The Tragic Loss of Life in Las Vegas

Our hearts, like so many across the country, are broken over the tragic loss of life in Las Vegas, and we stand in Solidarity with all of the dead, the wounded, and their families. It is hard to comprehend how one individual could be both willing and able to harm so many others.

It has not gone unnoticed that the mass shooting set a new record in the shameful and unique American tradition of gun violence. As a party that affirms the sanctity of all human life, from conception to natural death, we recognize that addressing gun violence is a pro-life issue.

Therefore, as advocates for the protection of all human life, we call upon lawmakers to put aside partisan differences and find common ground upon which to develop common sense solutions to the national gun violence epidemic. This is not the first time a horrified American public has demanded action, yet so often proposed solutions fall apart due to partisan quibbling and the tugs of special interest groups that do not represent even a plurality of Americans. While we recognize that there are no easy answers, we call upon leaders at all levels of government to work together in good faith to enact measures consistent with the Constitution to prevent more bloodshed.

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Solidarity with Puerto Rico

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding on the island of Puerto Rico. Our fellow Americans, already reeling from the buffeting winds of numerous hurricanes and tropical storms, are experiencing a truly incredible level of destruction to the infrastructure necessary for a secure and safe existence. Millions of American citizens have been left without access to water, electricity, shelter, communication, and food. The population of Puerto Rico is especially vulnerable to the disintegration of common services as nearly half is below the poverty line and its government is already burdened with crippling debt. There is no feasible means by which the people and government of Puerto Rico can overcome this situation on their own.
The American Solidarity Party, in accordance with the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, calls upon the federal government of the United States to expand and redouble its efforts to address the needs of its citizens. We stand in solidarity with the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, and particularly with the vulnerable populations whose voicelessness and neglect is often magnified in tragedy. We further call for extensive investment in the infrastructure of Puerto Rico, both to address the current crisis and to shield its people from the same in the future. We acknowledge our responsibility to speak up for the people of Puerto Rico who have no representation in our government and thus cannot speak up for themselves.
To the people of Puerto Rico: Your suffering is our suffering. Your burden is our burden. Your debts are our debts.
We also encourage voluntary charity to address the immediate crisis. Click here for a list of ways you can personally help click here

Another way you can help Puerto Ricans in solidarity is to petition the President to waive the Jones Act for humanitarian purposes, to help aid and supplies from around the world reach the island more quickly. Sign the petition here

Statement on DACA

The American Solidarity Party calls on President Trump and Congress to work diligently and quickly to pass legislation guaranteeing a path to United States citizenship for eligible “Dreamers” – immigrants who were brought to this country illegally as children.

 

Called ‘Dreamers’, these are students, lawyers, non-profit pioneers, human resource directors, police officers, teachers, parents, and firefighters. They are our neighbors and our friends. They arrived as children, pursued an education, pursued careers, bonded with their communities, had relationships, and many had children. These are the more than 790,000 individuals who have sought to remain in the United States through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, commonly referred to as DACA. Now, as President Trump announces that he will repeal DACA, their futures are uncertain and terrifying. Many face job loss and deportation to countries that most cannot remember, countries where they may not speak the language, and countries that are overrun by violence. They face leaving behind their homes, their families, their children, all that they have worked for; the very American dream they learned about side by side with their peers in American public schools. They face punishment for a crime they did not commit, and that they had no control over.

Justice demands that Congress finally take action on House and Senate bills introduced early this year, in order to guarantee a path to citizenship for our neighbors and members of our communities. These bills having been sitting in both houses on Congress with little to no action, despite months of threats to the DACA program.

Human dignity likewise demands that President Trump not endanger nearly a million hard-working and dedicated individuals whose only goals are to become American citizens and to realize their full potential in the country in which they were raised, a country they love. By passing the responsibility to Congress, he fails the very real human beings whose individual stories inspire those around them.

Finally, the American Solidarity Party calls on all citizens to contact their Congressional representatives. Be the voice for your neighbors and friends who cannot speak on their own behalf. Make it clear that this is a dream that can no longer be deferred. The time for action is now. Action from the President, action from Congress, and action from every citizen.

On the Pardon of Sheriff Arpaio

The American Solidarity party stands for the rule of law, the dignity of all, and the use of the legal system to promote and protect that human dignity. This fundamental stance forces us to speak out against the Presidential pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio. This pardon promotes and protects unlawful discrimination. The pardon also reveals the misapplication of proper pardon powers, using it to excuse law-breaking by the powerful and well-connected, corrupting its original design.

