Monday, January 20, 2020

Moderates, Radicals, and MLK


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I have a number of friends who are supporting moderate candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination – candidates like Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar. Other moderates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination include Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg.

Moderates are generally described by their supporters and the mainstream corporate media as no-nonsense pragmatists and/or as realists. As such, they're sympathetic to the need for social and political change but it must be done incrementally over time. They don't believe the status quo should be too disrupted. Better to try to all get along with not too much confrontation or drawing of lines in the sand. And, judging from the fact that many of the moderates I've identified are taking money from big corporations and billionaire donors, they generally don't subscribe to the adage that “You can't change a corrupt system by taking its money.” Indeed, many moderates can't or won't even go there in acknowledging the extent of the corruption of our current economic and political system. Finally, more often than not, moderates and their supporters discount or even dismiss as naïve visionaries and idealists those who strive for deeper awareness of the flaws and failures of this system and thus advocate and work toward fundamental and immediate-as-possible changes to it.

Yet I find myself in agreement with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when she says that “moderates are more naive than the visionaries if they think tinkering around the edges will solve systemic problems in our democracy and economy. It’s time to rewrite the social contract, not manage decline.”

Although there can certainly be a time and place for it, I don't believe that at this moment in American history political moderation is called for; that it's even desirable. Why? Because political moderation has become too much associated with preserving the political and economic status quo, a status quo that is profoundly dysfunctional and damaging to individuals, society, and the environment. I've also come to understand that it has been the failure of moderates and liberals to acknowledge the degree of this dysfunction and damage which in large part contributed to the election of Donald Trump. Said another way, Trump is not the problem; Trump is the most severe symptom of the problem.

And the problem? Here's how author Marianne Williamson identifies and describes it:

We have essentially moved from a democratic to an aristocratic situation where our government works more to advocate for short term profits for multi-national corporations than it does to advocate for the well-being of people and the planet. Our government works more to make it easier for those who already have a lot of money to make more of it and harder for those who do not have any money to even get by. This corruption, which has progressed over the last 40 years, has created an amoral economic system where economic values are placed before humanitarian values and the well-being of people and the planet. And our democracy itself can no longer be accurately described as a government of the people, by the people and for the people [but rather a government of the corporations by the corporations and for the corporations]. It’s only when we recognize the depth of this corruption that we can move into a path of genuine transformation. Because until then, all we’re doing is addressing the symptoms and no one is naming the cause. All we’re doing is making incremental changes seeking to diminish the pain that people are experiencing because of all this, but not challenging the underlying forces that make all of that pain inevitable. . . . I stand for an actual pattern disruption of the political and economic status quo.


Marianne was, of course, up until recently, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. And right up until the day she suspended her campaign, she was my preferred candidate. And, no, she is definitely not a moderate but rather a progressive, a radical, in the deepest and truest sense of he word.

To be radical means that you recognize the need for going to the root or heart of a situation, issue, or problem in order to truly understand, correct, resolve and/or transform it. The beauty of Marianne's understanding of this process, one that's often understood to be necessary only in the political realm, is that it actually needs to occur in our personal lives as well in order for it to be truly effective in the political and societal realms of which we're a part, individually and collectively.

Accordingly, to be radical also means being willing to go deep within one's own life and experience so as to identify, name, and embody the healing and transformation that one wants to see in the world.

Of course, Marianne Williamson is not advocating anything new when she says these things. Rather, she's lifting up and encouraging all of us to embrace the spiritual teachings on radical love and nonviolent activism that people like Jesus of Nazareth, Mahatma Gandhi, Dorothy Day, and Martin Luther King, Jr. embodied. They did it in their times, we need to do it in ours.

All of which brings me to an informative and insightful article by Bob Hennelly, published today over at Salon. In this piece Hennelly reminds us that Martin Luther King, Jr. (whom we're celebrating today here in the U.S.) was "gravely disappointed" with white moderates, whom he believed were responsible, for impeding civil rights. I would argue that moderates today within the Democratic party are responsible for impeding the much needed transformation of our corrupt political and economic system, one that still disproportionately impacts black and brown people in this country.

