Letter to Editor: To Move Forward, Impeach Trump
Published in Evanston Roundtable
May 30, 2019 print edition, page 8
(slightly edited for readability)
Riofrancos was not talking about impeachment. But she was recommending a magazine excerpt of Astra Taylor’s new book on democracy (Democracy may not Exist. But we’ll miss it when it’s Gone). Impeaching Donald Trump is the step-by-step roadmap to real democracy, the aerobics-and-yoga plan for getting our self-governing muscles moving again, synchronized with each other.
In order to move forward on health care, voting rights, restorative justice, education equity, immigrant rights, housing for all, as well as food, water, and air for the future, we Americans need to take control of the country’s constitutional consciousness. Individually, we need to embody that consciousness and constitutional authority as our birthright. Then, as impeachment proceedings unfold, we need to learn how to work collectively to frame and name the real democracy that we want—but never actually had under the U.S. Constitution (but did actually exist on this land under the Great Law of Peace).
The core technical reasons for an impeachment process are to:
–signal to the world that we are questioning Trump’s authority;
–unite the country’s attention during Congressional hearings;
–methodically unpack facts in real time, not only the Mueller report but all the other reasons for impeachment;
–distract the President and cohorts from further unconstitutional acts and atrocities;
–confirm to each other that We the People are the sovereign authority in the U.S.
The constitutional authority to start the impeachment inquiry rests with the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. As most Roundtable readers know, Evanston resident Jan Schakowsky is our Congresswoman, representing the Ninth Illinois District (which includes other suburbs and parts of Chicago). She is the one who is accountable directly to us—the voters of the Ninth District—as to whether Donald Trump is impeached or not.
To move impeachment forward as quickly as possible, Evanston residents and voters can:
–sign the national petition (10,000,000 and counting);
–call Cong. Schakowsky’s office to ask her to co-sponsor House Resolution 257 (“Inquiring whether the House of Representatives should impeach Donald John Trump, President of the United States of America”);
–request an alderperson to champion a City of Evanston resolution to support impeachment;
–request other elected officials in other jurisdictions (Cook County, MWRD, State of Illinois) to do the same.
Andrea Chalupa, a journalist (Gaslit Nation podcast) says, “Democracy is a lifestyle.” I would add that real democracy is adults experiencing the joy of working together for the benefit of all, according to rules to which we all agree. Even in a time of existential crisis such as now, I can confirm that there is indeed joy in that experience. Let’s impeach, re-examine the rules, and then move forward.
The Impeachment Project
House Resolution 257
Official resolution page: Read text, see co-sponsors, latest actions
“We are the Supermajority”: New U.S. Women’s Organization — Suggestions for Mobilizing Fast
Posted May 18, 2019
Ever since the leadership of the women’s march organizations had some meltdowns (late 2018), I’ve been hoping that some new U.S. organization would arise to fill the vacuum — to build on the women’s marches of 2017, on the elections of 2018, and the on-going women’s conversations on social media. Perhaps Supermajority might be that organization.
Supermajority went live on April 29, 2019 and is now busy building “an army of 2 million women” (Michelle Garcia, New Political Action Group Wants an Army of 2 Million Women).
According to the article, the first major initiative will be a national listening tour (details still to be decided). Meanwhile, women can join the email list, fill out a personal profile, and participate in orientation calls. No specific agenda has been articulated other than to gather as many women together as possible. Based on a personal email exchange with Team Supermajority, they “welcome any and all thoughts and ideas” for the long-term issue agenda, short-term priorities, and current (immediate) action item(s).
In the interest of mobilizing as quickly as possible, here are my ideas, sent to Supermajority leadership team on May 15, 2019 (slightly edited for clarity).
Check out the website:
Supermajority “We are the Supermajority”
Hi, Team Supermajority —
Thanks for your response to my call for substance and for something more to Tweet about in terms of a Supermajority agenda, etc. I did see the article in Out, which gives a little more detail so I was able to Tweet about Supermajority again. A listening tour sounds terrific.
Since I am an action-oriented 68-year old, here’s my suggestions for high-impact engagement of the Supermajority “army” (in no particular order and not mutually exclusive).
