A catalytic gathering of some of Santa Fe’s well-known authors, community leaders and musicians
On Sunday afternoon, Nov. 14, five days after an election that had over 60 million around the country shaking their heads in disbelief, an audience of 250 gathered at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe to participate in Higher Ground. The hastily organized event brought together some of Santa Fe’s well-known authors, musicians and community leaders who volunteered their insights, perspectives and suggestions to a live audience and thousands more around the world via video streaming.
“Inspiring…Positive…Very much needed…and Healing” were some of the comments participants used to describe the event. Speakers included: Gregg Braden, 2016 Templeton Award nominee and best-selling author who bridges science and spirituality; Joan Borysenko, distinguished pioneer in integrative medicine and expert in mind-body-spirit connection; Wayne Muller, executive leadership mentor, therapist and best-selling author, and Alan Webber, former candidate for governor, co-founder of One New Mexico and a leading champion of constructive change in New Mexico. Consuelo Luz and Martha Reich provided inspiring, original music, and there was also a live-stream appearance by Mingtong Gu, the Santa Fe-based Chi Gung master who was in Israel to lead a healing retreat.
Other speakers who shared the stage were AgeNation cofounders and co-authors George and Sedena Cappannelli, Gordon Dveirin; nationally recognized author and organizational development specialist; Nathan Crane, author and executive producer of Unify Fest; Heidi Sparkes Guber, a nationally recognized innovator in in emergent learning; and Dr. Erica Elliott, known as the “health detective” for successfully treating problems that do not respond to pharmaceutical drugs and other conventional treatments.
Participants also spent time in small groups sharing their concerns and identifying ways they can turn their confusion, disappointment and frustration into positive actions. One of the highlights of the afternoon was a collaborative reading by all of the speakers of the Constitution of The United States.
Co-producers George and Sedena Cappannelli and John Meade are planning other events designed to encourage constructive and innovative civic engagement. A video of Higher Ground will be posted on YouTube. For more information, email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Constructive Things to Do
Ways To Create A More Positive Future;
Suggestions from individuals who participated in Higher Ground
Face the shadow aspects from unhealed wounds of our country.
Stand up for what we believe.
Teach our children to be lovers, not haters.
Think globally, act locally.
Get more directly involved in New Mexico politics.
Embrace people whose ideas you don’t understand and agree with.
Volunteer for good causes more often.
Learn what your rights are and show more support for what you believe in.
Focus more on what you want to happen.
Find the issues—your issues—and plug in.
Work constructively to break Big Money’s hold on Democracy.
Do what is possible to get rid of the Electoral Collage.
Stand with people in the Dream Program.
Communicate with the new president and tell him what we want to make the USA better.
Learn more about the conditions that cause the pain for Trump voters.
Work locally to find positive candidates for city and county positions.
Focus more on what we have in common.
Do more to empower women and eliminate misogyny.
Transform disappointment into constructive revolution.
Build the kind of community here that can be a model for people elsewhere.
Speak your truth and listen with your heart to others.
Be willing to be uncomfortable with what you don’t know.
Speak up, step forward, share and contribute.
Listen deeply and speak authentically with patience.
Get out there, take action and make what you want real.
Responses and Reflections Post-Election 2016
OP-ED: Seeking Higher Ground
Sedena C. Cappannelli
In search of post-election balance and grounding, AgeNation and Empower New Mexico hosted a catalytic gathering we called Higher Ground with a number of well-known authors and musicians who live here: Gregg Braden, Joan Borysenko, Wayne Muller, Heidi Sparkes Guber, Gordon Dveirin, Dr. Erica Elliott, Nathan Crane, Martha Reich, Consuelo Luz and others, including Mingtong Gu, a Chi Gung master. We all shared some wisdom, inspiration, and most importantly, support for the 250 Santa Feans who participated, along with a live-streamed audience of 150,000.