Following are excerpts from Hennelly's piece, one that is entitled, “Moderate Democrats Are Celebrating MLK. He Was Disgusted By Them.”

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day comes as moderate Democrats, falling in line behind former vice president Joe Biden, are warning that the party risks re-electing Donald Trump if it nominates too radical a candidate for president – by which they mean someone like Senators Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.

This so-called moderate world view is underpinned by the belief that, over the arc of this nation's history, we have been striving for and realizing a "more perfect union" through disciplined incrementalism and market capitalism.

Some pundits extol this as the great virtue of American moderation.

And yet, a glance at Martin Luther King Jr.'s actual words reveals the civil rights leader saw such moderation as a "fantasy of self-deception and comfortable vanity."

From a Birmingham jail cell, he wrote he was "gravely disappointed with the white moderate" that he saw as "the Negro's great stumbling block," as much or more so than ardent segregationists or even the KKK. The white moderate, he observed, lived "by a mythical concept of time" and constantly advised "the Negro to wait for a 'more convenient season.' Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."

As King saw it, the American embrace of moderation in his time was enabled by a belief "that American society is essentially hospitable to fair play and to steady growth toward a middle-class Utopia embodying racial harmony. But unfortunately, this is a fantasy of self-deception and comfortable vanity."

In grade school, I was indoctrinated with this same moderate narrative – that we were on the conveyor belt of socio-economic progress that was a through line from Lexington and Concord, through Gettysburg, and on to the beaches of Normandy.

In this airbrushed history, America expiated its original sin of slavery with the massive bloodletting that was our Civil War. Scroll forward to 2008, and we have elected the first American African American president.

Perhaps too slow, argue the moderates, but progress none the less.

But our actually history as it was lived, but too often not remembered, reveals that every civil rights breakthrough is accompanied by reactionary blowback. We saw it after the Civil War, with the abandonment of Reconstruction by a federal government that fell captive to capital interests and its own deeply embedded racist world view.

Scroll forward a century: the same happened in response to the passage of landmark federal civil and voting rights legislation. And as with the murder of Lincoln after the Emancipation Proclamation, the white supremacist terrorist rage murdered Dr. King and so many others.

And similarly, after the two-term presidency of President Obama, the election of Trump was the blowback.

There is a pattern here, one that has been flagged by writers like Michelle Alexander and Ta-Nehisi Coates. In 2020, there can be no excuse for not seeing it.

. . . We have so deeply internalized structural racism that most politicians easily ignore the fact that between 1980 and 2015 the number of people incarcerated increased from 500,000 to over 2.2 million, according to the NAACP. That means that while the U.S. makes up only 5 percent of the planet's population, we have 21 percent of the prisoners.

Evidently, we are just not that outraged by it. If people are in jail, there's some justification for it. Right?

That's how former Mayor Mike Bloomberg can joke through his recent The Late Show with Steven Colbert appearance and blithely explain away as merely "a mistake" his embrace of race-based profiling where the NYPD illegally stopped and frisked hundreds of thousands of young men of color annually for years.

And with hundreds of millions earmarked as new revenue for hungry broadcast media outlets, don't expect Bloomberg to be pressed on how he plans on making right the tragic consequences from the NYPD's unconstitutional actions that led to bad arrests, unjust incarcerations, lost jobs and ruined lives.

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day, pay close attention to the white moderates, like Bloomberg and Biden. Ironically, not only do these men fail to grasp the radical nature of his dream, their past actions actually helped defer it.

– Bob Hennelly
Excerpted from “Moderate Democrats Are Celebrating MLK.
He Was Disgusted By Them

Salon
January 20, 2020


Related Off-site Links:
Countering Annual Whitewash of His Legacy, Progressives Remember the “Anti-Capitalist, Anti-Imperialist” Martin Luther King Jr. – Jessica Corbett (Common Dreams, January 20, 2020).
Martin Luther King Jr Was a Radical. We Must Not Sterilize His Legacy – Cornel West (The Guardian, April 4, 2018).
When King Was Dangerous – Alex Gourevitch (Jacobin, January 21, 2019).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
For MLK Day (2018)
Quote of the Day – January 15, 2017
Martin Luther King, Jr. and Democratic Socialism
Quote(s) of the Day – February 26, 2019
Quote of the Day – March 10, 2019
Quote of the Day – October 30, 2019

Image 1: Martin Luther King Jr., delivering his “I Have a Dream” speech to a crowd before the Lincoln Memorial during the Freedom March in Washington, DC, on August 28, 1963. (Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images)
Image 2: Marianne William delivering her MLK Day Message, January 20, 2020. “The greatest way to honor Dr. King’s legacy is to seek to embody the principles for which he lived and for which he died,” Williamson says.
Image 3: Photographer unknown.