1. NATIONAL WOMEN’S POWER ANALYSIS: Be strike ready?
In my opinion, it looks like women are going to have to strike, sooner rather than later, if:
—no impeachment proceedings
—reproductive rights get more and more eroded
—we get pulled into a fake war with Iran by our own president
—some other, unknowable atrocity by this president, GOP, and/or big $$$
—some new natural catastrophe
—2020 elections are a failure (from women’s rights & women’s authority point of view)
—suicide epidemic spreads
—another mass shooting
A good action item would be to invite Jane McAlevey (labor organizer) to do a “power analysis” on behalf of Supermajority. I’d leave it up to her and you to decide what that would look like — a speech, internal strategic planning, a webinar, ??
Just announced, here’s what she’s doing with the Democratic Socialists of America to get more Americans educated about effective organizing: a book discussion series.
My question to her would be
Do you think it’s beneficial for Supermajority to become strike ready?
2. URBAN-SUBURBAN-RURAL COALITION
Commit to articulating Supermajority as a coalition of urban-suburban-rural women. This is already being done through the food-and-farm movement and other areas (health care, broadband, opioid addiction, etc.). What would this look and act like within Supermajority’s mission?
Food-and-farm networks: 80% women. FYI, my own networks are primarily in the food-and-farm world. Nationally, I can reach about 10,000 people, 80% of whom are women.
3. GREEN NEW DEAL
GND covers everything and would be an opportunity to re-design our entire society: governance, justice, economy, health, education, infrastructure, etc. Since this will truly be a recreation of our human world, women need to take the leadership and give direction to men where they should be plugged in. Women should set the agenda.
Plus ask for American Indian leadership?
governance, restorative justice, climate justice, etc.
4. SUPERMAJORITY’S ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE
Since Supermajority is aiming to be a very large organization, some structure would be beneficial so people can find where they fit. Two possibilities:
a. Break up advocacy & organizing into
—local (county, Cong. district, municipal, school board, soil & water district, library board, etc.)
b. Advocacy & legislation can be categorized into three types, so that people with different activist energies can find their preferred mode:
— STOP: activities that have to be stopped, ended, prevented (rape, pollution, GMOs, money creation by private banks, etc.)
— GO: support structures and conditions that women want to put in place, that don’t exist yet (codified women’s authority, housing for all, funded sovereignty, etc.)
— SCALE UP: positive conditions for women’s lives that might exist on a limited level (pilot project, some states, etc.) but need scaling up and reinforcement (automatic voter registration, living wage, Complete Streets transportation, etc.)
5. ANTI-CHOICE & PRO-CHOICE WOMEN: How to bridge the divide?
Sponsor a conversation between pro-choice women and anti-choice women. This would only work if it’s done in good faith. People who use (and insist on using) the term “pro-life” are NOT acting in good faith. But maybe that’s the beginning of the conversation. Likewise strongly pro-choice women would have to be willing to listen to women who say they are opposed to abortions. (Personally, I believe that abortion rights are non-negotiable, but we need to get the men out of the conversation so that women can talk more effectively together.)
6. “WOMEN’S LAND ARMY”
Per your description of needing an army, here’s a serendipitous suggestion. In World War I, there was such a thing as the Women’s Land Army. Basically, it consisted of women (including many urban women) who went to work on farms all over the country. Elaine Weiss, a scholar based in Maryland, wrote a book about it (Fruits of Victory). It might be interesting to ask her to write an article about mobilizing an army of women, perhaps to inspire widespread conversations about mobilizing fast.
The question is:
Mobilizing for what?
7. BOOK CLUB to read U.S. Constitution + Great Law of Peace
Personally, I believe we need Constitutional Conventions in every state to consider some major amendments to the Constitution. A first step would be a book club to self-educate. The Iroquois League’s Great Law of Peace was (and is) a great model for women.
Here’s some details and current resources:
In Case of Constitutional Crisis…Start Here: The Great Law of Peace
I hope something in this list is useful. I would certainly Tweet about any of these actions.