When my husband, George came up with the idea to create this community gathering we began first thing the next morning making calls. Everyone pulled out the stops and made sure they would be there to help make it happen. With the help of John Meade, Tess Yong, Zack Hudson and others, the event magically came together three days later at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe.
This was an essential gathering since we were all weary from months of negativity and the hypnotic focus on confusion, divisiveness and fear. Some of those feelings have escalated with increasingly sullen media updates since that gathering.
I know I’ve been reactionary over these past months, triggered by distrust that common decency was not being regarded, and in fear of the possibility that our basic human rights and privileges as citizens are potentially in danger of being taken away. The day after the election I experienced so much untapped emotion it seemed that lifetimes of negativity was washing over my disbelief and shock. This and a deep sadness and grief, more than I could imagine. Knowing all too well that I was not alone, I knew we had to do something.
I kept thinking of what Einstein said about not being able to change things on the same level they were created, and needing to solve our problems on a different level, and from a higher perspective. The words “Higher Ground” kept coming to me, to raise my consciousness into the light, to breathe clean air again and come to a higher perspective for myself and others. Time to “stay high,” as Michelle Obama said. So the words, Higher Ground stuck and were adopted for our gathering.
For the closing of the Higher Ground event our speakers sat in a half circle, and each read lines from the Declaration of Independence while Gregg Braden played a native flute in the background, which added to the illumined emotions throughout the packed theatre as we all heard those profound words declared out loud. One of the stanzas I read was, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
One of the other presenters read, “…that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.” The entire place was in silent gasp at these last lines, and collectively we could feel the power through which we had come together, and we all knew we must continue our solidarity and the potency of our unity.
For me, this means standing tall, dropping doubts and insufficiencies, and the toxic negativity we’ve been exposed to, and coming to higher ground, remaining in our hearts and remembering our dignity as we discover together the next right actions that need to be taken to honor our truths and privileges as citizens and to demand the protection of our rights and freedoms of our civil servants, of all politicians, including the president-elect, who swears to protect our Constitution. No person should be given the power to take away those American-born freedoms.
The low ground has been about racism, sexism, disenfranchised Americans, hatred, a threated environment, persecution and much more. It’s time now to come into a clear focus about what we can do, individually and collectively, to peacefully and with the power we retain as Americans, take our responsibility, show up for our values and not give into reactionary negativity.
It dawned on me that we are experiencing the manifestation of what we’ve focused on to the exclusion of anything else, and we all know that what we focus on is what we get. It is imperative now that we focus on what we want and who we truly are. It’s time to have an open-eyed, openhearted awareness and know we are in this together. We always have a choice. As Mark Nepo says, beneath all the distrust is the stream of ongoing oneness.
Some of us are in the midst of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, sadness and then finally, sweet acceptance. Acceptance comes in time when we are ready. Acceptance is one of the three A’s of Transformation. True transformation comes from the actualization of all three: Awareness, Acceptance and then Action. Nothing can change without the awareness that it exists. Awareness is the catalyst for change, the genesis for action. Acceptance is the next stage and is necessary in order to move into responsible action. It is a release from denial, so we can embrace and forgive the less-than-perfect aspects of who we are and bless and encourage ourselves and each other with life-affirming thoughts and words, and then with that understanding, move into action with a heart-centered resolve.
As the beloved Leonard Cohen said, “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” There are no accidents, and I believe there is a purpose for everything. Maybe this is occurring to wake us all up, to bring us into our hearts and into greater connection with our values; to finally address and heal the long-oppressed prejudice and crimes against humanity that we’ve all been witness to in our country. Time to honor and accept our rightful place as citizens in an incredible democracy that we can stand tall for, to shine our light and our gifts and unfold our purpose to the world as we lift each other up.
Sometimes it’s at the point of greatest questioning when we need to move forward with hope and strength. Eleanor Roosevelt said, ”Don’t curse the darkness; light a candle.” Let’s carry our spirits like candles now in the darkness. We need each other’s light.
