Hometown: New York
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 16,641
Hometown: New York
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 16,641
As we struggle to use our deeply pathological political process to advocate for social and economic justice, two critical activities are primary elections and general elections. We are now in primary season, and I am speaking as a progressive voter.
I am a registered Democrat for only one reason, so that I can participate in Democratic primary elections as a means of communicating my values and concerns to party leadership. The political center has been moving to the right for decades and I believe the driving force behind that trend is the failure of registered Democrats to utilize primary elections in this way. Constituents place too much emphasis on selecting a candidate who is perceived to be electable. Constituents judge candidates through the eyes of others and elevate the candidate with the most perceived broad appeal...and the most immediately recognizable spending power. Constituents dismiss candidates who more closely represent their own positions because they know those positions have been marginalized. Constituents dismiss candidates who must rely on financial contributions from the general population because we don't believe the general population can compete with entrenched power. The underlying themes in this kind of constituent behavior are fear and shame. Refusal to act in a contrary manner is compliance. Refusing to act in a contrary manner is a message to Democratic leadership that constituents are willing to give up a lot for emblematic victories.
I am fervently in support of Bernie Sanders this primary season, as I intend to be in the general election. I am also in support of anyone who favors another candidate if such an alignment is based on positions and values. But I do think a serious mistake is made when we try to shape our positions into what we hope will be winnable, rather than trying to win with the positions we believe are important.
There's an analogy in non-profit fundraising. When organizations change their programs in order to win grant support, what happens to the organization is called mission creep. When this is done time and again, the organization finds it has strayed from its intended mission and values and is participating in a smattering of activities responsive to grant guidelines. The solution is to give up that funding. Funding should chase programs; programs shouldn't chase funding.
The Democratic Party has mission creep, because we're afraid no one will chase us.
There's another analogy in fundraising. The best way to avoid mission creep is to collect the bulk of revenue through modest individual gifts. This also turns out to be best for growth. (Bernie wins again.)
My strong appeal to everyone, no matter whom you support, is to reject language about viability and electability and always frame the debate in terms of issues. This is not the same as being unconcerned about winning. It's about winning by selling what you want to sell, instead of by trying to figure out what people are buying and selling that.
(I am highly conscious that this narrative is dismissive of third parties. That's a problem. The two-party system doesn't work. I acknowledge my unwillingness to fully commit to a third party as being somewhat analogous to the misuse of Democratic primaries. I do, however, see my participation in Democratic primaries as similar to being an independent public servant who caucuses with Democrats.)
Posted by rbnyc | Sat May 2, 2015, 01:32 PM (7 replies)
I'm a liberal, feminist, activist, community leader. I should be excited about your prospects as a presidential candidate, but I'm not. I should be ready to volunteer for you, but I won't. I should vote for you, but I can't. I don't believe in you. I don't trust you. Citigroup owns you.
You have gained so much over the years, so many connections, so much backing. You've played the game like a pro and you've proven that no one can gain so much influence and ascend to such power without also losing. You have to give up a lot when you take that money. And I do want you to miss what you've lost, at least a little bit.
In a way, I'm talking about your soul. I'm talking about your conscience and integrity. I'm talking about your word and honor. I'm calling you a shill. You're a corporate shill right up there with the worst of them, doing what it takes to stay in favor.
This is a personal attack, yes. Can we talk policy? Maybe later. But right now I'm taking personally, as a representative of your target market, I was yours to lose, and you lost me. You probably let it happen because you don't need me to win, you need money. You know how to leverage social issues well enough to keep me terrified of your opponents, but your fingers are crossed behind your back. Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, and Credit Suisse Group know they're safe with you, and I'm not. That's called betrayal. You're a traitor.
I remember when I first really felt the sting, listening to your Senate floor speech before your vote to invade Iraq. As a New Yorker, living in the aftermath of September 11th, you were my Senator, but you failed to represent our need for true justice. You helped create more atrocities in our name. You really failed. You're a lying, manipulative accomplice to murder, and you did it as a political calculation.
But here's why I'm really mad at you. It's because you're in the way. They're prepping some pretty repulsive ingredients for the Republican primaries. I'm talking about high-fructose corn syrup, artificial colors and unpronounceable chemicals. We need to bring fresh water to the Democratic primaries, but here you are, just another brand of fucking shit soda. You're killing us.
You're not going to fight to end corruption. You're not going to fight to reclaim democracy from the clutches of a handful of multinational corporations. You're not going to make any progress on any issues that matter to most Americans, let alone those that matter to progressive voters, because you benefit from the system that stands in the way of progress. You are entrenched. You can't do any good. So I wish you would get out of the way.
Have I ever written an open letter to Ted Cruz or Rand Paul? No. Not only are they irredeemable assholes, but they don't need to hear from me. I'm nobody and they were never going to win my support anyway. But you...
Well, you don't need to hear from me either. I'm nobody, and maybe you never were going to get my support. But as you know, no matter how well you think you have it wrapped up, you really do need progressive voters to be able to stomach you.
