Breathe: Election Week Has Begun & I Think We May Need Each Other

Today: a post written the morning after the 2016 election and a personal note to all of you from Roxanne. The next week promises to be momentous and quite likely frightening. We will need each other & Retake will keep you posted. Have hope..

First A Note from Roxanne and I

We’ve been through four years of hell. But in the process, we’ve built relationships and alliances borne from struggle, collaboration, resistance, and advocacy. In the midst of Covid, we’ve also seen our systems laid bare. Even before Trump, our political parties have not served us and that has also become clear.

In so many ways, today and this week represents a defining crossroad, I am optimistic we will emerge victorious and will repel whatever Trump has planned, but it is likely to be harrowing. But it will be a transition to a new opportunity. Yesterday, we posted Valarie Kaur’s Ted Talk (it followed her speech from Feb 2017). Many of you may have missed it, so it is placed at the bottom of the post by itslef. I’d recommend it highly as we await the results as her focus is on transition.

So, today, Roxanne and I just want to thank all of you for your tenacity, wisdom and courage. Let the counting and the pacing begin. We will report tomorrow on where we stand. My gut tells me that we will know before midnight MT what the result will be but that network projections will come still later, unless it is a landslide. My gut also tells me that a landslide is quite possible.

My gut also tells me we have reached another crossroad. We now know too much to be timid; once Jan 20 arrives, we will be every bit as tenacious and committed as we’ve been these past months. We have some demands and we will pursue them with vigor. But that is for another day. For today, stay calm, have hope.

At the bottom of the post are some closing thoughts and tools and resources for watching returns tonight and resisting a coup tomorrow. Most importantly, Working Families Party is holding a zoom meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss where we stand and what we may need to do to protect the vote.

And for the last time this year, I must ask you to dig deep and find the time to make some calls on behalf of three candidates who are likely to win or lose narrowly and the outcome will depend on getting out the vote. Calling can go right up to 7 pm.

  • Neomi Martinez Parra in her Senate District 35 race. This is by far our greatest priority as polling shows her narrowly trailing:
  • Claudia Risner in her race against Greg Schmedes. This race is also neck and neck and a last-minute push could defeat a truly regressive legislator. Schmedes is the bane of anything related to women’s rights, gun safety, abortion rights, and health security, so if those things matter to you, this is a chance to remove a truly bad legislator. Click here.
  • Pam Cordova in her race in Senate District 30.

Just Curious:
What Time Will You Turn On The News & What Channel?
And Just for fun: Use comment to indicate your prediction for Total Biden Electoral Votes.

The Owl & The Hawk: First Published Nov. 9, 2016

This was originally posted the morning after the election. It has been read more than any post ever. Two airborne visitors, an owl and a hawk, arrived; the owl the day before the election and the hawk this morning (the morning after). Both stared right at me. I think they were telling me what is next.


Dear Friends,

This is a very strange and profoundly challenging time.

Monday night, Roxanne and I were returning from town and as we turned up our street a huge owl flew directly in front of our car, landed on a tree nearby, and as we stopped, he looked back at us. We have never seen an owl here, though we know they are indigenous.

This morning, in the grips of the election results, I went to make coffee and looked out onto our back porch.  A huge hawk was sitting on a chair not 15 feet away looking out at the Jemez mountains and then turned and looked directly at me before flying off. We had never seen anything like this. Indeed, it is the stuff you read in a John Nichols or Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel.

You need to know that I do not generally pay much attention to symbolic messages, but these two sightings, two bookends for the horror of the election results, forced me to pay attention. Roxanne looked online for what these sightings could signify.  From the internet, we found this about the owl.

“Many Native American cultures viewed the owl as a totem animal representing wisdom and prophecy. They believed that those who saw owls should take the sightings as a sign to stand back from everyday life and turn inward for wisdom found through being quiet and listening to a person’s inner voice.”

And this about the hawk.

