Post Meltdown Conversations

Tuesday’s post on my personal meltdown resulted in several folks we know reaching out. The conversations caused me to realize both that many of you are having similar moments and that talking about it helps. Let’s talk.

Saturday, August 8, 8:30 am on KSFR 101.1 FM or Streaming Live on KSFR.Org: Retake Conversation with Rep. Melanie Stansbury. We focused on a wide range of water issues, but also ranged into other issues and discussed her campaign for re-election. Rep. Stansbury is an articulate expert on NM water policy and she has a knack for making complex water policy understandable. She faces a very challenging re-election campaign as her district is not a very high performing Democratic district. Only one Democratic held House district in the state has a lower Democratic Performance Index score. Very interesting interview.

Recording Available
Retake 2020 Election Campaign Strategy Zoominar: Who Can Win, Who Needs a Push and What YOU Can Do

Panelists included: Eric Griego, Working Families Party of NM, Andrea Serrano, Olé and representatives from Indivisible, Nasty Women and other grassroots groups that have teams working on campaigns. Find out key races where wins are possible and races where good Democrat incumbents face stiff challenges. Find out the nuances involved in organizing successful campaigns and the many ways in which you can support a campaign. There is far more to be done besides making calls, texting and writing postcards. We have a unique opportunity in 2021, a Democratic Governor, a strongly progressive House and potentially a completely transformed Senate. Now we need to finish the job and make great candidates into great legislators. Find out how we can create a Legislature ready to pass a Public Bank, Health Security, Tax Reform, Funding for Early Childhood, and to pave the way for a just transition in NM.

Many folks wrote us afterward asking for more information on campaigns and more direction on what they can do. Retake Board Member and volunteer Cristy Holden is reaching out to each of our six priority campaigns to get more specific information on the candidates and their campaign capacity to utilize volunteers. We will have an updated and expanded NM state election strategy ready next week.

One area where likely all campaigns can use your help is to write letters to the editor in support of the candidate. Unless you live in the district, your task would then be to forward draft letters to a campaign operative so that they could be given to local residents to submit for publication. Before we ask people for this kind of involvement, we want to get more information from campaign polling that reveals the priorities of the constituents of each district. Letters should not express our personal priorities. but emphasize the messaging that polling suggests will resonate best in those districts. More next week on this. Stay tuned.

News In Brief: I don’t know if Heather Cox Richardson ever sleeps. Somehow she produces a daily blog so comprehensive and with such rich with detail you’d think she had spent a month preparing it. And this morning’s was no exception.

  • Heather Cox Richardson, August 5. The quote below is just a fraction of the detailed review of financial and legal corruption emanating from the Trump administration. And the hammer is about to fall. Note especially the last sentence, emphasis mine. Stay tuned.

Attorney subpoenaed Trump’s records from Deutsche Bank last year and the bank handed them over. Deutsche Bank was the only bank willing to work with Trump after his many bankruptcies. It lent Trump or his company more than $2 billion in the past twenty years.

Earlier this week, we learned that the Manhattan district attorney’s office is looking not only at hush money paid to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to keep them quiet about sexual affairs with Trump, but also at the crimes of tax fraud, insurance fraud, and bank fraud. The district attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr, is pushing to get Trump’s tax returns to cross-check them with the Deutsche Bank records.

At about 7:30 tonight, the New York Attorney General’s Press Office announced that Attorney General Letitia James will be making “a major national announcement” tomorrow at 11:30 AM.

From: Heather Cox Richardson: “August 5″

More On the Meltdown

We can’t “Have” hope, we must create it.

I published Tuesday’s post, “Yesterday, I Had a Total Meltdown” with some trepidation. Generally, I don’t think it is good form for privileged white folks like me to write about my personal angst. But while I began with my family’s personal story, the real focus was on the far more dire circumstances of three individuals featured in the Washington Post piece and then by extension the 50 million Americans out of work, only 38 million of whom had been able to access unemployment.

But I felt it was also important to share our experience because while Roxanne and I enjoy some level of privilege that buffers the impact of COVID, we are not immune to what is happening. I figured that many of you also while being somewhat buffered and yet were likely still having your own personal meltdowns. I was glad to hear from friends who confirmed this. But what is this about? This COVID has been around for months, why the sudden escalation of feelings.

I had a conversation with a few key Retake volunteers yesterday. We talked a bit about how each of us was reacting to this pandemic and came to realize that in the last few weeks, things had changed in a very frightening way. As one friend put it: “a few weeks ago, it seemed that if we could just get to November and get rid of Trump, we could survive almost anything. There was hope.”

But in the last 2-3 weeks, Trump and his lock step thugs (and that is really what they are, low-life common criminals who somehow inhabit positions of great power), these thugs have upped the ante.

