Woman's National Democratic Club

Messages From the President

September 24, 2020

The year 2020 will long be remembered for the disasters it brought in its wake. We were anticipating a momentous year for different reasons. We were all geared up to celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage. A presidential election year is always exciting with the promise of change and this year in particular we hoped to win the Senate and the White House. We were optimistically planning our political activities, hoping to build on the successes of the midterms and the 2019 Virginia elections which heralded the emergence of women political leaders across the nation.

And then came the pandemic, creeping up on us stealthily. By mid-March the country had shut down. With mounting infections and fatalities, growing unemployment lines, shuttered restaurants and shops, the misery index of the population started to grow as rapidly as food and income insecurity. The cynical and callous response by the Trump administration resulted in making America great in terms of the number of dead and infected. We broke the world record. In the midst of this unprecedented crisis, candidates had to adjust their political calendars and tactics, with uncertainty the only certain factor.

We had to deal with catastrophic natural disasters in addition to the pandemic: hurricanes, fires, and flooding, a direct result of the ravages of climate change. And then in this summer of our confinement and distress, civil rights issues took center stage with the Black Lives Matter movement exploding with each new case of police brutality and racial baiting. And still COVID-19 infections and deaths kept mounting. Schools and businesses remained closed into the fall and in this disastrous mix the political season started heating up.

As we approach October, a month before the most important election in decades, we are confronted with another tragedy. The passing of a feminist icon, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. And the beginning of a possible constitutional crisis. Will the Republican majority in the Senate adhere to their own rules or will they exhibit the same lack of integrity and disregard for fair play as they have demonstrated in the last three years? This remains the question on every mind with justice and humanity hanging in the balance. There is so much at stake—the threat to Roe v Wade and to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Then there is the fate of Social Security, the rights of immigrants, education policy, foreign policy, and finally the threat to democracy itself. And in the background are the usual reverberations—interference by foreign actors in our elections, voter suppression and intimidation by the president and his henchman, proliferation of lies and propaganda, and manipulation of voters through social media platforms.

RBG leaves behind a powerful legacy. Her strategy of single-mindedly pursuing success resulted in landmark wins for women. A tragedy in this year of the Centennial of Suffrage, RBG’s death reminds us that our fight is never over.

Today as we brace ourselves for an ugly fight over her replacement by a ruthless and immoral majority leader of the Senate, we have only one recommendation, one suggestion, one admonition. VOTE: Just vote. Get everyone you know to vote. That is what will save the legacy of the heroic woman who dwarfed the giants around her. That is what RBG would ask of you. Just Vote.

Nuchhi Currier
President, Woman’s National Democratic Club

September 24, 2020

IT IS IN AN INACTION.” Marcus Aurelius

Armed citizens and trigger-happy law enforcement officers—a recipe for violence especially when racism is added to this vitriolic mix.

A frontline worker is shot five times in her own apartment by cops during a supposed drug heist. They break down her front door with a battering ram, her alarmed boyfriend shoots blindly at what he imagines are burglars. The officers start shooting. She gets five bullets in her body. She dies. She is Black. The three killers are White cops. There is a Grand Jury. The Attorney General of Louisville Kentucky announces the verdict. They absolve the cops—charging only one of them for shooting into neighboring apartments. Not for killing her.

September 23, 2020 will be remembered as the day justice was delayed. And denied. The systemic injustice in our law enforcement system allows racial discrimination to be practiced with impunity. More than six months after emergency medical worker, Breonna Taylor, was shot dead by police in her Louisville home, a grand jury charged not a single officer for their role in Taylor’s death. Former officer Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment and two other officers who opened fire were let off scot-free.

The result is predictable. After four months of nationwide protests against police brutality and racial targeting, citizens are back on the streets of America today. There are major protests across the nation. Did we expect a different result? How and when will this end? We are living in a world that is exploding around us. Justice and sanity are elusive concepts. We need to rein cops in. We need common-sense gun laws. We need judges who are interested in meting out justice, not pushing a partisan agenda. We can get all that if we vote. We can bring in lawmakers who will not be beholden to vested interests, lawmakers who will be on the side of the people and the law. There are less than 40 days to change our destiny. WE MUST VOTE!

“The dead cannot cry out for justice. It is the duty of the living to do so.” Lois McMaster Bujold

Nuchhi Currier
President, Woman’s National Democratic Club

September 19, 2020

Oh, how she fought. She fought to be taken seriously in law school, despite top grades. She fought to get a job in that bastion of male dominance—the US legal system. Kept out of law firms she ended up teaching law and fighting for justice for women. As the second woman on the US Supreme Court, she continued her fight for justice for the oppressed for 27 years. And finally, she fought for her life to maintain the precarious balance on the US Supreme Court.

A valiant crusader to the end, RBG leaves behind a powerful legacy. Her strategy of single-mindedly pursuing success resulted in landmark wins for women. A tragedy in this year of the Centennial of Suffrage, RBG’s death reminds us that our fight is never over. An architect of the legal fight for women’s rights in the 1970s, RBG became an icon for women in her 80s, starring in lead roles in a hit documentary, a biopic, and an operetta.

“I do think that I was born under a very bright star,” she said in an NPR interview. “Because if you think about my life, I get out of law school. I have top grades. No law firm in the city of New York will hire me. I end up teaching; it gave me time to devote to the movement for evening out the rights of women and men.”

Today as we brace ourselves for an ugly fight over her replacement by a ruthless and immoral majority leader of the Senate, we are reminded of the irreplaceability of “Notorious RBG.” We are also painfully reminded of the importance of the upcoming election. There is too much at stake. There is the threat to Roe v Wade; the threat to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Then there is the fate of Social Security, the rights of immigrants, education policy, foreign policy, and finally the threat to democracy itself.