The preamble to the Civil Rights plank of our American Solidarity Party platform states: “We believe in the vigorous enforcement of civil liberties enshrined in the Bill of Rights. We believe that the persistence of unjust discrimination in our society must be acknowledged and addressed. The state has a role to play in protecting marginalized groups from unjust discrimination, and should pay particular attention to the effect that policy proposals will have on vulnerable and marginalized groups.”

The American Solidarity Party also is a strong proponent of holding law enforcement accountable for respecting civil rights. Our platform expressess our support for: “Measures to increase transparency and trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, including the use of body cameras and civilian review boards, models of community policing, and the diversification of local police forces. “ Fair law enforcement is effective law enforcement.

As Maricopa County Sheriff, Arpaio was found to have unlawfully detained individuals based on their immigration status. These actions were a violation of the law because as a state official Arpaio had no authority to enforce federal immigration laws. Therefore, any detention of individuals based on their federal immigration status by a state official, such as Arpaio, was unlawful.

He was repeatedly ordered by federal courts to discontinue this unlawful practice. When he continued, in repeated defiance of these federal court orders, he was charged with criminal contempt. There is nothing in the public record that indicates this conviction was the least bit unfair or unwarranted or that his six-month jail sentence for his brazen defiance of law was excessive. It appears as a measured response to an abuse of power.

Yet President Trump exercised his constitutional pardon powers to vacate the ruling of a federal judge and relieve Arpaio of the imposed criminal sanctions. Such a pardon is unwarranted in light of Arpaio’s repeated efforts to adopt and enforce discriminatory law enforcement practices and thumb his nose at the judiciary that sought to restrain him. Such a Presidential action can only embolden other foes of civil rights laws.

This application of pardon powers also requires us to speak out on the broader concern of how pardon powers are being applied by the modern Presidency. Unfortunately, this is not the only example among recent Presidents applying this power only to assist the well-off or well -connected.

As a Party of Solidarity, we encourage the selective use of Presidential pardon powers as an instrument of justice. Properly applied, pardon powers can promote justice by mitigating the occasions of excessive harshness by the system of justice or provide a second chance to the deserving and sincerely contrite caught up in the wheels of the criminal justice system. Our system of justice is great but ultimately human and, therefore, imperfect. It needs mitigating tools to soften its edges, such as pardon and clemency. But that application requires equality under the law. All, regardless of wealth, status or fame, or lack thereof, should be subject to equal consideration for the exercise of these mitigating measures.

When Presidents use these powers to pardon their political cronies or favored donors, the pardon powers are corrupted. Trump’s application of powers in this particular instance reflects a contempt for the Constitution. The separation of powers requires the Executive to respect the ability of the Judiciary to apply and interpret the law. Trump, in this case, has usurped the rightful role of the judiciary to ensure that its court orders are enforced. We call for a reexamination across the board of how the Presidential pardon system operates. It must be used to advance justice, not thwart it.

Solidarity with Houston

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

-Helen Keller

As the remnants of Hurricane Harvey continue to hover over the gulf coast, threatening an already besieged area with even more rain, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, and helpless.  Yet, emerging from the floodwaters we see the true spirit of Solidarity.  Neighbors helping neighbors, first responders working twenty-four hour shifts to rescue people who are stranded, companies opening their doors to those who have lost their homes, people from across the country rushing to help – bringing boats, and food, and diapers.   This spirit of Solidarity cannot keep back the seemingly relentless rain, but it reminds us that we are not alone, and that we are not helpless.  

 

The American Solidarity Party stands with the people of Houston, Corpus Christi, Rockport, and the entire Gulf Coast region.  We call on our members and we ask the entire nation to each help in their own way.   Please send your prayers, and if possible, consider donating to help with a recovery that will be measured in months and years.  Consider opening your home to a displaced family.  If you live in other parts of Texas, donate blood.  Mostly, stay with people affected.  As this long week stretches on, and rains continue as late as Wednesday or Thursday – do not turn away or change the channel.  Continue your prayers, continue your donations, continue your Solidarity.    

For places to donate and ways to help please click here.

 

Thanks, and prayers,

Amy Foster-Munoz

Secretary, National Committee

Houstonian, and proud Texan

 

Photo from Houston Chronicle.

Statement on the Terror in Charlottesville

August 14, 2017

As a nation we are shocked and saddened by the acts of terror that unfolded in Charlottesville, Virginia last Friday and Saturday. They strike me personally very close to home. I am an alumna of the University of Virginia School of Law (class of 2004), and the three years I spent living in Charlottesville were delightful and formative. It was there that I first had the opportunity to engage daily in thoughtful and civil discussion of opposing ideas. It is the culture of this university to share a stage, a smile, and a beer with one’s political “opponents.” I still have several friends living in Charlottesville, including Mayor Michael Signer, who was the President of the UVA chapter of the American Constitution Society at the same time I was President of the Federalist Society, so we planned a number of joint discussion/debate events together. I also have at least one friend who was participating in the counter-protest this past weekend, someone I consider a reliable eyewitness to these horrifying events.

