Editorials: What’s a Democrat to do? and An old warning and plea for peace

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DAP open group

Who are Democrats Abroad Panama?
Should the editor seek a leadership post?

Democrats’ actual following, and those to whom the organization should try to reach, are slightly different demographics.

It’s unwise to abandon one’s base in search of another. Last year the Democrats lost some races by “trying to play it safe” by avoiding issues that might inflame Trumpsters among their electorates, or “reaching out” by reliance on often well-stated but notoriously ineffective messages by dissident Republicans like the Lincoln Project folks. But people die, people come of age, people move in and people move out. No present or potential electorate is static.

The editor, presently but not for long vice chair of Democrats Abroad Panama and having served as chair, board member and volunteer with no leadership position, has had occasion to argue about the terminology and underlying philosophies of what Democrats Abroad country chapters are.

There are and have been leaders of the global organization who refer to the chapters as “markets.” The editor object to the word and its implications, and advocates the word and concept “constituencies.” The advertising business goes looking for “markets” of people whom it attempts to sell things that they don’t know that they need. A well-directed political party goes out among constituencies to mobilize them to achieve things that they need and want.

So do we, as our principal appeal in Panama, advocate a tax reform that has its merits but only directly benefits a small fraction of our mainly retired constituency, or do we spend more effort pushing for things like full and affordable consular services, without having to go to Costa Rica to receive them? Which elements of the “donor base” are innocuous to our constituencies, and which elements are obnoxious? And which parts of the Democratic platform should we emphasize to expand our constituency, for example, to appeal to the kids of mixed pana and gringo parents who are in many cases culturally mostly Panamanian and largely “in the closet” about the US citizen part of their existence?

The litany will not be recited here, but these are living issues in Democrats Abroad Panama. Folks may want to make culture war or personality clash explanations, but it’s actually a set of bread and butter issues. Within Democrats Abroad Panama, the democracy and political good sense differences are just gravy.

So, what’s an editor who is also an activist to do? Challenge the incumbent chair for a job that the editor once had and really doesn’t want? Run for the board, with the prospect of being – again – the lonely and pesky gadfly at the table? Recruit, within a few days, an opposition slate? See if a better arrangement can be negotiated? Just walk away, voluntarily or not?

 

What? An 82-year-old graphic fictional short story for a Holy Week editorial?
Everything wasn’t sweetness and light and “they lived happily ever after” if we care to examine Holy Week. It’s about skilled Jewish workers reduced to slavery by a new Egyptian dynasty, taking advantage of a natural calamity to escape their bondage, if only to wander in the wilderness for 40 years. It’s about a dissident Jew challenging a corrupt religious establishment that was aligned with foreign forces – a brutal empire that had recently replaced a decadent republic – and getting tortured to death for it, then rising from the grave.
It’s about exploitation, brutality, resistance and renewal – big parts of the human condition. Although James Thurber wrote and drew this masterpiece at the Algonquian Hotel in New York just as World War II was getting underway in Europe, it’s a peace message befitting Holy Week, and for all time.

 

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Then-diplomat Madame Binh, center facing toward her left, meets with female Vietnamese military officers during the war against the United States. Later she served as Minister of Education and Vice President of Vietnam. Vietnamese government photo.

All women in the world have the earnest desire to live in peace and lead a better life. However, women in developing countries and poor women in general, especially those who do not have access to education. capital, and information technology. are encountering enormous challenges.

Nguyen Thị Bình

Bear in mind…

Men are perishable, but ideas live.

Empress Frederick

It is love itself that is important — the ability to love, no matter whom you love. For when you can no longer love anyone, you are no longer a living person. The heart dies if it loses the capacity to love.

Pearl S. Buck

That I can live long enough
To obtain one and only one desire —
That someday I can see again
The mulberry and catalpa trees of home.

Ts’ai Yen

 

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