We only have one recommendation, one suggestion, one admonition. VOTE. Just vote. Get everyone you know to vote. That is what will save the legacy of this diminutive yet heroic woman who dwarfed the giants around her. That is what the WNDC’s Eleanor Award recipient, the Notorious RBG would ask of you. Just vote!

Nuchhi Currier
President, Woman’s National Democratic Club

September 1, 2020

The year 2020 dawned innocently enough. There were exciting events to plan. The presidential election was underway and America was celebrating the centennial of women’s suffrage. January slid easily into February and then came March. Soft but uneasy rumblings of a spreading deadly virus became strident
shouts across the globe and by the middle of March countries started to shut down amid mounting infections and deaths. As months dragged on in isolation and fear, it became apparent that this was going to be a unique, be-masked, and isolationist election.

Normally National Conventions are glittering, multi-day affairs. A virtual one, stripped to its essentials by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic meltdown, made it hard to generate the same kind of energy.

The Democratic Convention, however, appeared to be tailor-made for Mr. Biden’s earnest and decent political message. The lack of glitz made for a more serious-minded presentation. The televised broadcasts gave voice to ordinary people recounting stories about lives affected by the pandemic, recession, and racism. Mr. Biden used his acceptance speech to highlight important issues, rather than play up the rhetoric that would have been expected in a packed hall. The convention focused more on persuasion of ordinary citizens than appealing to the base.

The four days of the Democratic Convention brought many memorable moments, from Kamala Harris’s historic nomination as vicepresident, to Michelle Obama’s admonition of Donald Trump. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama gave scathing reviews of the country under Trump. However, these comments always remained within context and the bounds of decency. The speakers called for addressing societal ills and bettering the lives of all.

America was experiencing “too much anger, too much fear, too much division,” said Vice-President Biden, referencing the four policy crises: the worst pandemic in a century, the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, the biggest movement for social justice since the 1960s, and the undeniable threat of climate change. He promised “a path of hope and light.” Kamala Harris’s acceptance speech capped off a night of Democrats celebrating women’s suffrage and pleading with voters to protect American democracy.

And then came the Republican Convention—glitzy, brash, and strident. Exploding with too much anger, too much fear, and too much division. A stage production by the “Apprentice” team, it presented a fierce defense of Trump, followed by warnings about a dark future under Biden. The specter of communism and socialism was raised over and over. Racism as it exists in America was denied outright with Black speakers attesting to that. The threat to suburban Whites from dangerous minorities moving into their neighborhoods was highlighted. Protestors were depicted as marauding gangs bent upon destruction. Police brutality was denied, law enforcement officers presented to whitewash their transgressions. All red meat for the base, on whom the convention focused.

Nikki Haley, Tim Scott, the strident Guilfoyle, V.P. Pence, and Pompeo, all seemed to be speaking directly to Trump “to make his lonely soul feel affirmed.” The two Trump boys and daughter Tiffany painted a dystopian picture of America under Biden, while singing praises of their father. Melania Trump’s speech in the Rose Garden of the White House stressing her immigrant roots, and the staged immigrant swearing-in ceremony, were ironic given the anti-immigrant policies of her husband.

There was a direct contrast between the Democratic and Republican campaigns. While one stressed policy, substance, and heart, the latter was staged rhetoric and bombast. There is no 2020 Republican platform; too many of the speakers were Trump family members and the incumbent president chose to appear nightly—because he could. It is, as always, only about him—the country be damned! The wrecking ball of the Trump presidency and the sycophantic compliance of the Republican Senate has made it a battle for the soul of our nation, with huge consequences for the world at large.

Nuchhi Currier
President, Woman’s National Democratic Club

July 30, 2020

The US has always prided itself on being a nation of laws. The final recourse in cases that are divisive and politically charged would be a Supreme Court that is a fair arbiter. Courts must not be simple extensions of the political branches of the Government, averred Chief Justice Roberts in 2018. Some of the Supreme Court’s recent landmark decisions support this contention. Paramount among those are ones on abortion, gay and transgender rights, the fate of young immigrants known as Dreamers, and access to President Trump’s financial records.

With a majority conservative bench at the Supreme Court, the four liberal judges need support from the Republican-appointed members to succeed. And that is what happened in these cases. Trump appointee, Neil M. Gorsuch, and a George W. Bush appointee, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., each joined with liberal justices to defeat Trump administration priorities in these issues. Roberts has periodically sided with liberals on the court, including a case that preserved key parts of the Affordable Care Act and a case that rejected the Trump administration’s desire for a citizenship question in the 2020 US Census.

A survey taken by researchers at Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Texas finds that the public generally supports the politically liberal position in all of those cases. Thus, these Supreme Court decisions reflect the will of the majority. Despite this, advocates and lawmakers need to remain skeptical. The conservative justices have proved time and again that they will continue to refuse to respect women’s and minorities’ rights. We need proactive legislative policies to advance health care access and equality for all.

The Chief Justice, for instance, made it clear in writing the opinion that he favors striking down the Louisiana law solely because of the precedent the court set four years ago in Texas, not out of respect for a person’s right to an abortion. To reinforce this point, in Trump v. Pennsylvania, the court sided with the Trump administration, by allowing virtually any employer or university to deny women birth control coverage based on the entity’s—not the woman’s—moral or religious beliefs, thereby threatening the health and financial security of women. Additionally, the recent SCOTUS decision depriving felons from voting is the fourth time that the court has refused to intervene to protect voting rights, despite an overwhelming public outcry.

