To Bern or Not to Bern!

I am growing weary of the superfluous yet at the same time deeply important clash between the #neverhillary Bernie supporters and the #nevertrump Bernie supporters. I’m not certain the split aligns perfectly with a millennial demographic or not, but somebody is either being somewhat politically naive or is incredibly ideologically pure about something. One puddle of wisdom (from my small reservoir of wisdom) that I have imparted to my millennial daughter on occasion, is that one of the things about life that sucks the most is you will have to sometimes do things you really don’t want to do. I’m pretty sure this is one of those times.

Here’s the thing. There’s a big difference between issues politics and electoral politics. The difference is that in issues politics it is necessary to demand 100% of what you want because that is the only way to get any of what you want. It’s you and your issue versus everybody else and their issue. There are multiple contestants in multiple battles so where you win you stay and where you don’t you move on. In modern electoral politics there are only two contestants (as far as is today’s reality) and the point comes (and it always comes) where you need other people’s supporters on your side to win, because your goal and reward is not a small victory in isolation but a majority victory in a contest decided by everyone. It is not a contest of you versus everyone else but of your coalition versus their coalition.

Compromise of ideologies is necessary in the electoral world and an anathema in the issues world. Many Bernie supporters come from the world of issues politics. They did not previously involve in electoral politics because they had no use for elections unless it directly affected their funding. Other than that they would only pursue an electoral victory if they had a champion for their issue(s). There have been single issues champions throughout the but rarely have there been any special leaders who could coalesce the numerous issues silo activists into a cohesive power bloc.

Issues activists are used to either getting what they want or leaving defeat behind and moving on to the next battle. They make black and white decisions. The concept of joining together in a coalition with the people who just caused you lose, who made you not get what you want, is utterly alien to them and feels dirty and immoral. So it’s not difficult to understand why they have trouble putting together movements. It’s just sad.

This phenomenon works in reverse as well, although people involved in electoral politics usually only drop in to work on issues when they feel burned out and made filthy by the deceits of electoral politics, and want to recharge and cleanse. Someone coming to issues politics from electoral politics will seek coalitions with what they consider to be like minded issues advocates, with similar issues. They don’t quite understand why the other issues groups leave the coalition once they get what they want. Then they remember why they were frustrated with issues activism to begin with and go back to electoral politics. To work in both electoral politics and issues politics concurrently takes some highly skilled compartmentalising, of which not everyone is capable.

This whole broken process has been a bane of the progressive movement for years, because it hasn’t really been a movement at all. It has been a bunch of separate progressive issues oriented advocacy groups all in competition with each other for grants and status and recognition. There is always a lot of rhetoric about coming together as one coherent progressive movement but it always dissolves into jealousy and competition for scarce resources. The scarcity of resources is intentional and part of a greater strategic initiative by right wing tricksters, but that’s another story.

These progressives have only come together in agreement when they have had a messiah figure to rally them. Gene McCarthy, George Mc Govern, Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich, all to widely varying degrees, were able to bring a number of progressives together into some semblance of a movement, enough to have some modest influence on the Democratic Party. Bernie has been the latest, most successful and probably least likely of these standard bearers. The rub is these movements died off with the relevance of their leaders. Without the focus of the strong leader the coalition descends once again into the relative chaos of egotism and economically manipulated competition.

Bernie is, and always has been, aware of this. Warnings about life after Bernie have been clear parts of his speeches from the get go. He has spent most of his time and energy since it became apparent he would not win the nomination imploring that his followers continue on and forge a game changing movement. This is true, and necessary. He has implored them to remember that this is not about him but about us. This is true, and necessary. He has implored us to defeat Donald Trump by any and all means. This is true, and necessary. He is showing and/or reminding us that 30% of 100% is much more than 100% of nothing. This is true, necessary and perhaps his greatest lesson taught.

What I don’t understand is why so many of Bernie’s followers, who have followed him through the crucible of mainstream efforts to get in his way, have now stopped listening to him. Actually I do understand. The messiah has betrayed them. He has not delivered on their issue(s) so they are expressing their rage. They will try another tack later after they get over feeling suckered by promises of glory in a progressive paradise. To be clear though, this type of betrayal is not an unusual occurrence. It is seen, commonly, in the affairs of both parties and is not fixable from the top down. Let me repeat, it is not fixable from the top down but only from the bottom up. This is why Bernie is so adamant that his supporters not run away licking their wounds but stay and fight and elect Clinton despite themselves.