Friday, January 17, 2020

Remembering Patrice Lumumba

Today marks the 59th anniversary of the assassination of Patrice Lumumba (1925-1961), a radical leader of the Congolese independence movement who served as the first Prime Minister of the independent Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Republic of the Congo) and who throughout much of his adult life resisted Belgian colonialism and corporate interests.

I first became aware and interested in the life of Patrice Lumumba when I attended a special screening of Raoul Peck's film Lumumba at the University of Minnesota Film Society in 2000. According to The Guardian, the film, which features French actor Eriq Ebouaney as Lumumba, is a “commendable effort” and a “corrective to imperialism.”

I later did some research on Lumumba and found myself moved by the images that show him captured and bound while on his way to be executed. I was struck by his calm countenance, even as he no doubt knew what awaited him. To this day I find myself wondering if I could be so brave and calm in the face of torture and death.




In commemorating the life of Lumumba on the anniversary of his murder 59 years ago during a US-backed coup, Sa’eed Husaini of Jacobin Magazine has posted an informative and insightful interview with Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, a professor of African, African-American, and Diaspora Studies at the University of North Carolina and the author of numerous books, including The Congo from Leopold to Kabila: A People’s History and Patrice Lumumba.

In introducing his interview with Nzongola-Ntalaja, Husaini shares the following biography of Lumumba.


Born in 1925, Patrice Émery Lumumba was a radical anti-colonial leader who became the first prime minister of the newly independent Congo at the age of thirty-five. Seven months into his term, on January 17, 1961, he was assassinated.

Lumumba had become an opponent of Belgian racism after being jailed in 1957 on trumped-up charges by the colonial authorities. Following a twelve-month prison term, he found a job as a beer salesman, during which time he developed his oratory skills and increasingly embraced the view that Congo’s vast mineral wealth should benefit the Congolese people rather than foreign corporate interests.

Lumumba’s political horizons extended far beyond the Congo. He was soon caught up in the wider wave of African nationalism sweeping the continent. In December 1958, Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah invited Lumumba to attend the anti-colonial All-African People’s Conference, which attracted civic associations, unions, and other popular organizations.



Above: Kwame Nkrumah and Patrice Lumumba in 1958.


Two years later, following mass demands for a democratic election, the Congolese National Movement headed by Lumumba decisively won the Congo’s first parliamentary contest. The left-nationalist leader took office in June 1960.

But Lumumba’s progressive-populist proposals and his opposition to the Katanga secessionist movement (which was led by the white-ruled colonial states of southern Africa and proclaimed its independence from the Congo on July 11, 1960) angered an array of foreign and local interests: the Belgian colonial state, companies extracting the Congo’s mineral resources, and, of course, the leaders of white-ruled southern African states. As tensions grew, the United Nations rejected Lumumba’s request for support. He decided to call for Soviet military assistance to quell the burgeoning Congo Crisis brought about by the Belgian-supported secessionists. That proved to be the last straw.




Lumumba was seized [above and left], tortured, and executed in a coup supported by the Belgian authorities, the United States, [Britain] and the United Nations. With Lumumba’s assassination died a part of the dream of a united, democratic, ethnically pluralist, and pan-Africanist Congo.

The murder of Lumumba and his replacement by the US-backed dictator Mobutu Sese Seko laid the foundation for the decades of internal strife, dictatorship, and economic decline that have marked post-colonial Congo. The destabilization of Congolese society under Mobutu’s brutal rule – lasting from 1965 to 1997 – culminated in a series of devastating conflicts, known as the first and second Congo wars (or “Africa’s world wars”). These conflicts not only fractured Congolese society but also engulfed nearly all of the country’s neighbors, ultimately involving nine African nations and around twenty-five armed groups. By the formal end of the conflict, around 2003, nearly 5.4 million people had died from the fighting and its aftermath, making the war the world’s second deadliest conflict since World War II.