They’ve dropped hint after hint that the election might not be deemed legitimate. They’ve completely gutted the post office, reducing work hours, eliminating overtime, and creating a huge backlog on mail delivery, clearly with the intent of slowing election results.

And then in my Retake Conversation with Greg Palast last Saturday, he described how Trump could very easily work with 3-4 swing states controlled by Republican governors and legislators and using the slow results as an excuse, fail to certify the election results by the deadline. In that scenario, Biden could fall short of 268 election.

Should that happen, according to Article XII, the House of Representatives votes to elect the president and it isn’t by a majority vote of the representatives, but a vote where each state has one vote. In other words, Wyoming has as much clout as California. In that scenario Trump is re-elected. In that scenario what is next is almost unfathomable.

And that simmering reality that has surfaced over the past couple weeks has eroded the one thing that has sustained me and possibly many, many of you: hope. What’s worse, it has replaced hope with anxiety and possible fear.

The only defense against this fear is for us to do all we can to ensure an election result that is indisputably clear: an utter rebuke of this administration and the demonic sociopath who leads it.

There have been rough patches the last couple days mulling this reality, but in the end, we are where we are and we really have no option. Less than 90 days to ensure a landslide.

I went for a walk the day of my meltdown. I pulled out an old Obama t-shirt with one word on it “Hope.” I had bought it when my then 13 year old son, Jesse and I had canvassed for Obama in Nevada. It felt good to wear it, to emblazon hope across my chest.

But, we can’t rely on hope; it can keep us sane over the next three months, but we need to use that hope to fuel unrelenting action.

We can’t let Trump steal this election because with it I fear he really would steal all of our hope with it.

Hang in there, friends. Next week we will post an updated and very clear strategy through which all of you can play an important role in the next weeks. Comfort zones be damned we are on a campaign to resurrect our hopes for the future.

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

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9 replies

  1. I had my “annual checkup” yesterday and when the Nurse Practitioner said, “How are you doing?”… I found myself being honest about my depression and anxiety and inability to STAY asleep. It felt like a relief. I have NEVER felt depressed or anxious or unable to sleep in my entire life. I WILL join you on Saturday.

  2. I feel you! But I’m going with the hope that we have overwhelming turnout at the polls…and yes, by mail. has been doing mass mailings to folks who may not vote or who need help with information. Check it out. Not sure if you’ve written about this movement yet. Apologies if I missed ot🙏🏽🙏🏽

  3. Getting out of our comfort zones does not mean risking Covid-19. It’s difficult to vote when on a ventilator; impossible to vote if you succumb. Work hard, but work smart and safe. For me right now, it’s back to Vote Forward letters and my Transformation Working Group research brief.

  4. Thank you for writing this and the previous post. You hit the nail on the head: we’ve been hunkering down, trying hard to do all the right things (wearing masks, staying in as possible, helping people as we can), and believing that come November, the dark clouds will part and there will be bright sunshine and birds singing sweetly. But no, the thugs are still pulling the levers of chaos and cranking up the hate & division machines and… they’re doing their damnedest to psyche us out as well as to actually blow up the election process. If Trump wins, dear God, help us all. But if Biden wins, Trump’s minions may well make things so horrible that… well, it’s hard not to think the worst because we know things get even worse than the worst we can imagine, because that is how the past four years have gone. So yeah, we are burnt, but not totally. If they’re going to throw all the nasty tricks and fireballs at us for the next three months… we have to continue believing and acting upon the belief that Goodness and Justice and Humanity will prevail. It has to. We have to.

  5. The opening paragraphs to our Ward newsletter early last week:


    Do you find yourself trying to shake off the blues, after almost half a year of living with Covid19? I do, and many of us do; yet, we remain committed to keeping our community and family safe and healthy. Do you also find yourself feeling glad as the monsoon builds at the end of the day with the promise of life-giving rain, smiling at the sunflowers beginning to open, and the hummingbirds crowding the feeders? I do.

    We are at many important crossroads in our city and in our country. The economy is fragile. We are coming to a long over-due reckoning with unacceptably brutal policing methods, and with racism that is hard-baked into our public and private institutions, sometimes obvious, and sometimes disguised and barely out of sight. Growing federal law enforcement presence in our cities is an affront to democratically elected local governments, deeply destabilizing, and intentionally provocative. All this, on the brink of an election of historic consequence nationally, and of lasting importance in the state.

    Like sunflowers turning to the sun, we turn to hope, and to the action we can take to deliver the promise of that hope. We must keep our eyes on the prize. For some of us, that action will be talking to a neighbor or family member about the importance of voting; for others, it is writing a letter to our city councilor in support of protecting and equitably paying essential workers; for still others, it is working for a candidate in a pivotal race. This newsletter, and those from now until the election, will include ideas for how you can contribute to the change we need.