The need to flip the Senate blue and to have a Democrat in the White House becomes more urgent. Chronic and mounting economic inequality, food insecurity, lack of access to healthcare, voter suppression, police brutality, and access to equal justice for the average person hang in the balance. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s health is failing, and Mitch McConnell is resolved to stack the courts with conservative judges. The future of this country will be decided on November 3 this year and we need to keep our eye on the ball. We cannot miss! It is the COURTS, stupid.

Nuchhi Currier
President, Woman’s National Democratic Club

July 20, 2020

Representative John Lewis left a profound mark on everyone he encountered. The Woman’s National Democratic Club was no exception. He visited us on April 2, 2019 to present the “Democratic Woman of the Year Award” to Representative Maxine Waters of California. A civil rights leader, a preacher of nonviolence, and a US Representative from Georgia, he spent more than three decades in Congress defending the crucial gains he had helped achieve for people of color. His reputation as keeper of the 1960s flame defined his career in Congress. His death leaves his followers and admirers in profound sorrow.

Born to impoverished Alabama sharecroppers, Mr. Lewis was a high school student in 1955 when he heard broadcasts by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. that drew him to activism. Inspired by Dr. King and Rosa Parks to get into “good trouble,” John Lewis worked tirelessly to end hatred and division. “I believe race is too heavy a burden to carry into the 21st century. It’s time to lay it down. We all came here in different ships, but now we’re all in the same boat.”

Ever the optimist, he said, “There are still forces in America that want to divide us along racial lines, religious lines, sex, class. But we’ve come too far; we’ve made too much progress to stop or to pull back. We must go forward. And I believe we will get there.” And: “Sometimes I hear people saying, ‘Nothing has changed.’ Come and walk in my shoes.” His deep love for all of humanity and his staunch belief in the inherent value of all living things was evident in his relentless pursuit of justice.

Congressman Lewis came to be known as the “conscience of the Congress.” He led a bipartisan delegation of House and Senate members on civil rights pilgrimages sponsored by The Faith and Politics Institute that brought him to Montgomery, Alabama and the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Civil Rights Memorial. Though he often talked about the beatings he endured during the civil rights movement he had no inclination to nurse old wounds. Congressman Lewis felt there was too much to do. He held a sit-in on the floor of the US House of Representatives for gun control legislation and consistently spoke out in support of Black and Indigenous People, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and the poor.

Time magazine included him in a 1975 list of “living saints” headed by Mother Teresa. The New Republic in 1996 called him “the last integrationist,” and the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, Taylor Branch, said in an interview, that “John Lewis saw racism as a stubborn gate in freedom’s way, but if you take seriously the democratic purpose, whites as well as blacks benefit,” calling him “a rather lonely guardian of nonviolence.” It took a dozen years, but in 2003 he won authorization for construction of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Mall.

President Obama presented Congressman Lewis with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor. Feeling a burning desire to teach young people the legacy of the civil rights movement, in 2013, Mr. Lewis began a trilogy in comic book form called “March.”

“I have been in some kind of fight—for freedom, equality, basic human rights—for nearly my entire life,” he said in a statement. “I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now,” he said upon announcing his struggle with pancreatic cancer. His last public appearance came at Black Lives Matter Plaza with DC Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) on June 7, two days after taping a virtual town hall online with former president Barack Obama. The entire nation mourns the passing of a civil rights icon.

Nuchhi Currier
President, Woman’s National Democratic Club

May 31, 2020

“A Riot is the Language of the Unheard” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The recent murder of a 46-year-old black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, follows the slaying of a black man, Ahmaud Arbery, while jogging in Georgia; of Breonna Taylor, an EMT worker who was shot to death by police in her own home; and a white woman called the cops on a black man, Christian Cooper, in New York’s Central Park while she was violating the park’s leash law and he was innocently bird-watching. All these incidents are recent and most were captured on video. They are a grim reminder that 400 years of conscious, institutionalized racism, a by-product of slavery in America, is not easy to wipe out. America’s persistent racial bias was demonstrated not only by these incidents but also by the incongruously high death toll of minorities hit by the deadly coronavirus.

It is thus no surprise that protests broke out across the nation. In Minneapolis the police precinct where the murderers worked was breached and set ablaze, along with other businesses. In Colorado, shots were fired near the State House. At a protest in Louisville, seven people were shot. The streets of New York City and Los Angeles erupted, and in Washington DC the White House went into lockdown as demonstrators surrounded it.

The Woman’s National Democratic Club stands united in our collective disdain and disgust for the intentional and blatant targeting of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Freddie Gray, Eric Gardner, Botham Jean, Sandra Bland, Philando Castille, Alton Stirling, and countless others. We are aghast at President Trump calling protesters “THUGS” and suggesting violence against them. This is the same man who called White Supremacists, who murdered an innocent woman and threatened violence against other innocent citizens, “very fine people.”

The WNDC echoes the clarion call to recognize that Black Lives Matter! Black men and women should never walk out of their home fearing never to return. No one should ever feel unsafe in their own homes or be afraid to go to a park or to church. We repeat, BLACK LIVES MATTER!

According to a statement by President Obama, “…We have to remember that for millions of Americans, being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly ‘normal’—whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or just watching birds in a park.”

This year has already been catastrophically unsettling. In the broader context of the health emergency wreaked by COVID-19 and the resultant economic collapse highlighted by over 40 million unemployed and counting, we might be witnessing a rupture similar to the economic dislocation of the Great Depression and the social convulsions of 1968 combined.

Referring to endemic racism in our society, the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party, Vice President Joe Biden said, “The original sin of this country still stains our nation today, and sometimes we manage to overlook it.” He called the USA “a country with an open wound.” It is up to us to heal that wound. Providing justice is a necessary step towards achieving that goal. Acknowledging endemic racism as a wider problem, putting in place legal mechanisms with fair and just laws, and implementing those laws without bias by the police and the justice system, will help break down generations of suspicion and mistrust and go a long way to restoring peace. In the George Floyd incident, multiple officers are clearly culpable and should also be charged, arrested and held accountable. Police brutality is criminal behavior. It is exacerbated when it is clearly based upon a racist agenda and explicit bias. Unabashed racism must be confronted head-on. The time for denial, white-washing and covering up America’s overt racism is over. The cancer of racism lies exposed. We need to excise it, once and for all.