Particularly in light of the Congo’s turbulent trajectory following his assassination, Lumumba remains a source of despair, debate, and inspiration among radical movements and thinkers across Africa and beyond. Jacobin contributor Sa’eed Husaini recently spoke with Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, a leading Congolese intellectual and the author of a biography of Lumumba, about the life, death, and politics of the radical nationalist leader.

To read Sa’eed Husaini's interview with
Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, click here.





Following is a 25-minute documentary film, Independence Cha Cha: The Story of Patrice Lumumba. Released in 2018, this documentary was written by Kadi Kabeya and Mina Malu.





Related Off-site Links:
Patrice Lumumba: The Most Important Assassination of the 20th Century – Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja (The Guardian, January 17, 2011).
Both Belgium and the United States Should Be Called to Account for the Death of Patrice Lumumba – Tim Butcher (The Spectator, March 7, 2015).
Congo’s Patrice Lumumba: The Winds of Reaction in Africa – Kenneth Good (CounterPunch, August 23, 2019).
Central Africa: Hollywood’s Insulting Fantasy Versus a Tragic Reality – Steven Gambardella (Medium, December 1, 2018).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Remembering Manuela Saenz: “Liberator of the Liberator”
Remembering Fred Hampton
Ben Ehrenreich on the Global Uprisings Against Neoliberalism
Marv Davidov, 1931-2012
Chalmers Johnson, 1931-2010
Hope, History, and Bernie Sanders
Marianne Williamson: “We’re Living at a Critical Moment in Our Democracy”
Remembering the “Brave and Brilliant” Gil Scott-Heron
Kittredge Cherry on the “Tough Questions” Raised by the Uganda Martyrs
John Pilger on Resisting Empire
Resisting the Hand of the Empire
New Horizons


Thursday, January 16, 2020

A Thank You Letter to Marianne Williamson

The following letter is written by Musashi Takazawa, a member of the Facebook group, Marianne Williamson 2020 Official Citizen Campaign Headquarters. It was first published via Facebook on January 13, three days after Marianne suspended her campaign to be the Democratic presidential nominee.

To mind my (and heart), Musashi does a beautiful job in encapsulating why so many people, myself included, where drawn to and will forever value and appreciate Marianne's presidential campaign.

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Dear Ms. Williamson,

I just wanted to reach out to you and say, “Congratulations” on your heroic and historic campaign! I'm heartbroken that your presidential marathon has come to an end – I desperately wanted you to be our “Mother in the White House.” Regardless of the result, you will always be my President! I cannot even begin to imagine what you must be experiencing in the aftermath of your exhilarating, but brutal campaign. You're in my thoughts and prayers. Please take some serious time off to process, rest, and rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul – you deserve it!

Thank you from the depths of my heart for courageously stepping up as a conscious Samaritan and patriot to save our nation at a time of crisis! I will treasure the wisdom, courage, compassion, and leadership you exemplified throughout your campaign. It’s a pity and travesty that majority of the people did not get to hear your true message thanks to the nefarious influence of the political-media industrial complex. However, please be rest assured that you have made an indelible impact on millions of Americans, including myself. And many more will go on to awaken to your message – generations to come will surely recognize and celebrate your trailblazing campaign.

Through your campaign, you became the spokesperson for the conscience of America. You made love, simple truths, and humanitarian principles matter in politics instead of just the economic bottom line. You spoke out against forces that made a mockery of love. You went deep beyond the superficial symptoms to address root causes of issues at the moral, spiritual, and psychological level. You are one of a kind in American politics – no other candidate talks about rescuing the hungry, traumatized children of America; waging peace; reparations for racial reconciliation; universal integrative healthcare; fighting poverty and our sociopathic economic system; and many other things that matter.

