexican to Conclude: It Is Time to Act

Over the past week, the world has started to come unglued. Coronavirus is spiraling out of control in Italy, there is zero indication that the US has a clue how to manage this crisis and growing evidence that Trump is not capable of anything except grandly overstating his command of the situation. Reflecting concerns about the unfolding crises and its impact on the world economy, the stock market has collapsed and the price of oil has dropped to just above $30/barrel down from $70/barrel less than two months ago. I check headlines with fear of what is next.

Exacerbating my fraying nerves, last week Retake reported on Columbus and Other Cannibals, with two blogs devoted to Jack Forbes’ analysis of the depravity of Western Civilization, capitalism, and colonialism. Writing those two posts had a deep impact.

I then was given two articles by my friend and ally, Mariel Nanasi, with each covering a different environmental offense being perpetrated here in NM. The first offense was reported in excruciating detail by Rolling Stone magazine, as it described how fracking operators transfer and store radioactive produced water and, in some shocking examples, how they dispose of it in rivers and on roads with absolutely no regulation involved. Given that NM produces billions of gallons of produced water, this is a New Mexico issue, not just a national one.

The second NM offense is the continued leaking of benzene from the Artesia, NM oil refinery, which is leaking more benzene than any other refinery in the US. Making this much worse, this refinery is across the street from an elementary school where children choke on the leukemia causing benzene emissions every day. These two environmental offenses within our state are morally repugnant and need to be addressed. I was only days from completing a Buddhist retreat and I was seething.

So Sunday night I stewed on all of this. I had this feeling that I simply couldn’t just write posts and wait for next Tuesday’s Retake meeting. I felt like going outside and screaming at the top of my lungs: “Are we all insane?”

Instead I decided to check my email and found a message from Charlotte Lipson, Las Cruces’ tireless curator of progressive news and alarming reports. She shared a New Yorker article that offered up a few quotes from our President on the coronavirus.

“We have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”… “As of right now and yesterday, anybody that needs a test [can have one], that’s the thing, and the tests are all perfect, like the letter was perfect—the transcription was perfect.” … “By April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.” … “The Obama Administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be detrimental to what we’re doing.” … “We’re going very substantially down, not up. . . . We have it so well under control. I mean, we really have done a very good job.” …. “They would like to have the people come off [the Grand Princess cruise ship, off the coast of California]. I would like to have the people stay. . . . Because I like the numbers being where they are.”

New Yorker Magazine excerpted quotes from DT

This is the man charged with leading us through the coronavirus crisis.

The last straw was seeing polling data from Michigan suggesting a Biden landslide, with reports of one Democrat after another lining up to support him. A sense of inevitability was growing inside me, and given my fear that Trump will destroy Biden in debate and that Biden will turn off so many potential voters, I sat staring into space with the sinking feeling that the same idiot who is mishandling the coronavirus will be with us for four more years.

I just couldn’t sit still; I paced; I fumed; and so I decided I’d go to my hearing in magistrate court at 10 am on Friday and then head to the Roundhouse and sit in outside the Govenor’s office. I was inspired by a Santa Fe middle school student who stood up during YUCCA’s Journey Santa Fe presentation this past Sunday and essentially said: ‘It is great to be planning for Earth Day on the 22nd, but I have two weeks off for spring break and I plan to be at the Roundhouse at noon on Friday as part of Fridays for the Future.” I resolved to join her.

I can’t believe I am the only one out there wanting to find a way to express their concerns, their disappointments, their rage. If you are one of those people join us on the Westside entrance of the Roundhouse on Friday at noon. We can discuss ways we might take our pent up energy and direct it meaningfully.

I want to be clear: this is a personal decision by one person in Retake (Paul), but not a Retake Our Democracy sponsored protest, although we will be considering launching some form of ongoing protest, likely in conjunction with YUCCA and XR (Extinction Rebellion) Santa Fe.

But as I sat stewing, I wondered how many of you are also fuming and that maybe it would be a good idea to just do this for ourselves and see how it feels. I am thinking I’d like to do this every Friday at noon as a kind of personal rage against the machine. I’d like company. So if you are seething, please join me. And ask your friends to join in.

In communication with Earth Care director Bianca Sopoci Belknap this morning, I learned that the middle school student prefers to meet not at the Governor’s office but at the west side entrance to the Roundhouse this Friday and next in support of her protest. So, meet us at Noon at the Roundhouse west entrance. In the meantime, I will work with leadership from Retake, YUCCA and XR-SF to determine how best to mount a weekly sit in at the Governor’s office in the future.

Words from Dr. Jack Forbes, Jr.,
author of Columbus and Other Cannibals.

I want to close by offering readers who haven’t been able to get their hands on Columbus and Other Cannibals, an opportunity to learn a bit more from him.

In solidarity,
Paul and Roxanne



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3 replies

  1. Paul, I am planning on joining you and the middle school student (whom I too heard at Journey SF last Sun.) on Friday. As a former middle school science teacher, I applaud the young lady’s fervor and I know that any encouragement and physical support that adults can give to her suggestion is very meaningful. And I selfishly need more outlets for my anger and deep concern for the environmental and social future of New Mexico and the US and the World, rather than writing letters to the Governor and representatives and talking to friends and colleagues. See you Friday! Sandra Shoshani

  2. I will also be there.

  3. Definitely resonate with your seething about what is happening on the political and coronavirus fronts. Also demoralized by the sudden upsurge of Joe Biden. As a native of Wilmington, Delaware, I know about DE politics and the corporate tax shelter that this state represents. Mr. Biden stands against all of the things that the American public claims must be addressed: climate change (think DuPont in DE!), Social Security (he stood with Republicans in favor of lowering benefits as far back as 1983), Medicare for All (he said on the stump that he would veto a bill if Bernie in the Senate & Pelosi in the House got it passed). Can people really be that ignorant of this man’s record? What demoralizes me is that I am certain none of us can make change happen unless we unite behind a candidate like Bernie and other “Bernies” at all levels of government. Even then, things have been going on this way for so long that it will be incredibly hard to get change to happen. The 1% has consolidated power and controls the media, the political realm, and our daily lives to a degree unprecedented in recent history. Trying to remain from sinking into serious depression is our task each day. Best, Linda

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