Nuchhi Currier

November 6, 2019

Election fever in an off-off-year is unusual. But 2019 has proved that when the stakes are high, people are feeling vulnerable and the tone at the top is threatening, anything can happen. A big surge in voters, around an estimated 40%, portends well for the much bigger battle ahead in 2020. The electoral conflagration sparked by Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in 2016 is still burning hot among Democrats.

Another blue wave swept across neighboring Virginia on Tuesday turning it fully democratic for the first time in 26 years. In the 2017 election a record 28 female delegates were sent to the Virginia legislative chamber, and all but one of the newcomers were Democrats. All 15 newcomers retained their seats in 2019. Overall, women in Virginia set a new record this year, with 41 seats in the state legislature.

Virginia now boasts a trifecta that is likely to move measures forward including gun control, abortion rights, an increase in the minimum wage, and the ratification of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would enshrine gender equality. Additionally, the state legislature will redraw maps redressing some of the ills of gerrymandering that have resulted in racially segregated districts.

The changes to Virginia’s gun laws laid out by Governor Northam are universal background checks, a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and a one-handgun-permonth limit on purchases.

Women are poised to move on the final ratification of the ERA. The Equal Rights
Amendment to the US Constitution is designed to guarantee equal rights to ALL American citizens, regardless of sex. Originally written by suffragists Alice Paul & Crystal Eastman and first introduced in Congress in 1923, we are planning to see it enacted in the centennial year of women’s suffrage. Virginia’s Democratic win allows us to move forward. 

The WNDC was deeply engaged in the 2019 elections, organizing with other groups and setting the stage for a robust effort in 2020. We are excited to build on our Winning Wednesdays strategy and bring home the US House, Senate and the White House for Democrats.

Nuchhi Currier

July 12, 2018

Democrats pride themselves on being fair and even-handed. The nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court last year generated a lot of discussion, even alarm, but many argued that he was not likely to be too extreme. They have been proven wrong. The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, a federal appeals court judge, should definitely cause alarm. He comes with a decidely conservative record, is a former aide to President George W. Bush, and was involved with the investigation of President Bill Clinton and the 2000 Florida recount. He was chosen from a list carefully curated by the Federalist Society. His confirmation will cement the court’s rightward tilt for a generation.

In a revealing speech last fall, Kavanaugh exposed his views, lauding Chief Justice Rehnquist for dissenting in Roe v Wade and for rejecting the notion of a “wall of separation between church and state.” He also expressed his support for eliminating the “exclusionary rule,” which forbids police from using illegally obtained evidence. The five areas he cited where he stood with Rehnquist against the liberals – “criminal justice, religion, federalism, enumerated rights and administrative law” – would all move the law to the extreme right. In addition, he has expressed his support for the unfettered power of the presidency. According to one academic analysis, Kavanaugh would be the second most conservative Justice on the Court—to the right even of Gorsuch and pretty close to Clarence Thomas.

Justice Kennedy, who is retiring, held the swing vote in many closely divided cases on issues like abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, and the death penalty. Replacing him with a committed conservative, who could potentially serve for decades, will fundamentally alter the balance of the Court and put dozens of precedents at risk. Democrats need to stay resolute in their opposition and persuade Democratic Senators in swing states as well as Republican Senators such as Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska to vote NO. This nomination should be seen as what it is, a “power grab by a radicalized political party, its wealthy backers, and a rogue President.” The Supreme Court should not be a partisan tool for undermining democracy. The emergence of a partisan bench that is designed to keep power in the hands of Republicans by any means necessary is bad for the country and the legitimacy of the Court.

–Nuchhi Currier, WNDC President

January 12, 2018

We have sunk to a new low. When the current occupant of the White House debases us on a daily basis and Republicans surrounding him don’t mutter a single dissenting protest – we know then that values and courage have no place in their America. It is all about maintaining the power dynamic.

President Trump’s word’s, uttered during a discussion on protecting immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, and African countries: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” demonstrates the depths to which our elected leaders have sunk. Human dignity, acceptance, tolerance, empathy, consideration, fairness, justice, equality – these are all concepts that have become superfluous in this crude discourse of Lilliputian minds. He voices base sentiments, his Republican colleagues give tacit approval by their deafening silence, his morally bankrupt spokespersons present a shameless defense, and the moral fabric of our nation gets ripped even further.

This remark is consistent with other Trump comments – Mexico must be reviled because it sends us “rapists” and “criminals.” Sen. John McCain’s military service must be derided, a judge must be impugned because of his Mexican heritage, our first black President’s citizenship must be questioned, as must the motives of a Muslim Gold Star family. Equally reprehensible was equating white supremacists with protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia.

What will this President NOT do to advance his political power among his base? And what is the moral obligation of the silent majority witnessing this horror-show of a presidency? That is a question that this nation needs to answer. One way would be to cut down on the unfettered power wielded by a Republican Congress and White House this fall. Throw the creeps out in November! Bring in diversity. Elect women and representatives of various hues, cultures, and faiths so this nation’s rich tapestry can be displayed in all its glory. We do not have to endure this indignity in silence. Let the scream of protest find voice in the voting booth.

Nuchhi Currier

November 8, 2017

Democrats won big on November 7, 2017. Last night hope won, tolerance won, diversity won, WOMEN won, suburban and exurban voters won, Medicaid and Medicare won, Obamacare won, Progressives and Democrats won. Who lost? Hate, bigotry, demagogy, and fear lost – Trump and the Republicans lost.