This gathering proved that we are not alone; we can enliven our Oneness…our togetherness in this human experience! We came together to replace fear and disillusionment with healing and community support and connection and to further our next steps towards community engagement. Teilhard de Chardin said, “We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” We can take this unsettling human experience and remember who we are. We can focus on our truth. It’s our choice. Please join us for the next Higher Ground event. We’ll keep you posted.
Sedena C. Cappannelli, with her husband George, cofounded AgeNation, a digital-media company, and they have co-authored many books. The Cappannellis have also led seminars, workshops and retreats.
Responses and Reflections Post-Election 2016
OP-ED: Post-Election 2016
Upon hearing the news of Trump’s election, the shock drove me inward to a place without words. I have been walking in the mountains and along the river behind my house to find solace and a bigger perspective.
I remember feeling a similar sense of shock and despair in the 10th grade when I heard the announcement over the loudspeaker in math class that JFK had been assassinated. I wondered how our country would manage without him. JFK inspired us to be our best selves.
Now we have each other—our friends and our community—to inspire us to be our best selves, with fierce courage and renewed commitment to counter these dark times.
We are already seeing many uplifting examples of peaceful resistance to the words of hatred, racism and environmental destruction espoused by the president-elect.
As of this writing, Santa Fe’s mayor, Javier Gonzales, joined several mayors throughout the U.S.—from New York to Chicago to Los Angeles and Seattle—pledging that their cities will remain sanctuaries for people without documentation, in spite of the threat of being deprived of federal funding. In January, Santa Fe will be welcoming several Syrian refugee families. Donations earmarked for these families have filled the drop-off place to capacity. My co-housing community, The Commons, has begun a discussion about possibly “adopting” one of the families.
And then there is the inspiring example of nonviolent resistance by indigenous people and their allies against environmental destruction by the Dakota Access Pipeline in the ancestral land of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Many of us have been ignited by their brave stand for environmental justice and want to offer as much support as we can.
Each day, in service to my patients, I find meaning from being able to offer kindness, empathy and compassion to those that are suffering. In fact, I compare the fate of many of the patients I see with the fate of our nation during these times. Patients from near and far come to me when their lives have fallen apart due to a serious health condition or a life-threatening accident—after it appears who no one can help them. They come stripped of all that they hold dear—their health, their body image, their possessions—even their homes—and all too often, their friends.
It is precisely at this time of loss and suffering—with their lives in shambles—that they have the opportunity to leave old, unhealthy emotional and behavioral patterns behind and create new lives in alignment with their own truths and values a new life that can lead to peace and indestructible happiness.
It’s like a fire has swept through us. It is time to pick up and start again from scratch. The outcome of the Trump election has revealed the full extent of the hatred and racism that had always been there but has now come out into the open so that we can see this side of America more clearly and know what we’re dealing with.
It’s time to take a stand and leave complacency behind. As with some of my patients who limped through life, just getting by—without motivation to make major changes to their lifestyle—it often takes a catastrophe to motivate people to make the changes necessary to radically improve themselves and their country.
There is room for optimism. A strong and honest progressive movement is starting to get off the ground. And if the Democratic National Committee can be rebuilt from the ground up, then we have a chance to change the current trajectory.
Now more than ever is a call to stand up and tell your truth and act on what you know is right…care of our environment, kindness and compassion, inclusivity, transparency and justice for all.
A friend recently reminded me of something Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Do not curse the darkness. Instead, light a candle.”
I’m deeply grateful for my friends and community in Santa Fe. Together we can make a difference.
Dr. Erica Elliott is board certified in Family Practice and Environmental Medicine. Dr. Elliott has often been nicknamed “the medical detective.” She has given weeklong workshops, has been a public speaker and is co-author of Prescriptions for a Healthy House. She blogs regularly at www.musingsmemoirandmedicine.com Her website is www.ericaelliottmd.com
Responses and Reflections Post-Election 2016
OP-ED: It’s Not the End of the World
Resilience in Changing Times
Like the majority of Americans, with the exception of our Native peoples, I am a descendant of immigrants. My grandparents came to America in the late 1890s to escape pogroms in Eastern Europe. I was born in 1945, at the end of WW2. I recall Uncle George—a naval officer in his dress whites—telling war stories. Uncle Patsy, not so fortunate, died from the lingering effects of mustard gas. Worse still, one of his uncles (my great uncle) and his extended family of 12 never made it out of Poland to begin with. They all died in Auschwitz.