I wish there were two Elizabeth Warrens, so we could keep one in the Senate and put one in your place.
Maybe there would be more Elizabeth Warrens if you would get out of the way.
Get out of the way.
Edit: the significant portion of your base whom you've alienated by serving the oligarchy instead of us
(I know I don't speak for anyone but myself, but I am aware that many feel the same as I do, and any Democrat should be able to count on us, if they have earned our trust. We are a hearty chunk to toss aside.)
Posted by rbnyc | Wed Apr 15, 2015, 12:16 AM (167 replies)
Written before official count.
When I saw the smoke rise
Across the river,
I saw a smokescreen rise.
Use it to cover the desperate agenda
Of a hand that is closed on a time that is gone.
6000 people killed twice,
Once on that Tuesday and once as we write
Their names on the bombs that we drop on Kabul.
When I saw the ash fall and smelled what I can't say,
I saw a Trojan Horse made.
Stuff it with clutching and fear-informed measures
Of a dying self-righteous, leftover regime.
6000 people killed twice,
Once on that day and once as we use them
As a reason to hold 800 without bond.
When I saw Mark Roger Wells, hung up with duct tape
On the side of a pay phone
And I knew that he was loved...
When I heard the choked voice of loss turned to sound byte
And I lost the heart to write...
When "United we stand" is a pizza box slogan
And I wake up ten times a night...
There are 6000 people killed twice,
Once on that Tuesday and once if we fear
To say, "This isn't justice and this isn't right."
Posted by rbnyc | Wed Sep 11, 2013, 08:42 PM (0 replies)
We need to paint our house. We also need to rip out our living room rug and put down some kind of flooring. We’ve needed to do this for almost five years. We always pledge to do this with our tax refund, but end up using it keep up with daily expenses.
My son is very sick right now. He has pneumonia. His doctor says we are on the right course of treatment, but it’s been several days and I don’t see the kind of recovery I think I should be seeing. My husband and I were talking about it a few minutes ago and I looked around at the crappy rug (I’m actually looking at it right now and thinking “What color is this? It’s greyer than pond water. It’s browner than phlegm.) So I said to my husband, “I think we’d all be a lot healthier if we would tear out this damned rug and put down some flooring.” And we pledged again to use our tax refund to do this, and paint the house.
I work hard and under-earn like loads of people who are – as they say – “lucky enough to have jobs.” I am a remote candidate for a better position in my field. Better means loads of things, but among them it does mean more money. I thought to myself, as we pledged yet again to use our tax refund for some basic home maintenance, “If I get this job, we can easily afford to fix up the house, but if I don’t, I wonder if we will end up spending our tax refund on the mortgage and food.”
Then I thought, does getting this job and improving my general station in life preclude ripping out this stained sludge-water grey-brown rug and painting? Or does painting the house and ripping out the rug preclude improving my station if life? If I don’t get this job, it will be very hard to save the money we need for paint and flooring, but we can do it. We’re capable of doing the labor and we are capable of saving a few hundred dollars. It will just be hard. Regardless of whether I get this job, we will improve our station in life by giving our home the care that it needs and making it a healthier place to live. In doing that, I may also create little changes in myself that may attract this or another “better job” – a healthier, happier place for me to work.
But even that is a somewhat causal explanation for what I feel is actually more mystic. I sort of feel like putting in shiny new non-dust-mite-and-allergen-harboring flooring, and putting a fresh coat of paint on the house – a color we pick, a color we like! – will be kind of like a ceremony. We make a sacrifice to perform this act of renewal and in doing so we demonstrate to the universe that we value health and the ability to care for each other and our surroundings. And the universe provides more opportunities for us to demonstrate our values. One way the universe provides opportunities is through wealth.
(Money is energy.)
We are in a sick economy and the primary reason is policy. We are all here at DU because we understand that political action is necessary, that we must affect policy in order to improve our condition. But we are here in ASAH because we know there are other forces at work and ways we can access power right now.
It’s both frightening and encouraging to know how much the power to change my life is in my own hands. It’s encouraging for obvious reasons. It’s frightening because I have so many flaws. I’m tired and sick. I could work harder but I want to zone out – it’s so painful to constantly stay connected to your own life. But if you don’t progress through pain, you will never get to the other side.
I’m going to try. I think I work hard now. I think I have an austere lifestyle and it would be difficult to give up any more – but it’s not true. We can use our tax refund to rip out the damned rug and paint the house. I think the entire process will be transformative. I think my family and I will attract abundance by doing this. I am ready to help to allocate such abundance in service to what I value – health and the ability to take care of each other and our surroundings. (By surroundings, I do not only mean my little house, but my neighborhood, my community, and extending such reach as I am able.)
Thanks for reading all this. It’s meaningful to have a place to share; i.e. you all are cool.