Virginia was the big story! Virginians voted in races for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, and the state legislature on Tuesday. Democrats won all three of the top seats. Of the state’s 100 seats in the House of Delegates, the chamber is now likely to be controlled by Democrats, 50 to 49 with 1 seat still too close to call.

Of the 14 seats Democrats flipped in Virginia, all were held by men and 10 were won by women. And two of those women, both from Prince William County, became the first Latinas elected to the General Assembly. Northern VA journalist Danica Roem became the first openly transgender candidate elected to a state legislature in the nation.

Democrats also won the Governor’s mansion in New Jersey and the mayoral race in New York. Washington State is now strongly blue with a Democratic-led legislature and Governor. In Georgia Democrats flipped three GOP held legislative seats, breaking a Republican super-majority. All across America there was a tidal wave that brought in progressives, Democrats, and women to the forefront. It was clear that the Republican brand was simply toxic.

Congratulations to the 60 plus volunteers who phoned, texted, and HOPED at the WNDC on November 6 and to all the volunteers who worked tirelessly for weeks and months before this momentous election. We also salute those who took to the suburbs and exurbs, as well as rural areas, of battleground states to ensure a record-breaking number of voters spoke their minds. According to the Washington Post, women made the difference! They organized, they ran, they voted, and they WON.

Democrats will need to gain 24 seats to take control of the US House of Representatives in 2018. We have the momentum to make this a romp!

Nuchhi Currier

October 18, 2017

With dozens of women leveling allegations of sexual assault and harassment against film executive Harvey Weinstein, this issue has suddenly moved center-stage. The virility of power is no longer in question. The fact that Donald Trump was elected president after bragging about sexually assaulting women also suggests that powerful men still routinely get forgiven for serious transgressions, including serial sexual assault, harassment, and other predatory behavior. While this morally bankrupt candidate now sits in the White House playing fast and loose with our lives, a brilliant, highly qualified, experienced woman became the ultimate victim of misogyny.

This abhorrent behavior of Weinstein and Trump is not new of course. Media outlets along the spectrum from newspapers to cable television have long been preoccupied with the sordid sex lives of wealthy, influential men. Clarence Thomas, Bill Cosby, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Julian Assange, Dennis Hastert, Bill Clinton, John Travolta, Mark Foley, Mike Tyson, Rob Lowe, Woody Allen, to name only a few, and professional athletes too numerous to mention. Our fascination with scandal and sleaze hides the seriousness of corruption and crimes of rape and other sexual abuse, most often perpetrated on younger women by older men.

The policy of see no evil, hear no evil, and, especially, report no evil, combined with denial and often disbelief, ensures that powerful men are reflexively believed when they profess innocence. Or, at the very least, they are given a pass. Famous and successful men also have extra protection. They have favors to bestow, leading to acquiescence – most often unhappy acquiescence — by their victims. Those aware of these attacks by bosses and colleagues are often reluctant to speak out because of fear, self-interest, and, in many cases, hypocrisy. In addition, for many victims of sexual harassment and assault, fear of retribution leads to their silence.

We know abuse of women is not the prerogative of the rich and famous. Thousands of women are abused each day by a wide range of perpetrators, including taxi drivers, office workers, family members, and friends. However, the economic power imbalance contributes disproportionately to this phenomenon we see manifested in these high profile cases.

If we want to live in a world where women are respected and workers are protected, we need to get past the titillation of each unfolding scandal. We need to pursue a serious solution.

Getting more women into politics and into the corporate sector at the highest level should help make sexual harassment and assault more rare in these workplace settings. But we need formal policies as well. The private sector appears to be attempting to change this exploitative culture more readily than politicians or those involved with media, show-biz, or the mega sports industries.

We have precedents on how we can change cultural norms and abhorrent practices. Overtly racist remarks, once commonplace, have become much more rare, as fewer such remarks go unchallenged. Similarly, homophobic remarks seem to be on the wane. (One caveat here: It appears that both racist and homophobic remarks have become more widespread since the November election.) For misogynist remarks to become déclassé, the many men who have publicly declared themselves disgusted by Mr. Trump’s words and actions need to make a serious break with the norm. “Boys will be boys” should no longer cut it as a rationale.

This new attention to the sexual victimization of women is a welcome step towards ultimate redress but we should question why we’re having the same conversation in 2017 that we had back in the 1970s. We are talking about sheer male privilege, as it intersects with privilege of other kinds, e.g., class, economic status, color, culture, etc. Whether we focus on specific offenders, or the banality of the misogyny perpetrated by “good guys,” and the culture of complicity that sustains them, our silence is key to maintaining powerful men’s reputation and power.

Let us break this silence. Let us exercise some agency and acquire an essential sense of entitlement to say ENOUGH. To say NO, even though we are afraid of the consequences. Courage and a justified sense of outrage are essential to reporting crimes and demanding retribution and justice.

Nuchhi Currier

October 5, 2017

This happened while you weren’t looking. The diversion of inane tweets, hurled insults, and a pre-occupied media are the perfect cover for nefarious acts.

The latest of these occurred in the House of Representatives, which passed legislation Tuesday, October 3, 2017, that criminalizes abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The vote was 237 for and 189 against, largely along party lines. An action that failed in 2013 and 2015 this time around has support from both the President and Vice President.

“The administration strongly supports H.R. 36, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and applauds the House of Representatives for continuing its efforts to secure critical pro-life protections.” This was the statement issued by a White House that remained criminally silent for days on waiving the Jones Act that might have saved countless “born” lives and helped to avert an humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico.