Most importantly, you became the siren to awaken us from our slumber, apathy, and cynicism in order to rebirth our responsibility as citizens of the United States. You reminded us about our nation’s history and mission statement; the proud, but tainted legacy of our ancestors; and the power of We The People. You inspired us to heed the small still voice within us and become the better angels of our nature. You empowered us to step in for the sake of country and planet to repudiate corporate aristocracy – just as many generations before us did. You have sowed your seeds of love and laid the ground for us to become the immune cells of our Democracy. I thank you for these precious gifts!

You have always declared that your campaign wasn’t just a campaign to get you elected as President, but to usher a movement of an uprising of people in order to co-create a better America, and in turn, a better world. That uprising has blossomed in our heads and in our hearts. Now, we must act anew to carry on the movement for a Politics of Love that you started – so we can repair America. After you’re back from your much-needed rest, I sincerely hope you will consider leading us in the next phase of this movement, not as a presidential candidate, but as a spiritual leader and activist in the same vein as a Gandhi or MLK – for Love has much unfinished business to tend to before Love can prevail. We're ready for the next step!

Thank you again for your bold and daring run! We salute you for your tireless service and sacrifice on behalf of our beloved nation!

With Love & Gratitude,

Musashi



For The Wild Reed's coverage of Marianne Williamson's presidential campaign, see the following chronologically-ordered posts:
Talkin’ ’Bout An Evolution: Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Bid
Why Marianne Williamson Is a Serious and Credible Presidential Candidate
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – April 24, 2019
Marianne Williamson: Reaching for Higher Ground
“A Lefty With Soul”: Why Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson Deserves Some Serious Attention
Sometimes You Just Have to Take Matters Into Your Own Hands
Marianne Williamson Plans on Sharing Some “Big Truths” on Tonight's Debate Stage
Friar André Maria: Quote of the Day – June 28, 2019
Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson: “We’re Living at a Critical Moment in Our Democracy”
Caitlin Johnstone: “Status Quo Politicians Are Infinitely ‘Weirder’ Than Marianne Williamson”
Marianne Williamson On What It Will Take to Defeat Donald Trump
“This Woman Is Going to Win the Nomination”: Matt Taibbi on Marianne Williamson in Iowa
Something to Think About (and Embody!)
The Relevance and Vitality of Marianne Williamson’s 2020 Presidential Campaign
Quote of the Day – November 4, 2019
Quote of the Day – November 11, 2019
Marianne Williamson: “Anything That Will Help People Thrive, I’m Interested In”
Marianne Williamson and the Power of Politicized Love
Quote of the Day – December 14, 2019
Marianne Williamson: “I Am Not Suspending My Candidacy”
Marianne Williamson on New Day with Christi Paul – 01/04/20
“A Beautiful Message, So Full of Greatness”


Something to Think About . . .

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Mistwalking


Artwork: Ulla Thynell


I'm currently reading Frank MacEowen's 2002 book, The Mist-Filled Path: Celtic Wisdom for Exiles, Wanderers, and Seekers. It's a book from which I'm gaining both insight and enjoyment.

From the start, MacEowen is clear to point out that he is not attempting an anthropological thesis about the Celtic world or an archaeological treatise on the Iron Age Celts or a scholarly/historical exploration of Celtic religions and culture. Rather, he seeks to “articulate how we may truly live in the spirit of the wheel, an ancient symbol used in the druidic traditions of Ireland, the shamanic traditions worldwide, and even in the Celtic-Christian tradition of earth-honoring mysticism.”

This sacred wheel, MacEowen contends, “is the cycle of our days, the circle of our horizon, the Celtic wheel of living.”

Continues MacEowen:

The central aim of this book is to articulate a way of seeing the world and a possible way for being in it that re-enlivens a relationship to that which is holy. I have come to call this the Mist-Filled Path, mist being a teacher or tutelary spirit for me in my childhood. It is an invitation into a slower, more ancient earth rhythm as it has been worked with in the living streams of perennial Celtic spirituality, animism, druidic philosophy, shamanism, and mysticism. It is a particular kind of orientation, one that looks to restore the ancient dialogue between the human being and the sacred world.


Over the next few weeks I'll be sharing excerpts from The Mist-Filled Path, starting today with an excerpt from the book's foreword written by Tom Cowan. Enjoy!