I understand discrimination, fear, hate and demagoguery. I also get that when people face economic uncertainty and loss of identity, fear and anger begin to cloud better judgment. Hopelessness makes inroads into the heart, and scapegoating has the opportunity to raise its ugly head. Someone must be to blame for the erosion of Middle America.
Yes, I understand the anger, and like most voters on either side I agree that we need real change in this country to make it work for us all. But in the meantime, whether you are Native American, Hispanic, an undocumented Mexican, a Jew, a Muslim, or a so-called “white liberal elitist” you might suddenly find yourself in the crosshairs of a stunningly unexpected turn of political power in the United States.
Many of us are still numb—mind-boggled at the outcome of this presidential election. Others are awash in the anger, fear, hopelessness and confusion that have settled like an emotional miasma over the land. But some people—perhaps you as a reader of the Green Fire Times—feel a bit more clear, mindful and ready to act to help bring about a more noble future.
In this article, I want to address two things: the need for calm in the chaos so that we can act with wisdom, rather than react out of reflex, and how we can cultivate resilience.
Breakdown and Breakthrough
The late Ilya Prigogine, a mathematician and physicist at the University of Texas in Austin, won a Nobel Prize in 1976 for his Theory of Dissipative Structures. Whether we are talking about an atom or a solar system, disruption leads to recreation. The energy released when an old system crumbles, frees the energy to reconfigure at a potentially higher level of function.
The old political system has indeed broken down, and a new system has yet to emerge. Whether the energy freed up from breakdown reconstitutes at a higher level or goes retrograde is up to all of us, regardless of politics, race, ethnic origin, or religion. The journey from breakdown to breakthrough is a rite of passage comprising three parts:
1. Separation: the ground beneath us gives way and uncertainty prevails.
2. Liminality: the time between no longer and not yet. The old system is defunct but a new one has not yet emerged. This passage is rife with both danger and opportunity. It is a time for grief, reflection, soul-searching, finding allies and mentors, and working together.
3. Return: when the crisis passes, there is a return to a new level of equilibrium.
If we are to be part of the solution, it’s important to understand how to navigate liminal time with resilience and grace.
The Art of Resilience
Resilience is a courageous affirmation of life in the face of serious, life-disrupting stressors. It is more than bouncing back to how and what we were; it is a deep transformation into an evolutionary iteration of who we are becoming.
In the wake of the global financial meltdown in 2008, I wrote a book about resilience entitled It’s not the End of the World: Developing Resilience in Times of Change. What I learned both from the research and from years of working with people in crisis is that resilience is a group activity. We all need others to hold the light for us when our own grows dim. We also need to marinate in different ideas and perspectives, held in a container of cooperation and good intention. That said; resilient people have common characteristics. Here are three salient ones:
1 A resolute acceptance of reality
Resilient people face difficult situations head on. It may be tempting to stick one’s head in the sand, but that doesn’t help. Rationalization (lots of people are in the same boat), denial (things aren’t so bad) and wishful thinking (I’ll just visualize a positive future), are called regressive coping strategies. They keep us stuck. Resilience requires a clear, realistic picture of what may actually happen, and a tenable plan to navigate that scenario. Facing reality can be emotionally trying in the short run, but lifesaving later on. As diverse communities within the larger community of Santa Fe, we all need to meet and plan for the future.