It is tragic that we are pushing legislation that “will respect the sanctity of life and stop needless suffering” of UNBORN fetuses as we remain blind and deaf to the suffering of the LIVING amongst us who are denied justice and opportunities to live full, healthy, productive lives.

While this bill faces an uncertain future in the Senate, it is time for an uproar from women and all progressives to ensure our leaders don’t throw us under the bus. Once again, largely old white men are trying to exercise control over the bodies and will of women.

“This dangerous, out-of-touch legislation is nothing more than yet another attempt to restrict women’s access to safe, legal abortion,” said a spokesperson from Planned Parenthood.

And, further, as NARAL Pro-Choice America points out, “Bans on abortion care after 20 weeks are a blatant attempt to deny women their constitutional rights.”

These constitutional rights are in ever greater peril under this administration as Neil Gorsuch’s appointment to the Supreme Court is viewed as a win for the anti-abortion forces throughout the country. We need to be vigilant and make our voices heard.

Nuchhi Currier

(Note: More information about the 20-week abortion ban, on both the federal and state level, is available from NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund.)

October 3, 2017

And we mourn again today. We mourn the countless dead and wounded in Las Vegas, Nevada. Not at the hands of the destruction unleashed by forces of nature or the targeting by foreign militants, but the chilling and deliberate killing by one of us – a white man with guns. Why do we remain silent as we witness a slow-motion massacre unfolding before us? Ordinary people’s lives are in danger. From school shootings to crowd-carnage, we are becoming anesthetized to this very real danger in our midst. Firearm regulation, or the lack thereof, is now a serious public health and safety issue.

Twenty years of government-funded research has shown several effective ways to address the issue of gun violence. Among these efforts, which need political support and a bit of money, are:

  •       Assault-weapons ban
  •       Universal background checks
  •       A national push to curb urban violence

There are about 300 million privately owned firearms in the US – that works out to about one gun for every American. The US has the highest gun ownership in the world, followed by Yemen. We are the most powerfully armed civilian population. Most Americans don’t own guns though. Most gun-owners own more than two firearms. Gun ownership is higher among whites than blacks; higher in the country than in the city; higher among older people. Due to the inaction of Congress, anyone on the terrorism watch list can buy a gun. Any felon, convict, or suspect can buy a gun as well.

So, yes, people’s lives are in danger, and we do need to make America safe again. But it’s not by fixating solely on our narrow definition of terrorism. Between 2001 and 2013, 3,030 people were killed in terrorist attacks on U.S. soil — a number that includes the terrible toll of September 11, 2001, according to University of Maryland data. But during that same time frame, records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 406,496 people were killed by gunfire.

And yet the power of the gun lobby is on the rise. Since 1980, 44 states have passed gun laws allowing concealed weapons. A federal ban in 1994 to possess, transfer, or manufacture semi-automatic assault weapons was allowed to expire in 2004. Twenty-four states have passed “Stand Your Ground” laws allowing citizens to use deadly force if they think they are in danger of being assaulted.

Adding another potential danger is the SHARE Act (Sportsman’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act) currently before Congress. Among other things, it would make it easier to buy silencers to disguise the sound of gunfire. The tragedy in Las Vegas likely would have been even worse if the shooter had used a silencer.

Forty percent of guns purchased in America are bought from private sellers at gun shows, or through classified ads – thus creating an unregulated marketplace. One in three Americans knows someone who has been shot. “We live in a society now that is Balkanized,” claims David Keene, past president of the NRA. “But that has nothing to do with guns.” Really, sir?

Former Chief Justice Warren Burger got it right. “The new interpretation of the Second Amendment was one of the greatest pieces of fraud on the American public by special-interest groups,” he said.

It is time to address this fraud, to right this wrong. It is time for our nation to wake up to the very real and present danger that lurks in our society and flourishes in plain sight.

Nuchhi Currier

September 19, 2017

September 26 is National Voter Registration Day. The strength of American democracy depends on the ability of citizens to exercise their fundamental right to vote. Instead of pursuing the myth of voter fraud and encouraging tougher restrictions on voting, the Trump administration should be intervening to stop voter suppression. And we should all be actively registering new voters in our districts to expand the electorate.

In the wake of the Charlottesville White Supremacist March and the ensuing melee, it is hard to deny that an ill wind is assuming hurricane proportions as it blows in prejudice and discrimination leading to disenfranchisement of the most vulnerable. The specter of voter fraud was often invoked in the segregation era as an excuse to crack down on the rights of blacks and other minorities, and so it is being widely invoked today.

In the 2008 election, racially coded appeals, including insinuations that Obama was not a natural-born citizen, and that infiltrators had stolen in over the Mexican border to ensure his victory at the ballot box, threatened the legitimacy of the electoral process. This rhetoric has again taken hold in the public’s imagination, nowhere more evident than in the 2016 election and the demonstrably false statements of the current president.

Over decades, states across the country have passed laws and instituted other procedures to make it harder for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, other minorities, the elderly, students, the poor, and people with disabilities to vote. These measures include restrictive photo ID laws, purging of voter rolls, limitations on early voting, felon disenfranchisement, disinformation about voting procedures (robocalls giving false information), inequality in Election Day resources, closure of DMV offices, voter caging, gerrymandering, Jim Crow laws, and long wait-times at polling stations.

Twenty states have passed new restrictive voting laws since 2010, and 14 states had such laws come into effect for the first time in 2016.  On average, African American voters are required to wait in line for twice as long as white voters; Hispanic voters spend one and a half times as long. A Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies report estimated that “long lines deterred at least 730,000 Americans from voting in November 2012.”

The 2016 election was the first presidential election since the Shelby County v Holder decision in 2013, in which the U.S. Supreme Court effectively gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Although the results of that decision on the 2016 election are still being debated, studies have consistently shown that strict voter ID laws alone can reduce voter turnout enough to effect a close election, particularly with newly registered voters, young voters, and voters of color.

