The 4th of July is upon us at this writing, and I’ve been reflecting on who I am as a citizen of this nation. Who are we?
The above photograph is one that dominated my childhood and the study of the Great Depression. This was a picture taken in the California labor camps of the 1930’s as a result of the great dust bowl migration. We are now in a global great migration and I have wondered if we as a nation would have more compassion if the people coming looked like her? How do we go from these pictures over 80 years ago to the same pictures today? And how can we not have compassion and act with courage?
I am better than this. We are better than this. It’s time for the moral people in this country to stand up and demand better of those held in terrible conditions on our watch, and on our land. We are the people and because we are a democracy, our government is us. The time to act is now. #neveragain
I finally have time to fire up the blog again. Thank you for still reading and subscribing. Today’s post is about diplomacy. No, I am not going to talk about the news, but I am going to talk about a great documentary I watched last month that I think can give us a path forward for today.
Oscar Arias, without a Shot Fired
Do you ever wonder why Costa Rica is peaceful and prosperous? It is because in 1948, they eliminated their military and decided that the best way to protect their citizens was through a good standard of living at home, and diplomacy abroad. And it worked. The movie is fascinating and can be watched for free through your local library on Kanopy.
Peace Jam films makes movies about Nobel Peace Prize winners. I have watched several and was really moved by this one. In fact, the United Nations has located their University of Peace in Costa Rica. You can even take distance learning courses.
The art of diplomacy is taught at home in most households and should be our very first line of defense abroad. While we may not all have the same ideology or point of view, the road to peace is peace.
Have a great day. Although I can’t always write the blog, I am always active each day. I hope this finds you well,
It is one month since I blogged and all kinds of crazy things have happened that might get anyone down. But, not me. I went to a great party put on by Commit to Flip Blue and got to meet Dolores Huerta, one of my heroines. It is not often you get to meet your heroine, and that felt inspirational.
For those of you who don’t know anything about Dolores Huerta, I highly recommend the documentary, Dolores, that came out two years ago. And, here is an article and interview with her in Modern Farmer: Dolores Huerta finally gets her due.
Monthly Action: what I’ve done this month besides attending the party is starting to plan out my strategy and issues list for 2019 and 2020. We have important issues to focus on and candidates to get elected who can enact important legislation in 2019 and 2020. While so much drama is going on, I prefer to hunker down and plan. My goal is to never feel negative and never get distracted. I am in this for the long term, and when I’m 88, I hope I’ll be at someone’s party and reminding them Si Se Puede.
I’ve been watching the news and reflecting on the partial Federal Government shutdown just like all of you. And, I’ve also been reflecting on the Constitution of the United States. The Congress (House and Senate together), the Supreme Court, and the Executive Branch are all co-equal branches of government. What this means is that Congress can over-ride a Presidential veto. It also means that the Congress can pass a bill and change the outcome of a Supreme Court decision. Congress has a lot of power, and that is why representation matters to uphold our values. But power comes with a responsibility – it needs to be used to put a check on policies that do not uphold our values, or to create a compromise between polarizing views.
The Congress has over-ridden Presidential vetoes to pass a bill that reflects a bi-partisan approach to Government. It is time to restore that check in the “check and balance.” The Senators have the votes to pass the compromise bill that is put forward by the House. It is a good bill and was put forward by last year’s House. And, it can pass and withstand a Presidential veto.
So, when watching the workings of the US Capitol, remember that we are all Americans and we do have the ability to compromise and pass legislation that will make a difference in all of our lives.
To see the effect of the shutdown on real Americans in all 50 States, please check out this info-graphic here from the New York Times.
Your Action: please call your Senators and ask them to pass the bill, and then pass it again to over-ride the Presidential veto.
My “why” of organizing starts with health care access and then extends to all kinds of other issues. In 2018, the United States just got healthier due to passing Medicaid Expansions in Idaho, Utah, Nebraska, Maine and Virginia. According to healthinsurance.organother 850,000 people in these states will be covered in 2019 due to the expansion. We are slowly and surely closing some of the affordability gap by increasing health care access.
But make no mistake. Access wasn’t granted without voting for a ballot measure in these states. In Maine, the last Governor blocked the ballot measure, but the new Governor will unblock the measure and expand access in 2019. Who our elected officials are matters.
My own health care journey starts at the shock I experienced after college by not being able to purchase quality health care due to a pre-existing condition. I did what a lot of uninsured people do, I rationed health care, used Planned Parenthood for all my primary health care, and used a free clinic when I needed urgent care. I also relied on lots of home remedies. I was lucky that I was young and healthy.
California expanded healthcare to small businesses in the early 1990’s and once I was able to join a comprehensive affordable plan, I stuck to it. All my work-related decisions from then on has had health care coverage as a large consideration. Could I afford coverage? What if I lost coverage? Would I ever get it back?
I truly believe that affordable health care access is a right and not a privilege. And with a new Congress, further repeals of the Affordable Care Act will be much harder. Again, who our elected officials are matters.
If you would like to get involved, please join a health access organization near you and regularly communicate with your Congressperson what health care means to you. Share your health care story with your elected officials and others. Please check out Health Care Voter to find an organization near you.