2 A deep belief that life is meaningful
Two weeks after 9/11 I facilitated a retreat just outside New York City. It was an intensely emotional time for the whole country, but especially for two young Manhattan roommates who were attending the retreat together. Their balcony faced the World Trade Center, and they witnessed the twin towers falling firsthand. They turned to the work of Viktor Frankl, a resilient Austrian psychiatrist who survived four Nazi death camps and then wrote the classic book, Man’s Search for Meaning. In spite of the unthinkable trauma and hardship he suffered during the Holocaust, Frankl became a happy man and an inspiration to millions of people worldwide. The key to resilience, he believed, was to find life-affirming meaning in traumatic experience.
Determined to make positive use of the lessons he was learning, Frankl set his sight on giving seminars on resilience to people after the war. How would your life be different if this was the attitude with which you approached even the worst imaginable circumstances?
3 Radical Creativity
Resilient people are masters of innovation. Their fertile imaginations are expansive, and they attend to details that others might miss or consider irrelevant, using everything at their disposal to create the best outcome possible. To improvise is to create something new that arises organically out of available resources. This requires mindfulness, an open-minded perspective that gets narrowed when we’re in the throes of fear and anger.
The simplest way to encourage creativity, while bringing the nervous system to calm instead of chaos, is to practice mindfulness—being present to what is emerging without becoming reactive. This is wise mind. There are plenty of resources both online and right here in Santa Fe that teach mindfulness skills.
In conclusion, here we are together in liminal time. When we are centered in mind, heart and community, our brains literally become more agile and adaptive. Rather than triggering the fight, flight or freeze response in the brain’s amygdala (emotional survival center), staying present brings an evolutionarily more recent part of the brain online, the prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain witnesses without becoming attached and reactive. It is goal- directed, clear and capable of mediating the constant internal conversation that goes on inside between emotions, experiences, beliefs, desires and needs for survival. How to fire up your wise prefrontal cortex?
· physical exercise
· meditation: yoga, qi gong, prayer
· mindfulness: both in daily life and as a practice
· slogans: affirmations and short reminders of what is important
· and the power of being together, working with others patiently, consciously, spaciously and relentlessly toward the common good.
Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., is a Harvard trained cell biologist, licensed psychologist, and New York Times bestselling author of 16 books. She lives in Santa Fe. www.JoanBorysenko.com
Responses and Reflections Post-Election 2016
OP-ED: The Power of One…
How To Preserve Our Democracy In Troubled Times
The further away from Election Day we get the more things are coming into focus. We are entering uncharted waters. In January we will enter a time in which the system of Checks and Balances, so essential to preserving our Democracy for over 240 years, will not be in place. Instead, a single political party will control the Executive Branch, both houses of Congress and the Judiciary. By the standards of the framers of our Constitution, this courts disaster, for as Thomas Jefferson said, “Once the people become inattentive to public affairs, you and I and Congress and assemblies, judges and governors shall all become wolves.”
It is also clear that, as a result of these signs, genuine progress in implementing real solutions to our serious challenges and the basic rights in our Democracy may be at risk. So while Donald Trump may be softening the offensive positions he advanced during the campaign in interviews, the individuals he is nominating for key positions demonstrate his true intentions. This validates another caution shared by English philosopher and statesman Frances Bacon, who said, “nothing doth more hurt in a state than that cunning men pass as wise.”
Since I do not claim to be prescient, however, the best I believe any of us can do is to hold the hope that these reactionaries will be guided in the execution of their responsibilities by their better angels. And, of course, also pay close attention to the common sense offered in this aphorism: “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then there is a very high probability that it is a duck.”
So be vigilant, and instead of letting frustration, anger or hopelessness make us question if we will be able to live with even a semblance of honor, dignity and safety in a nation that suddenly no longer feels like home, let’s remember there is a solution. The fact that we cast our vote for another candidate and another way of life does not mean we have to spend the next four years holding our breath or our noses while someone who mistakenly believes he has been anointed King abuses us and the tenets of our Constitution. Instead, let’s practice “The Power of One.”
Good news? There is some. The unhealed wounds of bigotry, prejudice, misogyny and a number of other illegitimate offspring of Fear and Hate are now standing naked for all to see. And this nakedness gives us opportunity to bring understanding, healing and resolution to them.