We have to consistently debunk the Trump Administration’s baseless claims of voter fraud. The President’s so-called “Commission on Election Integrity” should be called out for what it is: a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. There is no evidence that voter fraud occurs on any appreciable scale. This commission is a futile attempt to justify the President’s groundless claims that millions of people voted illegally. And it paves the way for future, even more widespread, voter suppression.

While voter registration is not a solution per se to the problems of widespread voter suppression, it is an essential part of our democratic process. To learn how to participate in National Voter Registration Day, go to https://nationalvoterregistrationday.org.

Nuchhi Currier

September 6, 2017

The dreamers just woke up from a nightmare. Kids who grew up knowing no other country but the U.S., kids who had bought into the American dream, kids who grew up to work in nearly every company in America, to serve in the military, and most recently put themselves in harm’s way to save victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, have just been thrown under the bus. They stand to lose their jobs, their right to call this country their own as mass deportations loom based upon information they volunteered to the government with the promise it would never be used against them or their families.

Donald J. Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to fulfill a heartless election campaign pledge. Chief of Staff John Kelly’s “inelegant solution” tossed an “unpinned hand grenade at Capitol Hill Republicans,” according to one official. There is a definite pattern that Mr. Trump has established in recent months — postponing consequential decisions on contentious topics, leaving it to others to articulate a final position while trying to dodge the bullet himself.

This particular decision is both cruel and inhumane.

With Congress set to juggle many major tasks over the next month  — including providing disaster funding for victims of Hurricane Harvey, raising the debt ceiling, passing a budget, and addressing the White House’s push for tax reform — it’s unclear how much political capital GOP leaders can expend on this issue. And the legislative branch has an abysmal track record of passing any consequential bill.

Mr. Trump has proved that he is soft on convictions. But his hard-line policy advisers, Stephen Miller, Attorney General Sessions, and his still-influential former chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, are not. They believe that a complete and immediate shutdown of the DACA program is essential to fulfill the president’s campaign pledges.

So, Mr. Trump, you build those walls; strip people of their rights; take away their hard-won entitlements; deprive them of healthcare; restore discriminatory practices; create anxiety, confusion, and anarchy  — all in the service of white male supremacy and the sanctity of campaign promises. The state of the union is being rent asunder, the fabric of society is in tatters as you continue your assault on our most cherished democratic values.

Nuchhi Currier

August 17, 2017

Why are we protesting the events of August 12, 2017? Why does the fact that our country elected an overt white supremacist strike terror in our hearts – a man who spent years trying to prove that a non-white president had to prove his legitimacy by producing his birth certificate? What does it say about our future when the ruling elite tries desperately to tarnish the legacy of a dignified, qualified, brilliant statesman and president like Barack Obama? Why do we lament the rise of overt misogyny by the white men who are strengthening their hold on our country’s levers of power?

Why was it important for the Charlottesville City Council to vote to remove a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from what was then called Robert E. Lee Park? This question has been obscured by the pace of events since August 11. The bigotry, hatred, intolerance and violence that was unleashed by this act can be traced to Civil War rhetoric and the empowerment of fringe extremist groups by the current Administration. Chants of “White Lives Matter” and the Nazi-sponsored phrase “blood and soil” rent the air when white nationalists marched through the UVA campus, provoking both fury and fear in those who thought the US had begun to leave the bloody and shameful legacy of slavery and discrimination behind.

August 12, 2017, will be remembered as a day of shame and ignominy forever in the annals of US history. The culmination of the day-long violence between marauding supremacists and marching protesters was the murder of Heather Heyer, who became a victim of a white terrorist as he drove his car into the protesting crowd. Once again a woman paid a price for her courage.

James Alex Fields Jr. of Maumee, Ohio, has been charged with murder. But there were far too many James’ in the crowd with murder in their hearts. The president’s denunciation of these hate-filled cowards was too little and came too late. He calls racism evil but condones it at every step. His tacit encouragement of white terrorists, even as he equates white supremacists with those who oppose them, shames us in the eyes of our country and the world. The United States of America stands for equality and liberty. It stands for justice, domestic tranquility and the general welfare of ALL citizens. Our elected leaders – and all Americans – need to speak with one voice to denounce not only the actions of white supremacists but also of this president. Only then can we begin to heal the still raw wounds of our past.   

Nuchhi Currier

January 23, 2017

It is the day after the Women’s March on Washington (WMW). Two days after the Inauguration of an unpopular president whose words and actions and cabinet picks have galvanized a vast majority of the nation. Especially women. Not only in this country but across the world. The call to action by women came days after the election results.  A retired woman in Hawaii floated the idea of a Million-Woman-March. And it went viral.  Four enterprising young women took that idea and ran with it.  With a less than two-month lead time, grass-roots community organizing resulted in a stunning success.  Over 1.2 million women rallied and marched in our nation’s capital on January 21. Worldwide the number is closer to 5 million. These results have broken all previous records and will be entered in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Why was this March so successful? The answer is complex. The fear of a conservative takeover of the laws of this country is palpable and very real.  Climate change and environmental issues are under attack.  Women’s right to choose is threatened. As Dani Rodrick wrote in the New York Times: “The real danger Mr. Trump poses is the undermining of our politics — the norms that sustain our liberal democracies. His campaign was based on a divisive politics of identity. Ideals of equity, equal rights, diversity and inclusion were submerged under the weight of a rhetoric that raised racial and ethnic tensions and inflamed passions against imagined enemies — Mexican immigrants, Chinese exporters, Muslim refugees.”