In order to have a bottom up re-evolutionary movement that succeeds the Sanders coalition must stay together and organize. To accomplish this it is critical that the activated millennials not get jaded and cynical and go back to their X-boxes. Bernie is trying his damnedest to impart the knowledge that this whole thing is bigger than him and must survive his primary loss. And the first step towards that accomplishment is to prevent the uniquely American fascism of Trump and his minions from ever getting enough control to do irreparable harm to our nation and thus the globe. That would take generations to recover from.

So listen up kiddos and ex hippies. You think you need an unconditional Bernie electoral victory, when what you really need is for the many wonderful progressive issues activists out there to drop their ego facades, overcome their economic jealousies, and form the powerful progressive movement that has always been there, dormant, and ready to flip the entire political landscape. I can help, but I’m old, as are my beautiful tye dyed peers. The mantel is now being passed from Bernie’s hippie contemporaries to Bernie’s hipster acolytes. We’ll all help actually, if you let us, we’re experienced protesters. And we still know how to roll an English joint.

Here’s a parable for us to end todays sermon. When Mom broke out the Ben and Jerry’s  you told her you wanted 3 scoops of Cherry Garcia. She said no but you can each have a half scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough, because that’s all we have. Do you say no, I know you have some Cherry Garcia in there and it’s either the whole 3 scoops or nothing at all. Or, do you take the cookie dough and get at least a bit of a sweet taste in your mouth. If you all keep bugging mom maybe you’ll get some of that Cherry Garcia next time.

You weren’t that stuck up in school, were you?

I’ve Had It Up To (Even Higher) Here

Ok, here it is. I have claimed before to have given you both barrels. But this comes from an even deeper place inside me. This is the gatling gun of my consciousness. I may not be able to say much for awhile, after these words. I may need to process things for a time.

As I most often do I have allowed recent events to simmer in my heart and mind before responding to them. They have commingled there with many events from over many years, yielding a stinging stew, too salty with tears, and too bitter with anger. I have reached that place where I must say exactly what is in my heart and mind. In America we are allowed the freedom to speak. What follows is my truth. I won’t allow my fear to let it embarrass me any more.

About recent terror, domestic and international, and the accompanying ignorant responses of all kinds. This is not meant as revealing the specifics of defeating al-Dawla, or racism in America, or transgender revulsion or any individual issue of justice. Those are conversations that must be held. But this is about the essential battle of our time, the battle that encompasses these things.

It is no longer enough to tweet that the friends and families of victims are in our prayers. It is no longer enough to put a translucent french flag over our Facebook profile pics. Or rainbow flag. Or post clever and inspirational quotes over idyllic scenes of beauty. Or admonish each other to think positive thoughts. It is no longer good enough to say that islamophobia and all other xenophobia is wrong. It is unacceptable to analyze, criticize, and then sign off, unaccompanied by any alternative.

However good those things may be, and most are good and worthwhile things, they are not enough. They let us off the hook by allowing us to feel good about ourselves. We talk a good game but those flimsy actions let us avoid the real work of destroying violence as the preferred way of resolving conflict between humans, and between groups of humans. That’s hard work. Sorry to offend but it’s much harder than posting a tweet. As good as many of those previous things are we need to stand, like at Tiannanmen Square, in front of the tank, instead of in the relative safety of the crowd.

We need to act. All the isms must die. All the boundaries between us must fall. If we must fight this war, this war against the ills fostered through ignorance, of all kinds, in all places, we must fight with the weapons of truth, knowledge, power, and love. Truth is knowledge, knowledge is light, light is power, power is existence, existence is life, life is love, love is wo/man, the mental being. Our culture of violence has a genetic component which makes its cycle of brutality powerful. It can only be fought by extra emotional and extra physical means, in other words, by us, with mental weapons of love. A weapon is simply a tool with a particular destructive purpose. But it remains a tool.

