Whether a democrat or republican, you will probably never forget where you were on November 4, 2008. Americans were joined by people from nations all around the globe to celebrate what is certain to be remembered as a defining moment in American history.  Many Americans reflected a sense of pride even among those who did not vote for the 44th President of the United States. Oh, how far we have come to have elected a half-African, half-white Midwesterner, with an Arab-sounding middle name, mostly raised by his grandmother in Hawaii 5,000 miles from the U.S. mainland. This event has provided enormous inspiration and hope to even cynical observers. It was thrilling to know that minority voters registered and turned out in record numbers. Younger voters became more engaged in politics. Friends and family members who never registered or voted, did both.

In his August 2008 acceptance speech for the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama made it clear, “ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems”…”programs alone can’t replace parents”… “government can’t turn off the television and make a child do her homework”… Obama’s appeal is that we all step up and assume our “individual and mutual responsibility” to improve life for our families, colleagues and communities. The advocacy of helping someone get elected was absolutely necessary. Now that the election is behind us, let us continue our commitment to making life better for New Mexicans. Many of our families struggle under the stress of our jobs, the rising cost of living, and insufficient time to support the positive development of our children or the well-being of our colleagues. While we hope our government will protect us and invest our resources wisely, we must still respect and safe keep each other’s interests, recognizing that caring for and supporting each other’s success is equally important. I think the members of NMTLA have always supported each other even in the midst of heated debates ranging from political races to judicial appointments.  I have always encouraged each of you to hold on to your beliefs but to please try and understand how it feels to stand in your friend’s/opponent’s/judge’s shoes/stilettos. You can be a fierce, ethical advocate without following someone back to their nest, stomping on their eggs, and wiping out their species.

We have more exciting things coming up like the toy drive and the legislative session. Don Vigil will be asking for help getting toys (My check should already be in the mail) and I will be asking for help to read and analyze bills and help state legislatures understand what bills will hurt New Mexicans. There will be a sign up calendar going around. Please sign up to travel to Santa Fe at some point between January 20, 2009 and March 21, 2009. I thank you in advance for your participation.

Denise M. Torres