We examine the implications of last week, but also look forward. We include two News in Briefs & a thought-provoking video from Arnold Schwarzenneger about the parallels between Kristenacht in 1938 and Wednesday. We are in this together.
I especially hope you watch the seven minute video at the bottom of this page. Trump may well fade away, but his followers have been empowered and emboldened. Please also review the News In Briefs, as together they offer hints of what may be ahead and how we must act. But the message I want you to take away.
TOGETHER WE WILL PREVAIL
2021 Legislative Priorities Survey: If you have not taken the survey we are closing it on January 18 and we hope to include as many New Mexican voters as we can, so please take 5-10 minutes to take the survey. Fifteen Transformational bills: what are your priorities? Click here to take the survey.
Join a Retake Our Democracy Senate District Advocacy Team. We have hosted over a half dozen Constituent-Senator Zoom discussions over the past ten days with several slated for this week. Thus far, we are hearing nothing but strong kudos on the process. This is an advocacy strategy that will be develop this session and expanded in future sessions. It has definitely generated authentic dialog and an opportunity to provide proactive input before the session begins.
The Zooms are well structured by the coordinators, often working with a small team to prepare. Most of the constituents only use chat to offer their views, with the chat being shared with Senators after the meeting. Most of the time is spent listening to the Senator to identify his/her level of support for our 15 Transformational Bills and to hear about the Senators’ priorities. But having more faces on the screen adds to our credibility and you have a semi-private chat with your Senator. To see a schedule of our Zoom Conversations or to watch recordings of the ones completed, click here.
To sign up to become part of a Senate District Advocacy Team, click here.
News In Brief:
It is clear that we have work to be done, but frankly, it isn’t entirely clear to me what that works looks like, as my comments below the NIBs describes. If you read nothing more about the current political situation and the peril we are in, read the New York Times piece that follows a report from Heather Cox Richardson. Read on!
From Letters from an American: “January 10, 2021. Heather Cox Richardson.”. This Letter does not imbed the insurrection in historical context, as is her wont, rather it focuses on what happened and how close we came to Senators, Representatives and the Vice-President being captured and perhaps tried and executed. The Senators escaped the chamber but one minute before the domestic terrorists entered the chamber. One Minute. But there is growing political fallout and HCR devotes the bulk of this post to the unravelling of the GOP and support for Trump from many arenas.
Over the past several days, the picture of what happened on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, has become clearer, and it’s bad. While Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser gave a press conference Wednesday night, there has been not a single official briefing from the White House, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, or Capitol Police.
The federal government has gone dark.”Letters from an American: “January 10, 2021. Heather Cox Richardson.”.
From The New York Times: “The American Abyss: A historian of fascism and political atrocity on Trump, the mob and what comes next.“ This piece lays out how we got here, how the echoes of Nazi Germany are not imagined, but based on clear parallels, how Trump’s onslaught on the truth has led to a context where no judge, legislator, media source or scientist can be trusted, it is Trump who will save us. This is both a well supported and very well written piece. Some excerpts.
“People believed him, which is not at all surprising. It takes a tremendous amount of work to educate citizens to resist the powerful pull of believing what they already believe, or what others around them believe, or what would make sense of their own previous choices…. Plato noted a particular risk for tyrants: that they would be surrounded in the end by yes-men and enablers. Aristotle worried that, in a democracy, a wealthy and talented demagogue could all too easily master the minds of the populace….
My own view is that greater knowledge of the past, fascist or otherwise, allows us to notice and conceptualize elements of the present that we might otherwise disregard and to think more broadly about future possibilities. It was clear to me in October that Trump’s behavior presaged a coup, and I said so in print; this is not because the present repeats the past, but because the past enlightens the present…
Thanks to technological capacity and personal talent, Donald Trump lied at a pace perhaps unmatched by any other leader in history. For the most part these were small lies, and their main effect was cumulative. To believe in all of them was to accept the authority of a single man, because to believe in all of them was to disbelieve everything else. Once such personal authority was established, the president could treat everyone else as the liars; he even had the power to turn someone from a trusted adviser into a dishonest scoundrel with a single tweet….
At bottom, the fantasy of fraud is that of a crime committed by Black people against white people. It’s not just that electoral fraud by African-Americans against Donald Trump never happened. It is that it is the very opposite of what happened, in 2020 and in every American election. As always, Black people waited longer than others to vote and were more likely to have their votes challenged. They were more likely to be suffering or dying from Covid-19, and less likely to be able to take time away from work….
