Category Archives: Opinion

What’s the Story?  

by Jerilyn Bowen, 9/25/19

Decisions, decisions, decisions.  On what grounds do we make them, individually and collectively? That’s a big question these days.  Many considerations inevitably come into play but basically most decisions are determined by a dialectic between fear of X and faith in Y.  Which prevails depends on the story we tell ourselves.

For a minor example:  when Trump came to Rio Rancho in September, the story on the street was that holding a mass protest outside his rally would prove to be dangerous so best to attend the alternate gathering sponsored by the NM Democratic Party in a safe place far from Rio Rancho.  No one talked about what we sacrificed in letting ourselves be intimidated out of showing up in large numbers to make our collective voice heard when the national media would be there to record and broadcast our message.  No one asked what Martin Luther King might’ve been willing to risk that day in service to the cause of saving our democracy.  In short, no one seemed to put the supposed dangers of an on-site protest in context of the larger narrative about what motivates us in our work for a more just and humane world…just X, no Y.

Continue reading What’s the Story?  

Making America Ours Again

by Jerilyn Bowen

Every day we are reminded that our country–and our planet–is in peril.  We are bombarded with demented inflammatory Tweets from the usurper who occupies the White House amid reports of mass shootings and weather catastrophes; frightened children ripped from their parents and locked in cages; violence against minorities, women, and those of nonconforming gender; public schools in crisis; a rampant opiod epidemic; melting arctic ice and vanishing species; rising suicide rates; nuclear war hovering on the horizon and much more.  Perhaps the worst of it is the unholy food fight fomented by Republicans in Congress, the national body that is supposed to represent the interests of the people.  While Senate Majority Leader McConnell contrives to block any legislation that doesn’t increase the wealth and power of the 1% who own his party and the House dithers about impeachment under the myopic leadership of a corporate Democrat who lets Trump set the agenda, it feels as if the country is being precariously held together with chewing gum and duct tape.

Continue reading Making America Ours Again

Fasting for the World’s Children

Friends and family,

Albuquerque has a very special person, Sally-Alice Thompson, who has been an activist for peace and for many human rights issues for decades. She and her husband, Don, founded the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center which is a community center for a whole variety of campaigns to improve the condition of humanity.

Sally-Alice is nearing her 96th year and she has decided to undertake a fast of water only to draw attention to the children who are starving and dying due to US policies around the world. She is a passionate person of sound mind and commitment. Many of her friends have tried to talk her out of this but she started her fast on Saturday and is steadfast in doing this to bring awareness to the children.

What am I asking of you? If you like, you can skip a meal or fast a day or two in solidarity with her. That may be too much for many people to do so in lieu of that you can be informed and inform others.

The most important thing is to let Sally-Alice know that you care. That is the request that she has made – that people e-mail her if they fast (for any length of time) and that they aware of the tragedy that is happening to the world’s children. She thinks that not enough people know what is happening!

sally-aliceanddon@juno.com

I’ve attached three short video clips from today when she was at the weekly Resist Trump Tuesday in front of the New Mexico Congressional offices in downtown Albuquerque. Sally-Alice and others have been there EVERY Tuesday since the 2016 election.

I’m copying below her statement that she presented today.

Statement from Sally-Alice Thompson:
“I am starting “Fast Against Sanctions and Sieges” (FASS) because of American sanctions on Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea, and sieges, supported by America, of Yemen and Gaza, are resulting in the starvation of thousands of infants and children. If hungry children, who need nourishment to develop their bodies and minds, are going hungry, then so must I. These sanctions and sieges must end!”

Please call your Members of Congress and say that you oppose any one of these measures that is hurting children. Your call will be tallied and is important.

View the videos here.

Pat Bartels

A press converence with Sally-Alice

To Be or Not To Be, Impeachable He Runs Free

by Jerilyn Bowen

 The question of impeaching President Trump now hangs before the nation on every newscast.  This is unsettling. More disconcerting, however, is the seeming inability of the Democratic  Congressional leadership to take an unequivocal, principled stand on Mueller’s documentation of multiple attempts to obstruct justice by the man who occupies the White House, offenses that more than meet the impeachment standard of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”   Were this any other president,  that personage would long ago have been subject to impeachment on a number of other grounds as well, including corruption and collaboration with foreign powers in service to a private agenda.

Continue reading To Be or Not To Be, Impeachable He Runs Free

Making the Case for Democratic Socialism, Green New Deal et al

By Jerilyn Bowen

 

Since one of our PDA challenges is to take the hex off the McCarthy era scare word socialism, in case you missed any of the below, am sending along for your delectation.   (And possible use in other networks.)  The AOC clip is a real spirit-lifter…I recommend as antidote to any activist malaise that may sneak up on you in the dead of night.

1)  Intercept video narrated by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, seven-minute gone-viral envisioning of the future we could have if we adopt a Green New Deal approach and put it into action sooner rather than later:
 
+ Two excerpts from Democracy Now in which prominent economists talk about what’s gone wrong with our present system and how that can be fixed.  
 
In the first one Stiglitz uses “Progressive Capitalism” to describe what he says is pretty much the same as Democratic Socialism.  On the latter, important to get across that Democratic Socialists like AOC & Bernie are not talking about Soviet style Communism, but rather, about a regulated marketplace economy like the ones most European countries have, with the government acting on behalf of the citizenry to control capitalist excesses & insure a fair distribution of economic resources so as to create secure, livable lives for all members of society.  Many millennials seem to get this distinction but a lot of less youthful people still react to the notion of socialism as if it were poison, something Trump & Fox News are already using to scare their low information followers with.       
 
