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Threats demand our action

Those of us who identify as progressive see this as a time when speaking up and engaging on public policy is our duty. I am writing to express my deep concern and dismay about the state of the federal government under Donald Trump. Like others, I have marched, donated, and joined Wednesday’s International Women’s Day protests against the administration of Donald Trump.

Each day he adds to my disgust and worry. It is challenging to list everything that concerns me, but there are issues that are paramount, such as:

1. The meddling of the Russians in our election and the evermore apparent collusion with Trump and his minions during and after the campaign, all of which constitute an attack against our sovereignty and an undermining of the pillars of democracy.

2. The Muslim travel ban, which was so obviously overbroad and legally sloppy, and in its latest iteration is still unnecessary to our national security as declared by the intelligence community.

3. Trump’s incessant insults and scorn toward Mexico and Mexicans – and by extension, Mexican-Americans – in proposing an expensive and useless wall with taunts that Mexico will pay, the undoing of trade relations, the threats about mass deportations followed by a juiced-up ICE empowered to stop, detain and deport our neighbors.

4. The weakening of the media, Trump’s continual and pathological lying, the inconsistent messages about policy from him and his sycophantic Cabinet secretaries and advisors.

5. Trump and chief strategist Steve Bannon’s zeal and glee in instigating polarization as they articulate their dystopian vision of a white economic nationalism and the deconstruction of the administrative and regulatory state – what can this mean other than the dismantling of the architecture that protects ethnic, racial, sexual and religious minorities, women, the air, the land, the water, the old, the vulnerable; in short, a loss of the laws and regulations that give us an inchoate claim to being an exceptional nation?

6. The exclusion of women, especially women of color, from the centers of power as shown in so many photos of this administration should be noted; on the other hand, to be excluded from such disastrous policies and hurtful uses of state power may ultimately be a blessing.

7. Finally, we must remember that budgets are moral documents; budgets, including tax expenditures, expose and reveal our lawmakers’ values and commitments. Trump will soon invite the Congress to engage in further redistributions of wealth upward to the already obscenely rich.

Why am I writing? Because these are not normal times and Trump is not a normal office holder, even with a softer tone. It is incumbent upon me as a grand/mother, a lawyer, now semiretired UNM law professor and a citizen to vigorously dissent from the direction Trump would have us move as a polity and as a country. It’s more important now than ever that we communicate with the urgency that these times demand.

I plan to do what I can to disrupt, to counter, to stand against what is the wholesale destruction of our way of life, our constitutional norms, our governing customs and a consensus about our national identity as an inclusive democracy. I hope our Congress will represent me and my family and those I hold dear with bold voices and courageous votes. I thank them for what they have already done to defend New Mexicans against the Trumpian onslaught. On behalf of my grandchildren, I further beseech them to do more, to use all of their congressional power and prerogatives to push back, to investigate, to delay, to say no, to resist and persist.

We should be counted among those who gave their all, who risked everything to save our place in the world. Does this sound apocalyptic? We are approaching a precipice, we are unraveling. We must speak up. We must be present. There is so much at stake.