______________________________


There are reasons to love the mist. . . . The mist is a threshold state in Celtic spirituality. It is sacred. We might even think of mist as a sacrament in the old Catholic sense of that term: an outward sign of an interior state of grace. As Frank MacEowen explains it, mist consciousness is druid consciousness, saint consciousness, shaman consciousness, and Christ consciousness. It is the awareness and perspective of a person standing at the threshold of sacred experience.

. . . Longing too is a holy state for those not afraid, as Frank puts it, to surrender themselves to the great pull that lures us into life, to places we have not yet dreamed of, places where the Great Shaper of Life longs to shape us. [We are invited to] lean into that Divine Power so that we might discover its presence and then honor and celebrate it in simple events of the day.

The Celtic spirit, like the Celtic mind, does not want to get locked into a rigid framework with no way of escape. Like the mist, the spirit wants to shift, rise, disappear, and return. Frank knows this. The rich treasure of Celtic mysticism – pagan, Christian, and postmodern – is not a hoard for dragons to guard, but more like a sail to hoist into the wind to let the elements of God decide direction and destination. With an exciting boldness Frank pulls the old ways out of our many pasts and into the present but always with a sensitivity to what is authentic and appropriate for these new times and places. Nor is he blind to parallel teachings from other cultures and centuries that support, enhance, and make sense of the older Celtic ways. You will find in The Mist-Filled Path the indigenous wisdom of Africa, Asia, and Native America, Sufi and Buddhist teachings, some renegade Catholic ideas, a touch of modern depth psychology, and ideas about social and environmental activism, all seen through a Celtic lens. You can trust this guide as his eye wanders over the vast mystic landscape, and he points out the next steps on our pilgrimage. We are, to use his phrase, “people of the wandering fire,” and we need to know the geography of the modern world we wander through if we hope to interact intelligently with others of different beliefs and values.

If you take this book to heart, it will not make you look like a strange remnant of a lost civilization caught in a modern time warp, trying to find your way back into a mythic past. As presented here, Celtic spirituality is not a romanticized artifact or an atavistic throwback to earlier times but a modern ethos for dealing with environmental crises, the poor and homeless, the uncertainties of a hostile and dangerous world, and the mind-numbing, spirit-numbing boredom that our consumer culture generates in so many people.

. . . The Mist-Filled Path is an engaging, lyrically written account of old Celtic ways and a challenging manifesto to live them in the twenty-first century. . . . You will realize, I hope, as I did in reading these pages, the great joy that comes from mistwalking.

– Tom Cowan




See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Thomas Moore on the Circling of Nature as the Best Way to Find Our Substance
“Radical Returnings” – Mayday 2016
Drawing the Circle Wide
Balancing the Fire
Beltane and the Reclaiming of Spirit
“I Caught a Glimpse of a God”
At Hallowtide, Pagan Thoughts on Restoring Our World and Our Souls

Opening image: Ulla Thynell.


Friday, January 10, 2020

“A Beautiful Message, So Full of Greatness”


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A beautiful message, so full of greatness. . . . That's how a friend described author Marianne Williamson's announcement earlier today on why she was choosing to end her bid to be the Democratic presidential nominee.

It should be noted that despite being considered an “outsider” and a “long-shot candidate,” Marianne made it further than some career politicians, such as Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Beto O'Rourke, and Julián Castro. She qualified for two of the six Democratic debates last year and reported raising more than $6 million in the first three quarters of 2019.

Marianne's campaign had a number of signature (and groundbreaking) policy platforms and proposals, including the allocation of $500 billion for reparations to African Americans and Native Americans, the establishment of a U.S. Department of Children and Youth, the setting up of a Whole Health Plan, and the creation of a Department of Peace which would work to prevent wars, reduce violence, and address issues such as white supremacy and domestic terrorism.

As regular readers would know, since Marianne first launched her presidential campaign last January, I've been a passionate supporter of her efforts to “politicize love” so as to both defeat Donald Trump and bring about a much-needed shift in consciousness, one that would include a realignment of public policies with the core democratic and humanitarian values of the United States.