Posted by rbnyc | Wed Apr 11, 2012, 07:17 PM (26 replies)
I hear it's pretty high, but I realize that I am am almost never aware of the price of gas. That's just one of the wonderful things about being a committed non-driver.
Here are some more great things:
More opportunities to walk
No car payments
No car insurance payments
Never having to worry about parking
Less isolation - more connection to community through walking, public transportation and sharing a ride
The opportunity to slow things down, not rushing from place to place
The opportunity to become a better planner
The wonderful feeling of contributing less to car culture, which I despise
Leaving a smaller carbon footprint than a driver
I'm sure I could think of more, but I'll stop for now.
I have lived all over the country and have never been a driver and I've always done everything I wanted to do. Sometimes, I do have to take car service (which is not cost prohibitive if you think of what you're saving by not maintaining a car.) But mostly I have been able to walk, ride my bike, take public transportation, or coordinate a ride with someone going that way anyway - or as I like to say, giving someone the opportunity to use their car more efficiently.
I wish that every community had better public transportation so that it would be easier for more people to make this choice. Sometimes it is a hassle. (But I hear driving can be a hassle sometimes too.) But so many people say this choice would be impossible for them - my neighbors, who live, work and shop in the same community as me, say it would be impossible not to drive. It's not. Even without better community planning, more people could make this choice right now. And if they did, might that not contribute to better community planning?
On the bus on the way to work this morning, I was looking at all the cars on the road and every one of them had a single occupant. I was really proud to be on the bus by choice.
On Saturday I had to go to the bank, which is less than a mile from my house. I asked my 7-year-old son, who was playing computer games, to come take a walk with me. He put up a little resistance, but gave in. While we were walking he said, "I wish we could drive. I wish you didn't have all these crazy ideas about cars." I said, "What's crazy is burning fossil fuels to take a trip that's less than a mile from your house if you are able to walk. Plus, it's good exercise and it gives us a chance to be together." It did turn out to be a lovely walk.
Cars are tools and I know they are good for many things, but we overuse them and our ideas about the extent of their necessity are way out of whack.
That's my car rant for the day. Thanks for listening.
Posted by rbnyc | Wed Mar 7, 2012, 09:27 AM (27 replies)
Posted by rbnyc | Tue Feb 28, 2012, 11:54 PM (6 replies)
I like this group so I just want to tell you a little about myself as it relates to topic and invite you to do the same and maybe we can get to know each other better.
I was raised to be essentially a secular humanist. That is the worldview shared by my parents, a vehement ex-Catholic and an ex-Lutheran. It was very contentious when they chose not to baptize me and they definitely characterized themselves as taking a stand against religion. They told me that the Bible was literature and to take it as metaphor, were I to ever be interested in it at all. They taught me evolution specifically in opposition to creationism. Watching Nova was our version of Sunday school. From an early age it was clear that I was to understand that the answers to the questions in life could be answered through science.
At the same time, my mother, a mentally ill substance abuser, told me that every first born daughter in our family was “a witch” and that we had psychic powers. I believed both things were true, that all questions could be answered through science, and that women in my family were endowed with seemingly magical abilities.
I’ve had many experiences throughout my life – starting from a clear memory of an astral projection experience from the womb to “seeing ghosts” in my twenties to very specific premonitions of tragedies in my thirties and forties – that are not so easy to explain.
I have a little background in Natal Astrology. I did some research and studying, and started practicing reading natal charts when I was traveling in the Southwest in the 90s and took the practice with me when I first came to New York, but I’m truly a novice –I have a very simplified approach that involves rudimentary knowledge and a large amount of intuition. My favorite part, really, is drawing the charts. I love to do ink drawings. (I'm also a writer and a musician.)
I like the expression that magic is just science we don’t understand yet. There are unseen forces, powers and systems in the universe that are sometimes called supernatural, but they are real, so they are natural. Astrology is among many practices that serve as a means to navigate these systems – systems that have not been comprehended and codified by the dominant culture.
I have fitness issues, in every way, and I am seeking. I feel a lot of energy around me, and I don’t know how to process it. It manifests as incredible nervousness and dislocated anxiety. I have a kind of psychic sensory integration disorder. One reason may be that I reject a lot of my sensitivities out of fear. Another reason may be that I’m out of balance in general – food, exercise, work, play, sleep.
I am a Libra, Pisces rising, Pisces moon.
Posted by rbnyc | Thu Dec 15, 2011, 09:48 PM (35 replies)
(video starring my little boy.)
Posted by rbnyc | Tue Dec 13, 2011, 07:41 AM (1 replies)
Thanks in advance, and please post your music.
Posted by rbnyc | Sun Dec 11, 2011, 02:38 AM (6 replies)
Here's a video I recently made for a project where we select songs inspired by certain words - this is one of the songs I picked for "forest."
Here's the latest video I made for one of my dad's covers:
And here's just one of my songs:
Oh hell, here's another one:
I'm so damn happy!
Posted by rbnyc | Wed Dec 7, 2011, 09:36 PM (14 replies)
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