DA-Spain September 2021 Newsletter

Message from DA Spain Vice-Chair 

September has been an intense month, with a lot of work by our DA Spain members and other DA colleagues across the globe, who strove to reach every last California voter living abroad, but… hard work pays off, and we are excited that Governor Gavin Newsom received the overwhelming support of California voters in the recall election. California still shines blue! Special thanks to all the DA Spain members who worked tirelessly to achieve this goal. Next up: several important state elections in November in Virginia, New Jersey, Ohio and Florida. The work never ends, and we are always looking for help from within our DA Spain membership.

I’d also like to highlight that this month (September 15-October 15), we are celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month. We are proud to honor the Latino culture and heritage that has been firmly woven into the fabric of our country’s DNA. To recall President Lyndon Johnson’s 1968 Proclamation 3869 which established National Hispanic Heritage Week: “It is with special pride that I call the attention of my fellow citizens to the great contribution to our national heritage made by our people of Hispanic descent—not only in the fields of culture, business, and science, but also through their valor in battle.” As Americans living in Spain, we cannot forget that we live in a country with a strong historical connection to the US, and this is a perfect month to honor, understand and learn about the Latino culture and heritage, and the great contribution and influence that Latinos and Hispanics have had on our country. We are very happy to welcome this Hispanic Heritage Month and to participate with our fellow members of the Global Hispanic Caucus in their special slate of activities.  

Although Get Out the Vote campaigns remain DA Spain’s main mission, we also advocate for other important issues including climate change, tax reform for overseas Americans, immigration, human rights, gun control, expanding voting rights and other topics that affect all Americans abroad. If these issues matter to you as well, please join us and let’s advocate for change together! So if any or all of this sounds interesting to you, please contact us at [email protected] or [email protected]. We need your time and your talents! And thank you in advance for your participation.

After all, “every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”  - Pres. John Fitzgerald Kennedy 

Democratically yours,
Carlos Colao, DAS Vice-Chair

    


Calls to Action

Special & General Elections in NJ, VA, OH-11, OH-15

If you vote in Florida, New Jersey, Ohio, or Virginia we need your vote! 

Deadlines to register to vote in these four (4) states are in early October. 

Ballots have already been sent. If you are a registered voter and have not requested your ballot - DO IT TODAY!

Remind your friends and family in the U.S. to register to vote: https://iwillvote.com/. They can also verify that they are registered at this link and make sure they have not been purged.

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Roe v. Wade Under Assault

The issue of abortion – which has been simmering for nearly half a century – has come to a boil. When Roe v. Wade was decided in the US Supreme Court in 1973, support for women’s reproductive freedom was approximately even across the two major political parties. In the intervening decades, however, masterminds in the Republican party settled on abortion as the issue that would incite passion and create a deeper and more insurmountable partisan divide. Read the article: SB8 How We Got Here for more information. Meanwhile, pro-choice Democrats, having viewed Roe v. Wade as settled law, turned their focus to the many other serious issues plaguing our society.

Turns out we shouldn’t have been so complacent. While we were distracted by Donald Trump, Republicans were strategically placing vital players into position for a final showdown in the “pro-life” war. The opening shot was fired in Texas on September 1, when the now-infamous SB8 went into effect, with the tacit blessing of a Supreme Court stacked with Trump and McConnell’s conservatives. Later this year, when the Mississippi case (Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization) is heard, SCOTUS will be forced to come out with a clear ruling in favor or against abortion and the future of Roe. In parallel, the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) has passed in the House on strict party lines, and is now headed to the Senate. If this legislation were to pass, WHPA would essentially codify Roe v. Wade, thereby guaranteeing the right to abortion before viability (around 22 to 24 weeks) for all US women.

Rarely has any movement been the result of one lone voice. Strength in numbers reflects the urgency and desire for change, and marches - whether in person or virtual - present the opportunity for people to come together and display solidarity. Across the US, a wave of Women’s Marches have  been organized to take place on October 2nd in defense of reproductive rights. Around the world – including here in Spain – Democrats Abroad and the Global Women’s Caucus (GWC) will support this movement by holding peaceful in-person and virtual protests. See the chapter updates below for information on planned protests in your region. 

If you are unable to join us in-person, you can still participate in DA’s virtual selfie campaign! Print out one of our posters or stickers and take a picture of yourself holding your chosen sign. Then post to your social media accounts using our hashtag #GWCMarch. Be sure to tag the Global Women’s Caucus on your posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


News

Washington Post Opinion Piece Paints Dire Portrait of a US Constitutional Crisis

The author Robert Kagan, a well known neoconservative and pre-2016 conventional Republican, published a guest column in The Washington Post on 23 September, declaring that our constitutional crisis is already here, not just a cloud on the horizon. He paints a persuasive and deeply unsettling picture of Trumpism in control of the grassroots Republican party, with local, county and state-level activists working steadily to gerrymander, restrict voting rights, and set the stage for legal and extra-legal challenges to election results and court judgments counter to their agenda in 2022 and 2024. Kagan takes Trump's renomination in 2024 as a given.

