Presidential Politics + Food & Farm Justice: Starting with Impeachment….
Posted June 14, 2019
Slightly edited version of a posting made to three major U.S. food-and-farm listservs:
COMFOOD (Tufts Univ.)
Food Policy Networks – FPN (Johns Hopkins Univ.)
Regeneration Midwest (serving 12 states)
“There is a good argument to be made that Donald Trump, New Yorker from birth and urban to his core, did not even know the United States had a secretary of agriculture when he decided to run for president.”
“So it was that, as the president-elect and his transition team “staffed up,” there was a glaring omission. No one was nominated to head the Department of Agriculture, a sprawling agency with a $155 billion budget and a staff of more than a hundred thousand, in the immediate aftermath of the election. November passed and no one was named. December passed….”
I don’t think I have to copy verbatim the next two paragraphs for these food-and-farm listservs. A day before Trump’s inauguration (Jan. 20), Sonny Perdue, “a career politician” (not a farmer or a food expert) was nominated. But then Trump forgot about the nomination and the position, neglecting to send in the official paperwork to the Senate until the first weeks of March.
“’They don’t seem to have a reason as to why his name hasn’t come up,’ griped Senator Grassley….Vox headlined a March 8 assessment of the mess, ‘The weird mystery of the Trump administration’s agriculture secretary vacancy’….”
Nichols rightly concludes: “There was no mystery. Sonny Perdue was an afterthought….”
That’s because agriculture was an afterthought to the Trump administration. As is food, as is justice of any kind.
So now, almost 2.5 years into the Trump administration, is there anyone on these listservs that think this group of rich people are going to do anything positive for food-and-farm justice? Have they done anything positive? Did I miss something?
More to the point of this email, here are three developments and other information on the presidential politics front that may be of interest to folks working on “food, farms, and democracy”:
2. Beginning an IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY: Actions anyone can take
Rep. Green, Al [D-TX-9]*
Rep. Pressley, Ayanna [D-MA-7]
Rep. Omar, Ilhan [D-MN-5]
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandria [D-NY-14]
Rep. Huffman, Jared [D-CA-2]
Rep. Vela, Filemon [D-TX-34]
Rep. Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR-3]
Rep. DeGette, Diana [D-CO-1]
Rep. Lee, Barbara [D-CA-13]
Rep. Thompson, Bennie G. [D-MS-2]
Rep. Napolitano, Grace F. [D-CA-32]
d. QUESTION: Have any food-and-farm groups — e.g., Food Policy Councils — officially called for impeachment? I’d be happy to promote any group’s action.
3. QUESTIONS FOR PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES: Seeking input
I believe she’s still taking suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. PRESIDENTIAL PLATFORMS on food-and-farm
Where the 2020 presidential candidates stand on food-and-farming
6. INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE ANNOUNCES for president: Mark Charles
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