When Senator Ted Cruz announced his intention to challenge the Electoral College vote, he invoked the Compromise of 1877, which resolved the presidential election of 1876. Commentators pointed out that this was no relevant precedent, since back then there really were serious voter irregularities and there really was a stalemate in Congress. For African-Americans, however, the seemingly gratuitous reference led somewhere else. The Compromise of 1877 — in which Rutherford B. Hayes would have the presidency, provided that he withdrew federal power from the South — was the very arrangement whereby African-Americans were driven from voting booths for the better part of a century. It was effectively the end of Reconstruction, the beginning of segregation, legal discrimination and Jim Crow. It is the original sin of American history in the post-slavery era, our closest brush with fascism so far….
Trump’s coup attempt of 2020-21, like other failed coup attempts, is a warning for those who care about the rule of law and a lesson for those who do not. His pre-fascism revealed a possibility for American politics. For a coup to work in 2024, the breakers will require something that Trump never quite had: an angry minority, organized for nationwide violence, ready to add intimidation to an election. Four years of amplifying a big lie just might get them this. To claim that the other side stole an election is to promise to steal one yourself. It is also to claim that the other side deserves to be punished.”
We will prevail, but we need our eyes wide open to do so. Trump will slink away on Jan 20 and he may never regain his stature among his 75 million voters. But the lies are believed by tens of millions and someone can pick up the baton and choreograph more myth, more lies, more conspiracies into an even more violent movement. We badly need to organize nationally and locally.
The first comment on the NYT’s piece was that what was largely unaddressed was how the First Amendment affords broad latitude in speech and communication. In that context, how do we limit or prevent the promulgation of an entire mythology based upon racism and lies? A very important question. Your thoughts encouraged below.
Looking Back at: a Tumultuous Week From Which We Must Learn
Oh what a week it was. The posts from last week chronicle an unforgettable week that began with the recording of Trump committing voter fraud. We were horrified, but then a scant two days later, we had a brand new definition of “horrified,” as we watched a sedition resurrection conducted by domestic terrorists invading the Capitol.
As bad as it was, it could have been so much worse, as it is becoming more and more clear that there was a plan to take hostages, to execute the Vice President and perhaps others. There are so many questions unanswered, but the one foremost in my mind: What were the Capitol Police doing? No effort whatsoever to arrest terrorists as they were forced from the Capitol. We saw tons of video of terrorists chatting with police, even taking selfies with them. All of us had the same question: imagine if that were a group of BLM activists.
I always try to point readers to one or two pieces that especially warrant review. Unless you are a glutton for punishment, I’d skip the ones on the mayhem and head to our piece on Worker Owned Cooperatives, the piece on banning private prisons in NM and most particularly, the discussion of how tax policy and institutional racism intersect in NM. Read on!
While Trump is Recorded Committing Election Fraud, Retake Spends a Week Examining Democratic Socialism. What an End to 4 Years of Madness! Plus GA Update.
Monday, January 4, 2021. In addition to Georgia, posts from the week of Dec. 29-January 4, we offered an update on Trump’s GA call to the Secty of State, three News in Briefs capturing ramifications of the recording of Trump’s stunning phone call and what looks like his planned flight to Scotland, Jan 19.
But for most of this week, we resisted giving Trump any coverage, preferring to focus on more uplifting analysis of what social, racial and economic justice could look like in America. If you missed any of our discussion of democratic socialism the week of Dec. 28 – Jan. 4th, I highly recommend you examine those pieces, as they could serve as a roadmap for fleshing out what economic, social and racial justice could look like. This post also included news of Trump’s overtly committing election fraud was too brazen to ignore, especially with publication of a recording of the full call (link to the full tape of the phone meeting between Trump and the GA Secty of State is included in this post. It is astonishing).
An Inspiring Dive Into Worker Owned Cooperatives & What Could be Possible in NM & the US. Plus More Polls on GA
& Info Tomorrow’s Electoral Vote
Tuesday, January 5, 2021. I hope you find compelling our examination of Mondragon worker cooperatives and how they could become part of the Covid recovery ahead. We need to expand our vision. This post points to one most promising direction. We also include all the comments from last week’s posts on democratic socialism, creating an interesting thread of commentary. Finally, we included an update on the Health Security Act and the rules governing tomorrow’s Congressional count of the electoral vote.
