Category Archives: Opinion

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:

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.

Hopes for the Future

By Judy Deutsch

At this troubled time it is easier to dream than it is to hope.

And my dream, as I’m sure is yours, is world peace with sufficient food, housing, Medical care, education and clothing for all the people on this earth, with sufficient care of the environment so that people and other animals can continue to live, and with fairness and dignity accorded to all people.

But I know that not all of that is going to happen in my lifetime, if ever. Actually, it sounds more like a fairy tale than an eventual possibility given the events of the last two years, especially the events of the last few weeks.

And so, what can I hope for?

Much of my hope depends upon the present and incoming Democratic members of our United States House of Representatives, and yet, that hope is diminished because much of the good that they may do will be overridden by the Senate and by President Trump, and by our United States Supreme Court and the many other federal courts whose justices President Trump has appointed.

Do I hope that our Representatives’ investigations will somehow lead to Trump’s impeachment and/or imprisonment? ?

Not really, even though I think that Trump deserves much worse, because I’m more afraid of what Pence would accomplish than what Trump will do. Actually, I’m beginning to wish that both men would just disappear from the earth.

But I do hope that enough Republican and Democratic members of the house will be able to work together with members of the Senate to make our immigration and criminalization policies and practices more humane and just, and to ensure that all United States residents will have quality health care at an affordable price.

Continue reading Hopes for the Future

Single Payer Universal Health Care: Building a Pathway to Victory

Sandy Eaton, RN, Dialogue & Initiative, August 2018

This year is pivotal for shifting the balance of forces in the United States away from the proponents of austerity, racism, war and fascism. People are coming together not only to resist Trump and the Republicans but to fight for economic and social survival. Health care in the US is a raging cauldron of struggle to win justice as millions campaign for access, affordability, quality and equality. Single-payer financing is increasingly recognized as essential for a just healthcare system.

The drive toward “Building a Pathway to Victory” has begun and was the focus of this year’s national single-payer strategy conference. The Minnesota Nurses Association hosted this historic meeting in Minneapolis June 22-24. Initially funded by National Nurses United, this campaign seeks to make healthcare justice, including the enactment of expanded and improved Medicare for all, an essential ingredient in the 2018 and 2020 elections. Support for improved Medicare for all has already shown itself to be a winner in Democratic Party primaries across the country, North and South. Organizers have been hired to work in key presidential primary states. Regional meetings to launch this campaign have so far drawn hundreds more activists into the fray.


Citizens United Must be Overturned


Editorial Opinion By Judith Deutsch (PDA Member)

If you disagree with the law of our nation which maintains that corporations have the same First Amendment Rights as people and that money is the same as speech, and that corporations, although they can’t give unlimited amounts of money to candidates, can spend unlimited amounts on political ads, please ask Senators Udall and Heinrich and your Congressional Representative to support HJ Resolution 48 (which you can find at the end of this column).

These Supreme Court of the United States decisions have determined the above:
The 1866 County of Santa Clara vs. Southern Pacific Railroad case which has been cited as settling that corporations are persons within the provisions of the fourteenth amendment; the 1976 Buckley vs. Valeo case which equated money with speech since every form of communicating costs money; the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC case which states that limiting a corporation’s ability to spend money is unconstitutional because it limits the ability of its members associate effectively and to speak on political issues.

Furthermore, the Federal Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit 2010SpeechNow.Org v.FEC case resulted in individuals  and PACs being allowed to give unlimited amounts for the purpose of making independent expenditures, thereby creating super-PACS.

Thus millions are spent by corporations and individuals to influence our elections. (Jonathan Easley, a National Political Reporter for The Hill, has reported that the Koch Brothers network plans to spend $400 million on the 2018 elections.)

Continue reading Citizens United Must be Overturned