It should go without saying that white supremacists, the alt-right, and certainly neo-Nazis have no place in a party with “solidarity” in its name. As the sure-to-become-iconic photo of the neo-Nazi plowing his car into a sea of pedestrians shows literally and figuratively, this act of terror was aimed straight at the sign of Solidarity. At its heart, solidarity is the recognition that we are all brothers and sisters in our common humanity. The term originated among 19th century theologians, who used it to signify not only our shared dignity as persons bearing the image and likeness of God, but also our collective responsibility to each other to share both material and spiritual goods. Solidarity is intrinsically opposed to tribalism, to selfishness, and to attacks on the equal dignity of all human persons.

Murder and the murderous ideology of Nazism are the diabolical opposite of solidarity. White supremacy—or any assertion of supremacy for that matter—is incompatible with solidarity. The term “alt-right” is a more slippery one, and intentionally so. I have many times encountered articles about the alt-right as well as persons online who call themselves alt-right, but there is no centralizing identity and no two accounts of this phenomenon are the same. The best way I can describe the alt-right from these encounters is a nihilistic collection of Internet bullies and saboteurs whose only commonality is contempt for advocates of social justice. Again, this is definitionally opposed to solidarity.

In my opinion it is not enough, if we are to be true to our name of the American Solidarity Party, to merely condemn ideas that are our antithesis. We must positively work toward building solidarity. We must, as our platform says, acknowledge and address the persistence of unjust discrimination in our society, and pay particular attention to the effect that policies have on vulnerable and marginalized groups. We must examine our own consciences for subtler ways we fail to recognize and promote the equal dignity of other persons. To be true to our core principles as a party, we must speak and act as if we believe in the necessity of social justice, and promote a more peaceful world.

In Solidarity,

H. Lillian Vogl
Chairwoman of the National Committee of the American Solidarity Party

Travel Bans

June 27, 2017

The American Solidarity Party affirms the responsibility of governments to protect citizens, but we believe that national security can be reconciled with compassion for those fleeing violence and persecution. We appreciate the Supreme Court’s ruling to allow certain individuals to continue arriving, but we remain gravely concerned by the President’s ongoing efforts to implement stringent travel and refugee bans. We are especially disturbed by the inclusion of Syria on the list of banned countries, due to the intensity of the conflict, growing casualty rate, and extreme number of displaced men, women, and children. We will continue to stand in solidarity with all migrants and refugees, and look forward to a final decision from the Supreme Court in October.

Healthcare Statement

Statement on Senate Bill “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017”

June 27th, 2017

The American Solidarity Party believes that universal access to affordable, essential health care services is fundamental to securing every person’s right to life and human dignity from conception to natural death. While we recognize that there are a variety of viable systems for achieving universal healthcare, there can be no compromising on the goal of universal coverage, or on the principle of protecting the most vulnerable members of our communities.

The latest healthcare bill to emerge from the Senate represents yet another drastic failure by the Republican Congressional leadership to protect all American citizens. In the name of lowering health insurance premiums for those who are relatively healthy, this bill would make changes that leave 22 million more Americans uninsured, according to the official non-partisan Congressional Budget Office analysis. In order to give tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and fund more military and defense spending, it would cut federal funds for Medicaid by hundreds of billions of dollars. These are the funds that provide healthcare for our lowest income citizens, and long-term care for the disabled and elderly poor.

The so-called improvements in the Senate bill, as compared with the House bill, appear to primarily benefit insurance companies. The Senate bill increases subsidies available to purchase private health insurance for some Americans above the poverty line, but much of this money would end up in the hands of insurance companies instead of increasing access to care. To add insult to the already injurious bill, the Senate is also reportedly adding a six-month lock-out period for anyone who has more than a 63 day gap in coverage—a potentially deadly penalty for anyone struggling with unemployment or underemployment, who suddenly find themselves facing a costly illness.

While we acknowledge there are flaws in the Affordable Care Act that need to be addressed, we call on Senators to reject any approach that moves away from universal access to affordable essential health services. It is time to put partisan posturing and ideological shibboleths aside and work toward non-partisan solutions that will protect the most vulnerable, and indeed all Americans, from preventable death and suffering.

