From the Executive Director

As I write this Executive Director's column, it's just days after the 2006 mid-term elections. Most of this newsletter was written before the results were in - before, even, it was clear that the Democrats would win the House and when there was no hope that they would win the Senate. Everything has changed in just a few weeks making me fear that our content might now be dated. Are the insights from the articles still relevant, or should we start again from scratch?

Actually, I wish, the additional work notwithstanding, that I could say it's all irrelevant now. I wish I could say that everything has changed. Yet the truth is we don't yet know how much has changed.

Certainly the ascension of the first woman to serve as Speaker of the House is an historic moment, as is the election here in Massachusetts of the second elected African American Governor ever. (Though this transplanted Virginian feels compelled to remind you that the first elected African American Governor was Doug Wilder, grandson of slaves and Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia!)

On a more political note, a Democratic majority in the House offers the opportunity for increased oversight of an increasingly unchecked, imperial presidency. A Democratic majority in the Senate will likely make a difference in who gets appointed and confirmed to federal judgeships. Beyond that, though, it's hard to know what, if anything, will be different. We know that many of the Democrats who were elected are conservative and many of Republicans who were defeated were moderate. We know that the movement to suppress civil rights and liberties under the guise of protection from terrorism is a train that has picked up great speed and will be hard for anyone to slow, much less stop - even if they have the will to try.

We don't know the concrete results of the realignment of Party power in Congress. Here's what we do know. Progressives, anyone dedicated to working for justice, freedom, and peace through democratic processes, know that there is no single Party, structure, or alliance that we can depend on to solve our problems for us. We know the importance of raising our voices - all of our voices - to decry oppression and demand justice and equity and our fair places at the banquet that life in this country still is. PRA is committed to adding our voices, encouraging yours, and publishing as many as we can.

May the struggle continue and may we find life and hope and joy within it.

-- Katherine Ragsdale    

Fall/Winter 2006

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