The tools of love work through our minds and bodies, operating together as coordinated by the heart. The battle plan begins mentally, in the mind, worked into a tool, truth into knowledge. It is transformed into a weapon and repurposed, in the heart, through power, as a weapon of creative destruction. The weapon answers only to love, destroying ignorance, creating a vacuum into which the collective body of wo/man can manifest an evolved world, where we can live in accord of thought, word, and deed.

To be honest, wishing for world peace is futile. Universal peace is unattainable, at least since Adam and Eve were banned from the garden. But with inner accord we can act truthfully and reach not a compromise, but a synthesis of action that satisfies everyone, if only to the degree that it is acceptable, without residue of rancor.

I’m tired of holding back on explaining this stuff. I have been ashamed of who I am for years. I have been afraid of who I was as well. I have recoiled from my ego’s dominance over me. But the time needs what I can give, so I surrender to the will of the time and speak, openly, and reveal myself. WAKE UP. I repeat, WAKE UP. Wake up and accelerate your evolution by opening your mind to the winds of truth, which fan the flames of love in our hearts.  Which flames rise to burn away the veil that distorts our sight, and which opens the real world to our eyes, which can then see clearly.

Do not run from what you see. You will recognize those others who see with you. Come together and act, by love, with them, throwing away attachment to ego, throwing away false divisions, throwing away the petty desires of self. If you have eyes to see and ears to hear you will heed this message. There are only two directions, forward though evolution and backward by de-evolution. The way past the wall of ignorance is not though violent revolution but through loving re-evolution. We, the evolving, are remembering who we really are and recognizing who our friends and loved ones are as well.

This is “a” way, not “the” way, but a way thats points us to real change. Not bumper sticker change, not one step forward two steps back change. And not the false feeling of change we get from being funneled into an untenable corner, by the apparent power of the moneyed and greedy, who reign over we, the apparently defeated.

Now I must heed my own words, and act. Act to discover my own ugly weakness and transform it into love and self respect. Act to not only hear, but understand the voices of the oppressed, to hear them speaking the word. And the word was with God and the word was God. And following God, a God of all people, we will destroy ignorance wherever it peeks up from behind the facade. We will create a place for the truth of the downtrodden to blossom, revealing to us what we have known heretofore only in dreams.

This new world is not only possible, it has happened before. We are caught in the process of remembering it and awakening to it. It is easy for us to become impatient. But this new, cleaner world’s fruit will ripen. And its fruit’s taste is sweet.

My need to walk my own talk, or more rightly the fear of it, has undoubtedly been what has kept me from talking about this for so long. And held me from walking in enlightened shoes. Many have said God speaks to them. God has never spoken to me. I have simply heard what God has said to the universe. I can’t listen anymore without doing. Forgive me my faults. Brand me if you will a heretic.

But humor me and listen.

I swear there is value in it.

Had it up to HERE

I usually wait longer than a week to chime in on major events, so I can get a reading of how the wind is blowing and respond in that very arrogant all knowing way I am prone to. The event in Charleston SC, though, has blown me away, and all of my above it all superiority has melted away in the fire of anger and disgust. For me this is the last straw.

This is not about Christianity. This is not about gun control. This is not about mental illness. This is not about race. This is not about isolated “lone wolves” abandoned by their society. This is not about crime as anomaly. This is not about terrorism. This is not about meting out justice. This is not about the law or government. This is not about partisanship. This is not about the Confederate flag. This is not about the death penalty. It is all of these things and none of them.

This IS about systemic violence used as a bridge to cross the gulfs created by divisions in our society; divisions created through any number of social ills; social ills created by deeply ingrained ideas of privilege and class structure; social ills created by contending norms of race and wealth and status and political ideology.

This violence is not only that of the physical. It is that of the emotional. It is that of the mental. It is that of the spiritual. That said, it is physical violence, appearing as it does in the densest plane of existence, the physical plane, that is most apparent and observable to us. Therefore it is physical violence that we most relate to and respond to when grieving and mourning the descent of civility into the morass, into the pit, into disintegration. It is physical violence that shoves our weakness as a species into our collective face.

