Rising Up

Rising UpEvents, horrible and extraordinary, keep overtaking my writing of this post. Suffice it to say that we are clearly engaged in the most important political fight of all of our lives.

The good news is that every day Americans are rising up to resist him, many of whom have never been political before. The Women’s March, the demonstrations again the cruel and illegal ban on immigrants aka Muslims, the activation of hundreds to rise up in active defense of strangers they don’t yet know who are trying to legally enter our country, all are evidence of how many are willing and able to effectively fight back.

While we must resist Trump and fight to win the midterm elections in two years, it is equally critical that progressives take back our state legislatures throughout the nation. Why is this so important? State legislatures control redistricting and Republicans have effectively gerrymandered election districts that they can win and that violate both the letter and the spirit of the Voting Rights Act.

And what do we face in New York State? A State Senate controlled by Republicans, a control that is aided and abetted by Democrats. Democrats who are part of the so-called Independent Democrat Caucus (IDC) – whose caucus continues to grow and whose growth is aided and abetted by our Democratic Governor, Andrew Cuomo.

The IDC claims that it is necessary to enact a truly progressive agenda that supposedly a Democratic-led majority could not. Let’s test their argument this session. Let’s ask the IDC and its new members to finally pass the DREAM ACT. To codify legal abortion in state law. To make the vaunted FIFTEEN DOLLAR living wage the standard for BOTH upstate and Downstate.

Let’s make New York State the first Sanctuary State in the country, where immigrants are welcomed, where we fight the unchecked power of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) and demand accountability from Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”).  Where refugees, green card holders, dual citizenship citizens, Muslims from any and all countries stepping out of a plane onto New York State soil are immediately guaranteed their basic civil rights – their human rights – enforced with the full weight of New York legal authority.

We need you now. Because we must stop the all-out assault on our rights, values and Constitution. And we also must create a better, more equal, more just New York.

In the famous words of Tom Paine:

These are the times that try men’s souls … Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

Or in the more contemporary words of Azi Anzari,

Join us at the NYS Democrats Progressive Caucus meeting, to be held on Sunday February 26th in Manhattan. Details as to location and exact time will follow.

Yours in resistance,

Rachel Lavine

Chair