Any more good news? Yes, there’s a truth many of us forget every day: “No one is going to save us.” So, if any of us are hoping that a political candidate will ride into town and expose the charade that has been perpetrated on us, we should let this illusion go and instead turn toward the indisputable truth poet June Ford articulated: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
And this is the best news of all—it puts us directly on the path to regain our sovereignty, dignity and sanity, stops us from waiting for others to implement solutions for us, and inoculates us against the mumblings of the Demigod. And none of this requires an act of Congress, an executive order signed by the president or even a note from our mother. It’s called, “The Power of One.” Here are five ways to do this:
Vote With Our Money: Money isn’t the root of all evil. Evil arises from what human beings sometimes do in accumulating and spending it. As Confuscius said, “The superior man seeks what is right, the inferior man what is profitable.” So let’s vote with our money as well as our ballots and, wherever possible, cut off the flow of money to those who would do us harm. Yes, let’s take our money back—from the “too big to fail” banks, from those investment houses whose practices are out of alignment with the greater good, and from governments, like the one just elected, that do not support the needs of all of our citizens.
Vote With Our Time and Attention: If we are tired of the sorry state of the media and the undigested opinions and outright lies propagated by those who call themselves journalists and news commentators, let’s turn off our radios, televisions and computers when the news comes on. Stop buying newspapers, reading blogs and the false news websites that distort the truth. Let’s take a media holiday and these pander of illusion will, like beached whales, start gasping for financial breath. Deny them our attention and we’ll deny them advertising revenues.
Vote With Conscious Consumerism: Let’s start asking questions and demanding answers from the companies that make and provide the products and services we buy and use every day. Good values…treat their employees fairly…provide healthcare…stand behind the quality of their products and services…protect the environment and pay their fair share of federal and state taxes? A yes and we buy from or use companies that are committed to the well-being and true health of our world!
Vote With General Strikes: The “Corporatocracy” and others who want to elevate the few over the many have done a deadly job of disparaging the rights of individuals to protest—especially the right of union workers to strike. But those of us who value Democracy can’t let them perpetrate this fraud. Protest is one of our basic rights.
Yes, each of us has the right and the responsibility to say no in a constructive way to anything that violates our Constitutional rights—at work, in our communities, churches, schools, homes and clubs. Our Constitution tells us we do. So let’s exercise our right to strike in a non-violent way. And if enough of us make this decision, even if only a few hours or a day or two at a time, we will signal the kind of standstill that will get the attention of those who focus on the bottom line. For, as David O’Connell said, “Nothing is politically right that is morally wrong.”
Vote With Our Tax Dollars: One of the best tools at our disposal is our tax dollars, for a contract—both explicit and implicit—exists between us and our duly elected representatives, especially our presidents, who swear, “to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. So help me God.”
So, if our government representatives—and I stress the term “representatives” —fail to abide by their oath of office, we should withhold our taxes until such time as they fulfill their dutie, for they work for us! Our taxes pay their salaries, provide them with lifetime retirement benefits, cover their single-payer healthcare costs and give them the means to pay for the legislation they advance. If they insist on pushing their private agendas and imposing their personal religious beliefs on us, let’s deny them the funds they need to operate our government. it’s what Eric Hoffer meant when he said, “No matter how noble the objectives of a government, if it blurs decency and kindness, cheapens human life and breeds ill will and suspicion, it is an evil government.”
“The Power of One” Is quite remarkable, isn’t it? It also happens to be our best and most direct way to take our individual power back and protect the well-being of our Democracy for ourselves and for future generations.