In this culture, the American culture, more than any other, violence is an accepted means of resolving conflict. In fact it is the primary means, the most revered the most glorified means. Let me say that again. Violence is the preferred means of resolving conflict in this our America. Daddies teach their boys that to “be a man” one must learn how to fight, that the best way to settle differences with the other boys is a hay maker to the jaw. Government is made up primarily of those very boys, not far removed from the grade school playgrounds where they learned and perfected using violence as a tool to get their way. They tell us the best defense is a good offense. They tell us might makes right. They are like the husband who thinks he is strong because he can beat up his wife.

We spend an ungodly amount of money on machines of violence, so much more than on assuaging social ills and solving the many other problems that afflict us. We can read the words alright, but cannot seem to actually beat our swords into plowshares. Most of our great spectacles, professional sports, reinforce the message of violence, either overtly or covertly. We continually endorse this ideal of violent conflict resolution through the glorification of violence in all media, and in our blatant acceptance of it’s value.

The constant assault on our civilized sensibilities, at the expense of our mortal souls, and the resulting continuous and senseless destruction of those we love, this is the visible result of consciously or unconsciously applied physical violence. It is the part of the iceberg we can see. But, for me, it is the other forms of violence, the hidden violence of emotion and mentality, that cut society the deepest. Families slice each other up with focused, hurtful words. This too is violence. Businessmen step all over each other in the vicious battle we know as climbing the corporate ladder, the race to the top, rung by bloody rung. Political rivals, sporting rivals, romantic rivals, are not to simply defeat their opponents but kick their asses, to destroy them. We compete not to win but to annihilate. We do not call our rivals opponents but insist they are enemies.

We most readily use violence on ourselves. The fuel that propagates violence is hate. Hate is not the opposite of love as many may say. Hate originates within. It is the self loathing all of us experience somehow, somewhere, sometime, in that place we won’t let anybody see, that gives birth to hatred. Hatred is learned and we can only first experience it through hating something we ourselves are or do, something about our own selves that disgusts and mortifies us, something that holds us back from shining the light of our true, loving selves out into the world. Only then will we see those things in the “others” and hate them too. We begin to see anything that frightens us, or threatens us, perceived or real, and hate the “others” for it.

We use this hate of self to perpetrate violence on ourselves in myriad ways, some of them so subtle as to be nearly invisible and unreachable. These internal wars are the basis for the psychological, spiritual and/or intellectual violence that is so deadly to us and our culture, because of its ability to hide in places we can’t reach, like a virus in our bodies, waiting for that moment of weakness when it can emerge and strike swiftly and with blinding force.

As it is in the microculture of our own consciousness so it is in the macroculture of our relationship to the world. We cannot possibly be the decrepit creatures we see when we look inside. There must be some reason we fail. It must be that other, whoever that other might be. What the world teaches us is disgusting is in the other. We will assign any disgusting failure we want to the other, as long as it makes us feel better, as long as it stops the pain for just a few moments. Hatred and violence is the morphine of painful and failing lives. If we cannot shine our light then nobody can, especially the other, in whom we see ourselves mirrored so clearly. But we mustn’t let anyone know how alike we are. We must destroy the other before anyone can find out.

We need to look deep inside ourselves to find the buried vault of our hatred. We have to remove the multiple locks that bind the vault, one by one, regardless how difficult and wrenching. We must then take what we find there and search deeper yet, to find where it came from, from what decrepit fountain it poured forth. We must dive into that fountain of filth, swimming through the putrid bile of our own, hidden self hate to the source, the pump that forces the hate into our hearts. It is primordial.

It may be true, as many say, we are violent by our nature, it will never change, it’s in our DNA, it’s useless to try. But is that any good reason to give up, to stop trying, to throw up our hands and say it’s bigger than us, we can’t win. When has anything ever been bigger than a human heart full of love. If we truly believe that love conquers all then this is the time to prove it. This is the time to break the chain of violence. But it will take men and women and children with profound love and of unyielding courage, in action, the action of both warming the feet of the frightened and holding to the fire the feet of those both self righteous and only selectively human.

I speak to myself when I say we need to DO more and TALK less.

Americans believe in faith, even if it is the faith that no faith exists.

I have faith we can bury hatred and it’s weapon, violence, under a mountain of love.

Join me.