[Intro: We look at staggering inequality and the state of the U.S. economy with Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who served as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton. Joseph Stiglitz is a professor at Columbia University and chief economist for the Roosevelt Institute. His latest book, out this week, is “People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent.]
 
 
 

Progressive Caucus of NM Democratic Party Needs YOU

At this critical juncture, so much depends on which direction the Democratic Party takes.  We PDAers are doing our level best to bring about needed change and we saw some beautiful results of that activism in the 2018 midterms.  If you haven’t already done so, you’re now invited to amplify your PDA efforts by joining the Adelante Progressive Caucus of the Democratic Party of New Mexico.

Adelante provides an umbrella under which progressives of all stripes can work together towards restoring the Democratic Party to its rightful mission as a champion of the people as vs. a party that kowtows to corporate power and compromises the farm away in the name of pragmatism, counting on the fact that the other party is so much worse, people will have no choice but to vote Democratic–a cynical and witless calculation that backfired bigtime in 2016.

As progressives our most urgent challenge is to midwife a historic transformation of our party from the grassroots up.  If we are to save our democracy from the forces that threaten to turn it into an empty charade, this must be accomplished in the near future.  In committing to the NM progressive family that comes together under Adelante, you will strengthen our collective voice within the party and help our people get a seat at the table where choices are made and power is exercised.

In New Mexico we also have the chance to make our state party a shining example to other states across the country where the same struggle is going on in anticipation of the fateful 2020 elections.

Please consider climbing aboard the good ship Adelante NOW:
https://adelantecaucus.org/invitation-to-join/.

Together we rise, and together we will make this a better country to live in.

With all hands on deck, we will turn this thing around.

–Jerilyn Bowen

Calling All Progressives:  Let’s Talk Turkey

By Jerilyn Bowen (Originally publishd on the Adelande Pregessive Caucus web blog)

I don’t need to tell you that the future of our country hangs in the balance.  What we do as progressives in the Democratic Party could make all the difference about which way it goes, not only for America but also for the planet.  We are challenged to bring the party back to its seminal role as a local, state, and national force that is willing to fight the good fight that must be fought to create a just and livable society.

A crucial part of that challenge is finding a way to convey our progressive message to the wide sweep of voters out there who are looking for something to believe in amid all the misleading and manipulative messaging that pollutes the public square.  This means expressing our core values in down home, deeply felt words.   We need to shape a narrative that cuts through the political noise to what resonates with the lived experience of our American family.   We must meld what reason tells us into what our hearts know in such a way as to speak directly to our compatriots.

In other words, it’s up to us to win the trust of those who will decide which way upcoming elections go, and to do that in good faith.

In a recent PBS show, documentarian Ken Burns observed that “the best arguments in the world won’t change a single mind.  The only thing that can do that is a good story.”  He went on to add, “In really difficult times when the tapestry has frayed, it’s important to remember that we share some common stories.”

If he’s right–and I feel he is–what is the authentic, all-embracing story we want to tell ?

My own part of the story is rooted in the history of my people, a history that includes my paternal grandparents being wiped out by the Dust Bowl, barely surviving the Great Depression, moving to New Mexico to prospect for gold in the Ortiz Mountains (where they found none to speak of), building houses to sell in Albuquerque and making modest real estate investments by virtue of which they were able to attain middle class prosperity in late middle age.  Long before that happy outcome my father was the first in his family to go to college.  As he worked his way through UNM to become of all things a physicist, he owned only one pair of shabby shoes to wear everywhere, even to church–high top black and white basketball sneakers.  He could I suppose be held up as a poster child of the American dream come true.  However, given the hidden legacy of his and other family sagas, I can’t help but have a strong sense of what it’s like to be down under in a culture that above all else values people in terms of financial status

Growing up, even though they never talked about it, I felt that my family carried the weight of the shame they’d experienced during the Depression and for a long time afterwards.  Perhaps the hardest thing to bear about being a “loser” in America is feeling  shamed by one’s failure to manifest a better destiny.  As the 1% continue to rig the system at the expense of everyone else, more and more of us fall into desperate straits and see ourselves as losers.  So I feel that our progressive narrative needs to unshame the shamed and empower all of us to reclaim our birthright as human beings.  It needs to put forth a new American dream that is less about individual success in an all pervasive competition that pits us against one another and more about living in supportive community, sharing resources, and honoring the worth and dignity of every person.  Along with that, it needs to identify the source of what ails us, as Bernie so ably did by talking about how our economic system works against the 99% to further enrich the billionaire class who control the levers of power.

To make our story work in the media world, it needs also to be condensable into a few galvanizing words that encapsulate its essence and invoke its scope.  This usually goes by the unfortunate name “branding,” which implies using commercial advertising techniques to sell a product.  We are called to do better than that.  We are called to put on our poet hats and come up with pithy, powerful slogans that are grounded in human truth and a passion for justice.  I think of well worn lines like “people before profits” and “we shall overcome.”  Off the top of my head, this comes to me:  “Awake and aware, together we take back our world.”   But that has too many words in it.  Perhaps “Make America Ours Again” would do better ~ ?

Can you think of a succinct motivating line that befits this critical juncture?

In closing, I invite you to share your thoughts about what our common story is and how we can most effectively convey it.  To join the conversation, take this link to the Adelante blog.