During this time of the year that we are in holiday season and the year is wrapping to a close, it is time to look back, express gratitude, and look forward to new beginnings. This past year, we worked hard to elect candidates that would treat immigrants humanely as well as enact a fair foreign policy abroad among many other issues.
When I was in college, I majored in religious studies and spent time in Central America. Last year, I watched the documentary Living on One and started to sponsor a student through Mayan Families receive her education. That is my way of practicing my values beyond my own world. And, I am thinking of my long ago travels right now, as the crisis of the border rages on.
If you’d like to make a meaningful difference, please support the work of the American Friends Service Committee and find out what you can do to affect change at the border.
We are all connected — the Global North is connected to the Global South. Let’s create a just world and encourage our elected officials to do the same.
We are at the end of the 2018 Mid-Term elections. This year it was important to elect House of Representative candidates that would stand up for our values and we did it. We flipped a net 40 seats.
Going into this election, I kept track of 166 races – both seats to defend (34) and seats to flip (132) on this House of Representatives spreadsheet that is also listed in the side-bar of this blog.
All the states in dark blue on the map show where we made a net gain in the House. The states in light blue are where we successfully defended all seats. Minnesota was interesting because we defended, flipped 2 seats, and lost 2 seats that flipped back the other way. This is why the state is in purple on the map. And, the states in white didn’t have seats to defend (close races) and where we weren’t successful in flipping.
We flipped in every region of the country, so we need to continue to have a strategy for all 50 states going into 2020. And the seats that we flipped had strong coalitions backing them except for a very few. So, it is important to keep building coalitions of like-minded partners that share our values.
On my next blog posts, I will keep track of our issues which is why we elected new people in the first place. It is time for our elected officials to stand up and vote for our values. More to come.
Thank you for all that you do to stand up for your values each day,
As we are digesting the 2018 elections, I thought it would be helpful to say a word or two about podcasts. Late last summer, I started actively “tuning into” Pod Save the People on Crooked Media. Pod Save the People is with Deray McKesson, Sam Singyawe, Brittany Packnett, and Clint Smith III. What I love about this pod is that it is informative as well as thought provoking and in a positive way. I listen to it every Tuesday at the end of my day, and it is so soothing that sometimes I fall asleep. But what is great about this pod is that if you do fall asleep you can wake up and read the nicely laid out transcript right below. You can “read” the pod. Nothing beats that.
There are other podcasts that I am starting to listen to as well.
ACLU At Liberty: this is a bi-weekly podcast that talks about issues of the day in the world of civil liberties.
Democracy in Color: this is a monthly podcast that is produced by Steve Phillips’ organization. Persons of color and white liberal voters can win in the South if we mobilize. We are the new majority.
Voices of Anti-Semitism: United States Holocaust Museum – this is an amazing series of 162 podcasts. It was monthly, and the series has ended, but I listened to all 162 and they were amazing. I learned so much about keeping our world safe for everyone and what can happen when we don’t.
I encourage you to check out podcasts that are meaningful to you. They help keep me hopeful and on-track in my daily activism.
Thank you to everyone who participated in voting and voting your values in 2018. There is now a check on an administration that does not share my values. I also look forward to doing the work it will take to put in clear policies that will help EVERYONE and not just a select few in our country. Exciting times are ahead!
The Last 80 Days:
The last 80 days of the 2018 election season were busy. I found I couldn’t really blog and be active at the level required in those last few months. The above photo is me and my computer at a home phone bank. I personally paced myself and every week I was active with one, two or three intensive activities. But it paid off. Even if I hadn’t helped elect candidates that would put sound policies in place, I knew I had done my part as a citizen of this country.
So, I am kicking off the blog again and focusing on policies that if enacted would support EVERYONE and build strong and healthy communities. And, then, when it gets to crunch time and we start electing candidates, I can share strategies that worked in 2018, and new strategies that will help win more in 2019 and 2020. We will also hold our elected officials accountable for creating a world that works for EVERYONE. Thank you for coming along on this ride with me.
Another US Senate Race Run-off Election in November:
Have a great Sunday, and we still have a Senate seat in Mississippi to focus on. People are out canvassing, calling, and texting for Mike Espy running for the US Senate in Mississippi. Go Mike!
Georgia is a very exciting state right now because Stacey Abrams is running for Governor! Let’s elect her! Please check out her campaign and sign up to volunteer. Putting someone in the Governor’s Mansion who not only shares my values but also breaks long standing cycles of racial and gender disparity in elected office is a great thing! Go Stacey!
US Congressional Races – Georgia
We have an opportunity to help turn the state by electing Stacey Abrams to the Governor’s Mansion as well as flipping at least 2 seats blue with 2 long shot races to watch. But in a dynamic year, the Governor’s race might pull all boats to shore.
Also, Lucy McBath is running in Congressional District 6 which is the seat we tried to flip last year with Jon Ossoff (remember the race we spent $23 million on?). It didn’t flip, but we knocked it considerably closer to team blue. Let’s help Lucy flip this seat for good.