Indeed, from the very beginning of her campaign Marianne urged her fellow citizens to “fall in love again with what this country can mean.” And throughout her campaign she never wavered in “chang[ing] the conversation from symptoms to root causes in a way that the political media establishment does not want us to do.” She also talked about the need to fundamentally disrupt the political and economic status quo and to initiate a “season of moral repair.”

Such truly radical stances, CK Sanders documents, ensured that “enemies weren’t hard to find.” Their take down strategy was “Operation: Mock, Reject and Omit,” and it went into full swing after Marianne's stand-out performance in the second Democratic presidential debate on July 30, 2019.





“This was a master hit job,” writes Sanders, “cruel, relentless and paid for until victorious. And with the DNC, the self-appointed gatekeepers of the electoral process, constantly moving the bar to make the debates, Williamson didn’t stand a chance to win the primary.”

Following is Marianne's message from earlier today, one that she shared on her website “with love and gratitude.”

Dear Friend,

I ran for president to help forge another direction for our country. I wanted to discuss things I felt needed to be discussed that otherwise were not. I feel that we have done that.

I stayed in the race to take advantage of every possible effort to share our message. With caucuses and primaries now about to begin, however, we will not be able to garner enough votes in the election to elevate our conversation any more than it is now. The primaries might be tightly contested among the top contenders, and I don’t want to get in the way of a progressive candidate winning any of them.

As of today, therefore, I’m suspending my campaign.

My deepest gratitude to those of you who supported my candidacy for all these months. The ideas we discussed are important, and I hope they’ll find seed in other ways and in other campaigns. From rescuing underserved, at risk and traumatized children; to proactively waging an agenda for peace and making humanity itself America’s greatest ally; to integrative health models within our health care system and incentivizing health; to reparations to achieve deeper reconciliation between races; to repudiating the corporate aristocracy; to the creation of a more mindful politics; to changing from an economic to a humanitarian bottom line; to initiating a season of moral repair—we brought issues to the fore that I hope contributed to the campaign season. I remain as committed to them going forward as I was on the day we began.

I learned many things about America during this campaign. I’m more convinced than ever that we’re a good and decent people, that democracy matters, and that what our country has always stood for is worth struggling for. I will continue in that struggle, and I know that you will too.

To our dedicated volunteers, generous contributors, and loyal staff who worked so hard—I will hold you in my heart forever. There are no words for how grateful I am for your kindness and generosity. May you be blessed on your journeys as you have so blessed mine.

To the remaining Democratic candidates, I wish you all my best on the road ahead. It was an honor being among you. Whichever one of you wins the nomination, I will be there with all my energy and in full support.

Finally, these are not times to despair; they are simply times to rise up. Things are changing swiftly and dramatically in this country, and I have faith that something is awakening among us. A politics of conscience is still yet possible. And yes . . . love will prevail.

With all my heart I thank you,

Marianne

___________________________


My friend's comment which serves as this post's title not only describes today's announcement from Marianne but also her entire campaign and Marianne herself. After all, for many people, myself included, who Marianne is and what she says and does comprise “a beautiful message, so full of greatness” (one beautifully rendered in Amanda Sage's artwork at left.)

Of course, not everyone recognizes this, as evidenced, for instance, by The Guardian's recent description of Marianne's campaign as “bizarre and mesmerizing.” I love how one reader responded to this:

[Marianne Williamson's] campaign was not bizarre. She sees a different future and one that would do us all good. We, unfortunately, are not ready to let the old ways go in the US. In the end, I would still vote for bizarre over mediocre any day.


As would I.

For those unfamiliar with Marianne and her candidacy, here are three short videos (with a total running time of six minutes) that capture well the relevance, wisdom, and vitality of her message. (For more videos, click here.)










Thank you, Marianne, for all you've done in running for president. I trust you made a difference . . . and will continue to make a difference. You certainly informed and inspired me.

Through your presence, words, and actions on the campaign trail you not only advanced a genuinely progressive agenda but also embodied the shift in consciousness that I believe the Sacred is calling all of humanity to manifest in and through our individual and communal actions. It's a shift that invites all to consciously choose love over and above fear. You reminded us, Marianne, that when such a choice is realized in our politics as well as in our individual lives, we will bring to birth an era of justice, peace, and healing to our world and our lives.

So, again, thank you!