George Cappannelli, co-author of Do Not Go Quietly, A Guide To Living Consciously and Aging Wisely For People Who Weren’t Born Yesterday is co-founder of the digital media and events company AgeNation. He is an expert on societal, organizational and individual change. www.AgeNation.com and www.GeorgeCappannelli.com
Responses and Reflections Post-Election 2016
OP-ED: A Positive Path Between Anger and Disbelief
The night of the election, after all the results were in, I found myself thinking of a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald: “The sign of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
The two “opposed ideas” that many of us in New Mexico are holding—anger and disbelief at what a Trump presidency will bring to the nation; optimism and a renewed sense of hope for what it will mean for New Mexico to have the Democrats back in charge of our House of Representatives and the state Senate.
The next day I began to move from emotion to planning, from ideas to action.
What do we do to combat a Trump presidency? We’re already seeing the kind of people he’s bringing into the White House and appointing to key offices: racists, bigots, men who want to take back women’s rights, men who want to arrest minorities and kick them out of America, men who want to attack minorities and keep them out of America.
Here’s my proposal. Ever since the days of FDR, a president’s first 100 days have been the measure of his achievements. Trump has already put out his agenda for his first 100 days. You can find NPR’s review of it here: http://www.npr.org/2016/11/10/501597652/fact-check-donald-trumps-first-100-days-action-plan
What we need is a First 100 Days Resistance Agenda: a list of the ways in which we can come together to demonstrate against, disrupt, dispute and de-rail Trump’s first 100 days. It means calling on our Democratic Congressional delegation to stand up and stand tall—to pledge to oppose Trump’s agenda. Drawn-out hearings, question his nominees, subject all of his plans and proposals to withering criticism and review. Take a stand.
It means marching and demonstrating, organizing and speaking out. It means boycotting Trump products. Let’s grab him by the wallet. It means backing organizations like the ACLU that will sue Trump and his henchmen the moment they step across the boundaries of our Constitutional rights.
It means writing letters to the editor, sending in op-eds, asking your friends and neighbors, family and colleagues to add their voice. Silence is not an option.
It means using social media. Send tweets, make YouTube videos, use social media to connect and object. It means turning to investigative reporters to dig into the people Trump is appointing—who are these people and what do they actually stand for? And it means revealing the conflicts of interest at the heart of a Trump presidency.
It means coordinated fundraising. Let’s put money into the hands of the organizations that will actively take on Trump and protect our civil liberties, our environment, our rights and our freedom.
It means using symbolic opposition. Wearing a safety pin tells others you’re a safe person to be with. A bumper sticker or wristband says you’re not afraid to speak out.
It means holding Trump accountable. That’s what democracy is all about.
But what about the good news? How can we make the most of the opportunity and optimism of a Democratic Legislature? Here we can also speak up and add our voices.
Governor Martínez has pledged no new taxes—despite the fact that our state budget is in crisis and we need to build, grow and invest in New Mexico, rather than cut. But let’s use her pledge against her: How can we make New Mexico better without raising taxes? One New Mexico is collecting ideas for a full slate of proposals that can make New Mexico Better Without Raising Taxes. We already have 31 pages of ideas from people all over the state—Now’s the time to add your idea, your suggestion, your proposal!
Just go to www.onenewmexico.com and either send an email to Alan@onenewmexico.com or click on the Idea Bank button and add your idea. We’ll put the best ideas into a consolidated agenda and carry it to the Roundhouse for our legislators to consider.
We missed our chance to elect our first woman president. But in her time Abigail Adams was a powerful voice in the White House and in the nation. Here’s what she wrote in 1780: “These are the times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life or the repose of a pacific station that great characters are formed.”
We may not be geniuses—but this election calls on all of us and each of us to be a leader. It’s up to us to decide what we stand for and whom we stand with—and then to go to work.
Alan Webber is founder of One New Mexico and a 2014 candidate for governor of New Mexico.
Responses and Reflections Post-Election 2016
OP-ED: Reflections on 11/9/2016
Heidi Sparkes Guber
I have a relic from the morning after 9/11: the door of a safe deposit box, one of many found blown apart by the force and heat of the attack on the Twin Towers just across the street. It was given to me by a dear friend and colleague who at the time was head of Diversity at Chase in NYC. Along with a few executives, he was brought to the location of their vaults. They were there to examine the aftermath of what had happened to the storehouse of most precious belongings: family wills, money, important legal documents, photographs, secret letters, heirloom jewelry—all placed there because it was thought to be the safest place on Earth.