Not only are we looking at the possibility of the dissolution of checks and balances, of regulations either being slackened or removed, ethics laws being defanged but we feel that rule of law is seriously threatened. Civil discourse has flown out of the window. The Affordable Care Act is in serious jeopardy, with a real danger of tens of millions of people losing healthcare benefits. And Mr. Trump is unlikely to be able to fulfill his promise to raise the living standards of his base. He may have to resort to an intensified form of the identity politics that he exploited so successfully during his presidential campaign, leading to a future where ethnic and racial cleavages grow wider.

And so what do we do now?  The March is over. It is now time for action.  Hundreds of progressive organizations are gearing up to face this challenge.  The mantra: March Today, Lobby Tomorrow is resonating across the country.  Advocacy, training and civic engagement are the new buzz-words.  During the three days leading up to the March we provided workshops on climate change, human rights and Islamophobia, Middle East policy and criminal justice reform. We are now teaming up with different grass-roots organizations to effect policy change through Congress and the Administration. We have initiated a conversation with the organizers of the March to harness the enthusiasm and commitment of their legions of supporters to lobby Congress.

Before we come up with a comprehensive and specific plan in concert with other progressive partners, we all agree on one thing.  Each one of us, you and me, need to CALL the following number each day: 202-224-3121.  It connects to a Congressional office where you will instantly be redirected to the congressman’s office you want to reach.  Who should you call and about what?  Each day you can go to the Friends Committee on National Legislation’s website (fcnl.org).  Look under “Act Online” to find out which congressional office to target on the issue of the day.  The laws being debated, the issues you are passionate about, the congressman or senator you want to influence, all that information will be readily available.

This is a historic moment for action and activism.  Let’s move together in concert. And make history again.

Nuchhi Currier

January 16, 2017

The Woman’s National Democratic Club (WNDC) continues its legacy of pressing for women’s and girls’ empowerment by participating actively in the Women’s March on Washington (WMW).  We see this not so much as a protest but as a promise for future action.

WNDC has become the official Partner and Clubhouse for the WMW, and is offering four days of programs (January 18-21) that support our mutual goals (see: www.womensmarchevents.com). WNDC founding members marched to ensure the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, and so we shall march again to honor our mothers and to secure the future of our daughters.

We stand for peace, justice and equality. We promise to sustain the momentum created by this march into the next day and the long haul. We believe that successful movements are everyday acts of resistance.

Nuchhi Currier

November 11, 2016

This much-anticipated week is now ending. Americans went to the polls on Tuesday with the generally accepted conventional wisdom that it would be a close race with Hillary Clinton the likely winner.  In Washington, Virginia, New York, Nevada, California, and Utah that prediction came true.   The other states, including some key swing states, slowly started to show an alarming trend.  By about 1.30 am on the 9th the results were shockingly clear.  The Republican candidate, Donald Trump had an unmistakable lead.

We at the Woman’s National Democratic Club had been a major hub for Democratic campaign activities.  In the last two months thousands of activists and well-wishers had been streaming in, all day and all night, to engage in GOTV activities. Judging by the enthusiasm and commitment of these volunteers and just the sheer numbers it was hard to imagine that Election Day results would not go for Clinton. Many members fanned out in key battleground states to knock on doors.  Spirits were high and hope was alive.

So what happened on November 8?  The ground shifted beneath the feet of not only committed Democrats but also the Republican campaign itself.  Against all odds, Donald Trump won the presidency and his party retained control of the Senate.  The Democrats picked up two more seats in the Senate ensuring a narrowly divided body. The House was never in serious play anyway.  So now Republicans control Congress and the White House.

As Democrats emerge from this seismic shock and results become clear it is time to take stock.  Voter turnout was only 53%.  Of these 25.6% voted for Clinton and 25.5% voted for Trump. Clinton got 10 million less votes than Obama in 2008 and 6 million less than in 2012.  In the Electoral College Trump got a clear victory.

Some commonly held truisms got debunked.  The economically disenfranchised were not the only ones that elected Trump, the wealthy played their part. Think tax policy.  Captains of industry were solidly in this camp.  Another group that voted for Trump over Clinton were older Americans. 58% of the White vote went to Trump. Shockingly 53% of the White women’s vote went to him too.  Cuban Americans voted for Trump.  Thus, on the Democratic side the overall women’s vote (53% to 41%), the 68% Hispanic vote, the 88% Black vote and 68% of the Jewish vote turned out to be insufficient to ensure victory.

The Democratic Party will now try to figure out why they missed the signs.  Why was the media misled?  Why were the pollsters and pundits all wrong?  And then figure out where to go from here.

The stunned members of the WNDC who had been waiting to pop champagne bottles before midnight on Tuesday are slowly coming back to life.  The questions they are asking are many.  How could a message of hate, misogyny and divisiveness win over one of clear-eyed competence and experience?  What did we do wrong and what do we do now.

The answer lies in positive thinking and regrouping.  There are many groups of women who are now feeling rudderless and dispirited.  We need to invite them in and discuss clear strategies as we move forward.  We need to see this as an opportunity.  On Election night dozens of guests promised to join the club to help us in our efforts on behalf of Democratic women.  We need to devise a clear plan to energize our base.  Protests will not bring the desired results, activism will.  We have an opportunity to become a hub for progressive forces by opening our doors to other groups.  Some have already approached us.  We can do with them what we achieved with the DNC and Hillary-related groups prior to the election.  It is time to shake off our grief and move forward with determination.  We are in a unique position to start a movement to ensure success for women and for Democrats in the years ahead.  As we approach our 100th anniversary we want to be in the same powerful position as when we started on this journey with the Suffragists.  We reiterate our commitment to globalism, multiculturalism and diversity. And we need to do all we can ensure success for the Democratic Party and democratic principles in the coming years.

Nuchhi Currier