Principled Resistance

The American Solidarity Party stands for a consistently pro-life political program dedicated to defending human life and dignity from conception to natural death. We stand for a politics of solidarity, particularly with the poor and vulnerable, expressed as much as possible through decentralized, interpersonal methods. This consistent, broad, whole life approach provides a unique and principled, moral alternative to the corrupt power politics of the two major parties. We seek not to be accepted by the political paradigm of right and left, but to reject it in favor of a political reality based outside the dichotomy.

As a party, we are deeply concerned about the trajectory of Donald Trump’s Presidency. A wave of understandable resentment against the corrupt establishment politics of the Democratic Party has swept an unprincipled provocateur to power — a son of privilege who poses disingenuously as the champion of the white working class. While we agree with some of President Trump’s goals, such as his moves to restrict and discourage abortion, we find most of his actions since his taking office to be alarming. We are particularly opposed to his draconian Executive Order Regarding Immigration and Refugees; and in general to his attempts, both as a candidate and as President, to scapegoat immigrants and/or Muslims for perceived problems in American society. We must not, as a society, throw vulnerable people under the bus in the name of “security”. We are also opposed to moves by both President Trump and the Republicans in Congress to scrap the Affordable Care Act without instituting a credible alternative, and in general to take measures that punish the poor and make it harder for them to thrive. Our commitment to defending the unborn goes hand in hand with a commitment to protect the dignity and well-being of those who are already born, and in particular to create conditions that will make women less likely to feel the need to seek the terrible option of abortion.

There are many who will feel that in the name of unity, we must put these concerns aside, or ignore the doubts of our consciences; and while we respect the ideals of their beliefs, we must disagree with the way in which they are expressed. The actions described above, and others like them, are a threat to human dignity. Not just the dignity of those who are targeted, but also of those who accept the actions themselves. As citizens of our country, and as members of a political party dedicated to the Common Good, we will resist by all just and peaceful means available to us. We will speak out, as a party and as individuals. We will build coalitions with other organizations. We will seek out and nominate thoughtful, conscientious candidates who are willing to stand against the overwhelming historical tide of partisan politics. We are, as an organization, committed not to conciliatory acceptance and acquiescence, but to principled, peaceful opposition and resistance to the actions of any administration, national or local, that violate our core principles of human life, human dignity, social justice, and environmental responsibility. The very rise of this party itself began as a means of peaceful opposition to the corruption that came before, and the bleak reality of an election season marked by acrimonious censure of all measured viewpoints, and moderate ideas. Now is not the time to merely hope for better days, we must rededicate ourselves to a sincere and constant mission to achieve them.

This is a moment of decision in American history, and the history of the American Solidarity Party. The Trump Presidency is a symptom, not the cause, of a deep, divisive malaise in American public life, stemming from the loss of the concept of the common good. Americans are separated from their neighbors and divided from their communities. We are committed, as a party, to defending the Common Good against threats from both sides of the conventional political spectrum. We will not allow anything to compromise that vision.

Response to Executive order on migrants and refugees

On January 28th, 2017, the American Solidarity Party released this statement in solidarity with refugees and others impacted by President Trump’s recent executive actions on migration.

President Trump recently signed an executive order that bans the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for at least 90 days, even if they already have valid U.S. visas or are legal permanent U.S. residents. In addition, he has suspended the entry of all refugees to the U.S. for 120 days and has barred the entry of Syrian refugees indefinitely. President Trump states that these “extreme vetting” measures were established to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of our country. The American Solidarity Party supports the goal of preventing terrorists from reaching our shores; but in these executive orders, President Trump has escalated and exploited a climate of fear that is far disproportionate to the actual threat. National Security and border integrity is an essential duty of government; however, we must refuse to make false choices between security and taking care of the least of those among us. There are options based on common good, common ground, and common sense.

The existing process for refugee vetting is robust and thorough, but we welcome and encourage a review and potential strengthening that respects all people and honors our previous commitments to visa and green card holders. Government should also partner with groups in the U.S. that have experience in dealing with refugees, which would enable smoother transitions for refugees and local communities. We also stand firmly by the practice of giving priority to women, children, those who have been subjected to torture, and the disabled. The smart thing to do and the right thing to do are not mutually exclusive, despite the media and administration’s insistence otherwise.

We applaud the court decision to stay elements of the executive order, but we know that this one action is not enough. Our country can successfully protect its citizens while simultaneously standing in solidarity with the majority of Muslim Nationals, and the scared and huddled masses who mean this country no harm. We stand in solidarity with any person from one of these seven countries who considers the United States a land of opportunity – who desires to live here, work hard, and follow our laws. We stand in solidarity with every refugee who has fled a war-torn country begging for humanitarian assistance, believing that America is a beacon of light and hope to the world. In justice, they deserve a home, and in solidarity, we can offer one.

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