My friend said they found almost everything virtually vaporized: whatever was paper was ash, if that. Except for precious metals, which could now be seen in the shapes of pools of molten gold. And most striking, the only objects that had held their form were the precious gems, particularly diamonds, which looked as if they had just been power-washed. This was a striking discovery: that there were certain elements that heat and disaster cannot alter among the rubble of more ordinary materials.
When he gave me this relic, it was with an open question: What are the “precious gems” for us? The indestructible elements that survive anything? What is the “gold”? What is the “paper”?
When I woke up on 9 November 2016, like many, I felt shocked, profoundly saddened, disoriented and afraid. It took me a moment to remember why, but there it was. I felt as if my “safe deposit boxes”—my assumptions and certain realities I had taken for granted, all that I trusted to be protected and existing irrevocably—had been blown to smithereens. The truth is that the devastation had begun with growing dread as the campaign unfolded and we watched all the civility and truth get trampled in ways we had never seen. In any case, there was no longer any uncertainty that what I had just the day before held as self-evident and inviolable was no longer.
As a child of the 1960s, I had witnessed several other large national and global crises—the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Algerian Crisis in Paris, the assassinations of John and then Robert Kennedy, MLK, Vietnam and the late ‘60s and ‘70s, AIDS in NYC, the tsunami and Fukishima while working with Japanese companies in Tokyo—and so many more personal ones. If there is one thing I have learned, it is that this sense of devastation and fear, though clearly present, does not come from my core being… and it is not a place to act from.
So, I looked deeper into those feelings on the morning of 11/9 and what I saw was this;
1. That this was the terror, grief and marginalization that many in our country have been experiencing for lifetimes and that, for one particular faction, this was their way of dealing with it in this election. That at least, in a way, now made us one.
2. That the “paper” that was now ash was those assumptions and mental models that I hold dear and in fact take for granted, that I was trusting others to protect and that now need to be suspended, not sacrificed, in order to see what is really right before me. The truth is, I have no idea what will happen in this next four years, or the next year or the next 100 days. The complexity of our times means that what appears to be so is volatile and can flip in a moment. So what is called for instead is real stillness and observation, humility, genuine curiosity and aspiration for a world that works for everyone.
3. And that the “precious metals” and “gems” for me were what experience has taught me is indestructible and unchanging at all times and beyond all circumstances. These are:
· The deep experience that behind and within all that we see and think is real is a far greater reality—a substratum that is constant through all the ways that it appears to be moving and shaping—and that an awareness of this is the doorway to a real understanding of who I am, in this world and beyond it.
· That the substance of this reality is “love”—that at the heart of everything we are is love, however pure or convoluted. Humberto Maturana, the great Chilean biologist, defines love as “the domain in which another arises as a legitimate other in coexistence with oneself.” He says that it is the only condition in which intelligence grows. He also says that we are at a major inflection point in our evolution: We spent most of our time in the 20th century proving that we can create anything we want; Now that we know that we can, we need to decide what we will create.
· And that it’s time to “go local.” When I looked at the luminous network of “gems” in my life, they were from all over the world—they are the people, the best of who we are, and whom I can count on absolutely. The one thing they all have in common is that we have addressed problems and crises together, small and large, and that what was left in the transformation was the inviolable bond of love.
So it’s time to “get local”—to share what is on our hearts and to agree on what we need to conserve most now and in this place, this city and this state. And to make this a place that is worthy of our highest aspirations for ourselves, our fellow citizens and our country.
Clearly, we have already set sail in uncharted waters. And I wish us all well in embarking on this journey together.
Heidi Sparkes Guber is a nationally recognized innovator and consultant to Ford and NASA, and an expert in emergent learning.