Kagan's polemic is deeply unsettling. However, before we reach for the paracetamol tablets or a bottle of 100-proof mood adjuster (remember, alcohol is a depressant, not a stimulant), there are many reasons to work for a better outcome.

1) Hope and Change may be an aspiration, but it is not an election strategy. Elections at all levels are not an exercise in high school Civics 101. They are about power. We win or we lose, and unlike the Olympics, there are no silver medals for a good try. This means wearing out shoe leather, knocking on doors, preaching not just to the converted already inside the tent but to independents ripe for conversion, and above all, getting our people registered and then to the polls. The Democratic party in general has done a mediocre job on this list below the Federal level over the past 40 years, ever since Reagan won the Presidency. We can do better, and we must. [Note that this point is especially salient with respect to overseas voters, of whom only 7% sent back a ballot in 2016.]

2) Trump has the GOP in a death grip at present, but he has lots of legal problems in New York City and New York State, mostly revolving around tax evasion, and the prosecutors are on his case, even though he has not yet been personally indicted. Even if the Mouth from Mar-a-Lago is not the candidate in 2024, we still have plenty to worry about if one of his acolytes gets the nomination.

3) Kagan is correct that we are in a Constitutional crisis, but he does not directly mention the underlying problem. The Constitution itself was drawn up in 1787 by a group of wealthy property owners, many of them slaveholders, including some north of the Mason-Dixon Line. They deliberately constructed several features, including excessive representation of thinly populated states and mainly agricultural Congressional districts, as well as a Senate which is profoundly anti-democratic in the “small d” sense. There is no reference to the number of Supreme Court justices, nor lifetime tenure, so we have room for some timely adjustments.

4) Conventional wisdom says that the party which wins the Presidency, loses seats in the next Congressional cycle. However, this is not written in stone. Conventional wisdom also said that Trump would not be nominated in 2016, then said that he would lose the presidential election. So much for conventional wisdom. We need to turn over every stone and get out every vote in 2022 and again in 2024 to boot conventional wisdom out the door and save the country from Robert Kagan's scary, but not impossible, vision.


Chapter and Verse

 

Barcelona 

Barcelona chapter activities are still predominantly being conducted online, as our popular La Lucha Continúa series gets back underway with an impressive slate of guest speakers. Our first event was held on September 14, when we learned about the state groups initiative from leaders Teresa Ritterhoff and Jennifer Von Estorff. All the excitement is happening at the state level these days. Becoming a member of your state’s group (or that of a state you have ties to) is a powerful way to learn about state-specific issues and influence the outcomes of important state-level and local races. Join the Democrats Abroad State Teams to discuss GOTV plans for the 2022 Midterm elections. From determining which races need the most attention to addressing voter support needs, it's all hands on deck to ensure that we keep Congress and flip even more Senate seats. Click here for more information about the event and to RSVP.

Just this week, we heard from Texas state Representative Sheryl Cole, who explained (or tried to!) What the (BLEEP) is going on in Texas?

Our next La Lucha meeting, on October 12th, will center on financal issues: Managing your funds in multiple currencies  - more information here. These meetings are open to all DA members and their friends, and we hope you will join us.

 

On October 2, our chapter and the Women’s Caucus will hold a protest in support of reproductive justice for Texas and all US women. Please come out to show your support and enjoy the company of fellow Democrats in Barcelona! Click here to RSVP. If you use Facebook, click here to RSVP and spread the word!

Finally, local leaders (and first pup, Bella) recently had the opportunity to meet up with DA Spain Chair Kathy Tullos and her copilot Mark as they make the rounds of the Iberian peninsula to meet DA members in person for the first time. It was also the first opportunity for many of us locals to catch up in person and discuss our plans, objectives and strategies for the months ahead. We have lots of great ideas and could use some extra manpower, so if you are able to dedicate time to our cause (regularly or for specific projects), send an email to [email protected]. If you haven’t already, join our Signal group to stay in touch.


Madrid

Here in Madrid, we wanted to take advantage of the nice weather and hold one more event at Retiro Park. At that meeting, we had the pleasure of hosting Democrats Abroad Spain chair Kathy Tullos and her husband Mark, who came up from Alicante to visit us before heading to Greece for a few weeks. 

At the meeting, they got a chance to meet some members of the Madrid chapter and talk about getting involved in DA. Kathy's message focused on the concept of "TMI": time, money, and interactions. For more information about volunteering and other opportunities to get involved with the DA Madrid chapter, send an email to [email protected].  