    This year, this election, we WILL do it: we will build hope and change for ourselves, for the children and young people in our lives and our community, and for the world.

  6. Numbers tell real stories. One more article with depressing and angering information that can strip hope and energy from us.
    We do not have time or energy to spend them on Trump.
    The express train of Global Warming is unstoppable.
    The express train of Poisoning Life, all Life, is also unstoppable.
    The express train of Impoverishing America and every other country on the face of the Earth may still have a few stops here and there.

    Yes, we should allow ourselves to have meltdowns and even spend time in deep depression.
    And sharing our feelings is probably the best thing to do.
    To achieve mutual support at all levels is important but not easy in a deeply divided and ‘individualized’ society.

    To wrestle the social engineering power from the wold’s male elites/plutocrats or oligarchs is not impossible.
    It has been done many times before, Even in the American Empire, the largest, most powerful empire created by Homo Sapiens’ male elites.

    These male elites have always been the gatekeepers of our economic and social relationships.

    They are focused on only a few variables important only to their narrow interests.
    WE are interested in all the variables creating the Great Biological Balance.
    To create and maintain a social system comparable to a biologic (true democracy?) system is not easy but possible.
    It will take time that we do not have.


  7. We are really up against it, Paul and Retake members! It’s no wonder that people are anxious. I believe this is an appropriate response to what is going on. We are on the edge of fascism, and we must do everything in our power, collectively, to stop that from happening. These folks have been so emboldened by the Senate’s failure to impeach Trump, that they aren’t even trying to hide their intention of stealing the election. Remember the burning of the German Reichstag in 1933, which allowed Hitler to assume total power.

  8. Again, thanks Paul ! It was never going to be either simple or easy to get rid of the Orange Emperor.

  9. Paul and Roxanne,

    I want to begin by saying how much I appreciate the intelligent hard work you and Roxanne are doing week after week.

    In the effort to motivate voting, I sent the following (and attached) to 150, or so, of my friends across the country. Use it as you see fit with any editorial upgrades it might need.

    Very Highest Regards.

    James Stewart

    Dear All,

    We need to execute a two-step offensive!


    (That’s simple – just forward this message to everyone you know with any editorial upgrades you see fit to make.)

    The vast majority of American realize that the coming Nov. 3 General Election is the most important of our lifetime.
    We must vote and encourage others to do so. At this point, it is a moral obligation.
    Our dear country faces severe, life altering and heart-breaking challenges: the disastrous COVID-19 pandemic, the deepest economic recession since the Great Depression, and the struggle for racial, social, and economic justice.

    Can I Vote?
    To find out about registration and voting in your state, go to the National Association of Secretaries of State website.

    I just opened the site, indicated my state, and the info popped right up.

    If your state has Vote-by-Mail, complete the ballot early/early and mail it early/early to be sure that it reaches election officials and counters in plenty of time. Or, better yet, given GOP meddling to slow the Postal Service, you should hand deliver the ballot to the election center in your city or county.

    Absentee Ballot
    A short Google search on your city or county elections office will yield instructions for requesting an Absentee Ballot. If it is not “live” yet for the Nov election, check again every week or so. Mail the ballot early/early or, better yet, hand deliver it or have someone deliver it for you.

    Many states provide “no excuse” absentee ballots. Of course, you can always say you will be traveling to see an old aunt, but don’t say she’s in Europe as they won’t let US passport holder in due to our non-handling of the Corona Pandemic. (If your aunt is in Canada or Mexico and you intend to “visit” here, check the entry requirements for those countries.)

    Vote in Person
    If you vote in person, staying safe is of paramount importance. Vote at off-peak times, such as mid-morning and monitor the voter line from your car so you can join it when it’s shorter. Consumer Reports’ Guide to Voting During the Pandemic reviews the precautions to take. Plus, it reviews registering to vote and talks about making sure that your vote counts.

    If you choose to vote in-person at the polls consult the CDC list of COVID-19 safety recommendation.

    Early Voting
    This is increasingly popular to avoid crowds and long lines. The applicable rules for every state are listed on the website of the National Conference of States Legislatures.

    The goal for all of us is simple: to create a massive voter turn out and a landslide victory to kick out the rascals who have abused The Constitution, allowed the corona pandemic to devastate hundreds of thousands, even millions, of lives, thrown us into the deepest economic recession that any of us have ever known, and done nothing to alleviate poverty and the wont of health care across the country.

    We want our country, the great country we know and love, but which has been diminished and taken from us.

    With highest and warmest regards.

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