I just wanted to say how impressed I was with the front page last week. The lead image and story were very good. Keep up the good work in the New Year.
Best, John Miller
Editor, The Taos News
Dear Editor, I have been amazed by the work the Questa Clinic has done especially with testing and vaccinating the community. Is there anyone who may be interested in writing an article in the Questa Del Rio News to recognize the staff?
Malaquias Rael, Jr.
Chairman, Questa Economic Development Fund
You are so right, thank you for acknowledging the Questa Health Center! Three people have actually approached us on this subject. We are planning a story for our March issue. Their frontline workers are definitely local heroes. Hats off to all the staff there, it is a great privilege to have the QHC in our community.
Editor, Questa Del Rio News
Nothing in this letter is a “should.” There are no right answers. One of the ways I cope with anxiety and uncertainty is to DO something. Writing this letter is what I am “doing.” Please take the time to read it and maybe re-read it. If you are called to share it and discuss it, please do.
With all the news about threats to our democracy, polls show that most Americans are worried about our future. From what I have read, clearly the biggest threat to our future is our losing faith in that future. Losing faith in our functioning democracy can easily spiral into a self-fulfilling prophecy of its demise. This is exactly what the foes of democracy want.
I have conservative friends and liberal friends and they have similar fears, anxieties, and worries. The inevitability of civil unrest or another civil war, the end of the United States as we know it is possible, but NOT inevitable. The talk of such outcomes is no longer a fringe topic, it has moved to the mainstream conversation. That doesn’t make it inevitable. It is not inevitable if each of us sees clearly what we can do at this pivotal point in our history. Whether they are small, medium, or large actions matters less than that we do something.
Being born into a male body of European descent, my challenges in life have been much easier than others. My level of anxiety and worry is already the constant for many others less privileged. While I may have led my life thinking America works for me, for many not like me, it has never lived up to its aspirations.
As much as I want to believe I never took our democracy for granted, I now know I did take it for granted. It has been shocking to see how easily our democracy has been assaulted and wounded. Some have acted contrary to the norms we have lived under for many decades. Even though there are those who do not believe in our democracy, doesn’t mean I will not fight like hell for it.
As they say in AA, stay out of the results, just do the footwork. Taking care of oneself is of the utmost importance. Ask for help, check in on others, respect one’s limits, (taking breaks, loving oneself through this all) this too is part of the work we are called to do. Reach out to resources that call to you for your own inner peace, strength, and hope, whatever that looks like to you, and make it a part of your daily life. What you can do is unique to you.
Some things you might consider in no order of importance, are:
- Volunteer to be a poll worker
- Donate to candidates—red, blue, or unaffiliated
- Talk to your neighbors—empathize with those you don’t understand or agree with.
- Run for the local school board or city council or support someone who is running. Attend meetings (in person or via Zoom) to support those who share your values.
- Get off social media, unless you are dependent on it for your income or use it strictly to stay in touch with family and friends.
- Don’t let your consumption of news contribute to a sense of hopelessness. Watch with a critical mind what you do consume. Be open to different news sources.
- Talk to your local opinion setters—elected officials, local governments, podcasters, journalists; tell them your concerns. Ask them to be responsible with their power to influence others, especially in these critical times.
- Join with others in a caucus of your political party. My state has caucuses for communities and interests of the following groups: Rural, Hispanic, Veterans and Military Families, Black, Progressives, Environmental Justice, Native American, LGBT+, and Youth. All of these groups are doing good work and need more help.
- Explore issues of privilege and status. Ask yourself “How have I benefited from the status quo? What can I do to divest myself of the unearned benefits of my position in life? How can I be a better ally of those with less privilege and status?” Search phrases: wocial class privilege, white privilege explained, male privilege
What other ways of action can you think of? Please share what you believe is true.
Groups and individuals are aligning, and even gaining mainstream acceptance who do not believe in the rule of law or our Constitution and the ultimate good of America, even to the point of using violence against the government and fellow citizens. These trends have always been with us, but now they are louder, have more believers, and are staking a claim on public arenas. Most Americans are law-abiding citizens who depend on our democratic system to uphold our laws and the Constitution to keep them safe and our democracy functioning.
Unfortunately, the assault on our nation’s capital was not the end, but more the beginning of the next chapter of their efforts. Some of these individuals appear to be actively working to benefit personally and financially from the chaos and destruction.
We are already in a fractured democracy. With many states passing laws to make voting harder, if not impossible, with the electoral college creating a faulty imbalance to governance, scholars now saying the Constitution itself cannot keep up with social and technological changes, and the filibuster which is not constitutional.
We are all wounded and flawed. Healing these wounds, in ourselves, our country and the world is the calling of our time. I ask you to have faith in yourself, in each other and in our common American experience. This divided time tries to make us forget our commonality. Continue to have faith in yourself and in the greater good of our fellow Americans—whatever the political stripe.
The future is not known. Nothing is inevitable. I am not pessimistic, I have faith in our shared future. I have faith in you, in our greater good as Americans and in the path ahead. At another time of great calamity Franklin Delano Roosevelt addressed a deeply suffering nation to proclaim, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
We have not always lived up to the aspirations contained in the country’s founding documents and there were setbacks, but the story of America has been, over time, to expand those ideals to more and more individuals. We are now in another period of such change and much possibility. May we all be blessed by these United States of America and may we be a blessing to it.
A fellow citizen of the United States