We Won in Georgia Despite Voter Suppression, Results Analyzed and a Piece on a Bill to End Private Prisons In NM
Wednesday, January 6. This post was published just after it was apparent that we had won both Georgia run-offs and before mayhem began. For what seems a brief nanosecond, we were able to feel a sense of relief and euphoria. We also featured an excellent summary of the reason to advocate for HB 40 Private Detention Center Moratorium. We used the fact sheet from People Over Private Prisons as the basis of this summary.
Wednesday morning, with 98% of the vote counted, Raphael Warnock had been declared the winner in his runoff against Kelly Loeffler, as he leads by over 50,000 votes with only 100,000 votes to be counted, most all coming from heavily Democratic counties and the 17,000 overseas votes that will be counted by Friday. Jon Ossoff holds a somewhat smaller 17,000 vote margin, with the same votes to be counted, it is inconceivable he would now lose, but the media is being cautious in declaring a winner here. We were not so cautious; it was clear that Ossoff had won.
I don’t know if you watched the returns last night, but if you did, you understand how crazy last night was. What drama, so much at stake, so many ups and downs. Quite a night! Kudos to all of you who contributed, called or texted.
The post also included an extraordinary 12-minute video delineating how Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia Secretary of State who stood up to Trump, was also the architect of a massive voter purge resulting in over 200,000 appropriately registered voters being removed from the voting list.
URGENT ACTION ALERT Chaos in DC, Hundreds of Armed Cowboys For Trump at Roundhouse. Call the Governor.
Wednesday, January 6, 2021: Breaking News. I didn’t need to tell you what was going on in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. Everyone was glued to their TV. It was insurrection and it was treason. At the same time we had problems at the Roundhouse with armed Cowboys. Action Alert Info.
The action called for below is focused on domestic terrorists at the Roundhouse who are not wearing masks, but it is more than this. We are witnessing on national television right now what happens when wanton disregard for law is encouraged by leadership and appropriate responses are not taken by those who have a responsibility to protect the law. You will find a story from the ABQ Journal at the bottom of this post, validating the hundreds of unmasked Trump protesters. For now the term “protester” applies, but so does the term lawbreakers as they are flagrantly defying Covid regulations.
The US Is Spinning Out of Control, DC and All State Capitols Threatened: Could We Pass a Law to Ban Weapons Near the Roundhouse?
Friday, January 8, 2021. We took the day off on Thursday to take a breath and try to assimilate all that had transpired in the last 48 hours. In this post, we offered our thoughts on Wednesday’s act of domestic terrorism, plus updates on other more mundane but important information. After that we listed a new series of very practical trainings in activism put on by a coalition led by black activists. Retake participated in a tremendous Legislative Action Expo on Saturday with a whos who of progressive organizations & most Democratic State Legislators. Details were included in the post and many of the trainings are this week.
Tax Policy Isn’t Sexy But It is At the Core of Institutional Racism: Our Plan for 2021 to Starting Fixing That
Saturday, January 9, 2021. MLK, Jr., Rev. William Barber & others have noted that our state & national budgets are moral documents. NM Voices for Children published an extraordinary report on the connection between NM state fiscal policy & institutional racism.
In this post, we offered our Retake Conversation with members of the People Over Private Prisons coalition, followed by an examination of how we can fix our NM state tax and revenue system. We closed with a poem from William Butler Yeats that was offered in comment from Tracy Neal and is so pertinent in these extraordinary times. Finally, we included a video from Frontline on the history of institutional racism and the efforts of Frontline to organize against that history. We will begin offering information from Frontline on an ongoing basis. We need to keep informed and build our deep understanding of the forces we find in the streets in Washington, but also in the halls in Washington.
Remembering Lynne Fischer:
A Gentle Spirit, a Determined Force, a Peace Maker
Sunday, January 10, 2021. We reflect on the late-Lynne Fischer who passed on January 5, 2020, an ominous start to a year that turned tragic in so many ways. But today we celebrate her life and acknowledge that the anniversary of her death came on the day we won Georgia. She would have been most happy about that. Last year, we commemorated the 2020 session to Lynne, but given its being a short one and given the omnipresence of the Senate DINOS, 2021 promises to be a more fruitful year and so more appropriately in honor of Lynne’s spirit.
We close today’s post with an important message from former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who movingly describes the parallels between today and Germany in 1938. Very worth your time.
Categories: Election, Political Reform & National Politics