Carlos Colao, our national vice-chair, was also happy to speak with us about his experience in Democrats Abroad. As a member of DA's Hispanic Caucus, he told us about his experience with the caucus, some of the current initiatives the Hispanic Caucus is doing to reach more members, and information about DA's many caucuses. For more information about joining a caucus, click here

Our plans for the Women's March on October 2nd are in the works, although we don't plan on marching per se. Our standing-in-place protest will take place at noon that day at Plaza Isabel II (Metro Ópera). If you'd be interested in speaking, let us know at [email protected]

We now have a venue to host our indoor events—The Toast Taproom Malasaña (formerly named Slow Mex) at C/San Vicente Ferrer, 33. The spacious restaurant has large windows that can be used to ventilate the area and abide by COVID-19 protocols.

Our next regular monthly meeting will be on October 21st (third Thursday of the month) and will most likely be a movie screening. We'll keep you posted. 

If you'd like to give us input to plan future events, fill out our survey here.

See you on October 21st!


Valencia 

Valencia's Chapter is undergoing a reorganization. 

Life events and unforeseen circumstances have called our Chair, John Poirier, away. We thank him for his unwavering dedication to our Chapter these many long months and his contributions to the fight for democracy. An announcement and introduction of the new Chapter officers will be coming soon. Please keep your eye out for more on this topic in our next newsletter edition. 

Leah Fuhr, our Vice-Chair, has also made the difficult decision of stepping down, but has graciously offered to continue her service to DAV in a different role. Our search for a new Vice-Chair is underway. DAV bylaws require gender parity; thus we are seeking a non-female for this role. If you identify as non-female and are interested in joining our executive committee, please contact Sarah Boccard at [email protected]

DAV thanks Leah and John! We'll be looking for you at our future events.

SAVE THE DATE: October 2nd - Virtual Protest for Women's Rights

Liberals across the globe are marching in solidarity with Texas Women on October 2nd. Valencia will join the protests virtually. Please consider showing your support for women's rights and your opposition to Texas's anti-abortion legislation on that important day. 

To add your weight to the virtual protests, do the following:

  1. Go to the Women's March image library
  2. Choose one of the posters shown, take a picture of yourself with the poster you choose
  3. Post the resulting selfie to your own social media accounts with the hashtag #GWCMarch.

HALLOWEEN 

DA Valencia is co-sponsoring a Halloween Extravaganza on October 31, from 6pm to 9pm. We plan on holding a fair in the open air, with games and entertainment for children, food and drink, stands with boxed Thanksgiving food, fall and Christmas decor, handmade products and a trick-or-treat campaign through the streets of Ruzafa. Details will be sent out in early October. Please come, enjoy your evening with us and meet the new Valencia executive committee. As a huge bonus, Kathy Tullos, the Chair of DA Spain, and her husband will be joining us. This is your opportunity to tell them how much you love your Valencia Chapter. We hope to see you there!

To volunteer your time with DA Valencia, please complete this volunteer form.


Alicante

The fall season has begun and your Democrats Abroad Alicante team is getting ready for our end-of-year efforts to bring you all the news and information you need to vote. Your Alicante team has been hard at work collaborating with DA Spain to Get Out The Vote (GOTV), and we had success as our fellow Californians said “no to the recall” and thus kept California a Democratic state!

Now we’ve turned our attention to the upcoming election in Virginia. The Alicante team is spearheading and coordinating a printed mailer campaign for all of Spain!

We are also busy with a bigger project to develop and launch an online merchandise store for DA Spain, connecting it to other online stores within EMEA. These are exciting projects that help the broader Democrats Abroad organization and DA Alicante is honored to help.

This fall, we also plan to focus on in-person events beginning in November, in hopes of bringing our communities in Denia, Alicante, Torrevieja, and every city in between, together to celebrate the holiday season, so keep an eye out for more news on that. 

If you have any questions about our current organization, what our future plans are or how to make sure your votes are counted in US local, state and national elections, we're here to help. You can email us at [email protected] or comment on our Facebook Group page at www.facebook.com/groups/DemocratsAbroadAlicante!


Spain Fun Fact

La Palma - Cabeza de Vaca

Image: The Economic Times

The tallest mountain in Spain, El Tiede on Tenerife, is an extinct volcano. It is the tallest place in the Atlantic Ocean. The only taller volcanoes on earth are Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea in Hawaii. (Wikipedia)

The volcano currently erupting on the island of La Palma (Canary Islands) is called Cumbre Vieja ("Old Peak"). The first time this volcano is known to erupt was in 1470, and prior to the current eruption, the most recent activity was in 1971. (Wikipedia)

The oldest record of a volcano eruption in Spain documents one on La Palma around the year 1440. The longest volcanic eruption recorded in Spain was in the 1730's on Lanzarote. The eruption went on for more than 5 years.


In Closing

We hope you enjoyed the September Newsletter.  

To stay on top of all the news, follow Democrats Abroad Spain on social media.

    

And please forward this email to your American friends in Spain who may not know us!