“Hawk is often a messenger from Angels, Devas and the Divine. He signals a time in your life when you need to focus on what’s ahead and prepare for a leadership role. Your global vision is a potent helpmate in this.”

After 18 months of writing to you, I feel I have a responsibility to shed light on what just happened and what might come next, but I honestly can’t think straight and so I will heed the owl’s advice and be mostly silent for now.

What I will say is that this is no time for recriminations, as we who didn’t vote for Trump need each other more than ever. For this moment, I’d say be as compassionate as possible, do as little as possible, say as little as possible, listen hard and look within.

In a few days, we may have more insight and more capacity to see a path. But for now I have only one thought and it has complete possession of my brain:  Bernie would have won and won easily, I feel so cheated that I didn’t get the opportunity to vote for him yesterday, and I don’t know what to do or say about that reality.

I keep crying. I feel robbed. Many of you likely feel the same. But it is important not to dwell in our grief for long. There are too many people, plants and animals who need all of us more than ever. It seems an impossible task just now, but the sun came up today, a reminder that life goes on and we have an obligation to ourselves and others to gather ourselves and face our new reality.

The owl would have recommended not even saying that. But something inside said that I must.

Hug someone close to you. I will write again in a day or so when things get a bit clearer.

Paul 11.9.2016

Election Tools & Resources

News In Briefs: Your Election Results Viewing Tools

  • From Retake Our Democracy: “Downballot Recommendations”.
  • From Retake Our Democracy: “Vote NO on Amendment 1”
  • From “2020 Poll Closing Times” Just print it out and you’ve got all the times when each state’s polls close, the 3 pager also includes how many electoral votes, Senate and Governor races will be reported at that time.
  • From Interactive Electoral Map: Fun tool, I’ve used a bunch to project possible outcomes. You can click on any state and by doing so change it from different shades of blue or red and then totals change automatically. So as CNN declares Florida for Biden at 10:30 pm, you can flip it from grey (toss-up) to Blue and go to bed, cuz game over….except for the chaos (resources below for that).
  • From NM Secretary of State: “2020 Election Returns” If you want to follow specific NM state races or Amendment 1, you can click here to get up to the minute results.
  • From NPR: “The 13 Races That Will Determine the Senate Majority”.. This is a great article to print out for viewing election night resullts as it outlines the key races at your fingertips. It is looking very promising for retaking the US Senate.

News In Briefs: For Your Coup Resisting Efforts

Thursday, Nov 5, 6:30-8pm Election Zoom De-Brief, with Five New NM State Senators: Neomi Martinez Parra, Harold Pope, Pam Cordova, Carrie Hamblen, Siah Correa Hemphill, Claudia Risner with Eric Griego and Neri Holguin, campaign manager extraordinaire, joining the conversation. Hopefully all five of these candidates will have won their races and will be readying for their first legislative session. They will be key factors in decriminalizing abortion, passing the Health Security Act, putting NM on a path to having a state public bank, and putting the Green Amendment on the ballot. You can meet them all and ask questions about their priorities and positions. 

Find out what will be possible with a fixed NM State Senate! Note the addition of Claudia Risner to the lineup.

Click here to register.

Closing thought. We have been so heartened by the more than 1200 people who used our downballot recommendations and our GOTV strategy. We know from comments, phone conversations and emails, that many of you have devoted huge amounts of time to making calls and sending texts, moving out of your comfort zones to do what needed to be done. There is great value in that, no matter the result. But I think we got this. Stay tuned!

In solidarity and hope,

Paul & Roxanne

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4 replies

  1. So moved by this video. So glad I watched it, for the first time, today….I’m still carrying the damage from 11-8-16. Now I will look at my part in that travesty more deeply.
    Thank you for providing her wonderful presentation.

  2. Where is there a sign-up for the Nov 5 Zoom?


  1. The Situation Has Improved Significantly….but It Has Not Been the Night We Had Expected – Retake Our Democracy

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