Related Off-site Links and Updates:
Writer, Entrepreneur and Spiritual Leader Marianne Williamson Suspends Presidential Campaign – Elena Moore (NPR News, January 10, 2020).
Marianne Williamson Ends 2020 Presidential Campaign – Kate Sullivan and Eric Bradner (CNN, January 10, 2020).
Marianne Williamson Drops Out After Becoming Viral Sensation in 2020 Race – Caitlin Oprysko (Politico, January 10, 2020).
Marianne Williamson Drops Out of the 2020 Race – Alexandra Hutzler (Newsweek, January 10, 2020).
Why Marianne Williamson’s Unconventional Presidential Bid Didn’t Catch On – Nathaniel Rakich (Five Thirty Eight, January 10, 2020).
America’s Addiction to Contempt Was Too Strong for Marianne Williamson – Tristan Justice (The Federalist, January 10, 2020).
Marianne Williamson Is the Canary in the Coal Mine for American Democracy – CK Sanders (Medium, January 11, 2020).
Marianne Williamson Ends Presidential Bid, Says Campaign Tried Her Faith – Jack Jenkins (National Catholic Reporter, January 13, 2020).



1/13/20 UPDATE: Marianne Williamson: Where Do We Go Now?




For The Wild Reed's coverage of Marianne Williamson's presidential campaign, see the following chronologically-ordered posts:
Talkin’ ’Bout An Evolution: Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Bid
Why Marianne Williamson Is a Serious and Credible Presidential Candidate
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – April 24, 2019
Marianne Williamson: Reaching for Higher Ground
“A Lefty With Soul”: Why Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson Deserves Some Serious Attention
Sometimes You Just Have to Take Matters Into Your Own Hands
Marianne Williamson Plans on Sharing Some “Big Truths” on Tonight's Debate Stage
Friar André Maria: Quote of the Day – June 28, 2019
Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson: “We’re Living at a Critical Moment in Our Democracy”
Caitlin Johnstone: “Status Quo Politicians Are Infinitely ‘Weirder’ Than Marianne Williamson”
Marianne Williamson On What It Will Take to Defeat Donald Trump
“This Woman Is Going to Win the Nomination”: Matt Taibbi on Marianne Williamson in Iowa
Something to Think About (and Embody!)
The Relevance and Vitality of Marianne Williamson’s 2020 Presidential Campaign
Quote of the Day – November 4, 2019
Quote of the Day – November 11, 2019
Marianne Williamson: “Anything That Will Help People Thrive, I’m Interested In”
Marianne Williamson and the Power of Politicized Love
Quote of the Day – December 14, 2019
Marianne Williamson: “I Am Not Suspending My Candidacy”
Marianne Williamson on New Day with Christi Paul – 01/04/20


Wednesday, January 08, 2020

The Case for Bernie Sanders


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In his latest piece at Current Affairs, Nathan J. Robinson makes a compelling case for Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) to be the Democratic nominee for president. Following is an excerpt.


Bernie Sanders has just pulled even with Joe Biden in Iowa and is beating him in New Hampshire, giving Sanders a reasonable claim to being either the frontrunner or the co-frontrunner for the 2020 Democratic nomination. Bernie has struck fear into the heart of the establishment, and even more moderate commentators like Chris Cillizza have noticed that Sanders is in a very good position now: Not only does he top the polls, but his fundraising blows every other candidate out of the water, he has a powerful organization of committed supporters, he is the most liked of all the candidates, he is rated “the best” on critical issues, he has the most enthusiasm, and he has a strong message that distinguishes him from the other candidates. Despite being constantly shunned or attacked by the media and bitterly opposed by the Democratic establishment, Bernie has managed to pull even with the former Vice President.

Bernie Sanders also has a strong case to make that he is the most “electable” candidate in a race against Donald Trump. As Matt Yglesias of Vox has noted, Sanders “has good ideas on the topics in which the choice between Democrats matters most, he has a plausible electability case, he’s been a pragmatic and reasonably effective legislator, and his nomination is, by far, the best way to put toxic infighting to rest and bring the rising cohort of left-wing young people into the tent – for both the 2020 campaign and the long-term future.” . . . Sanders can neutralize Trump’s “anti-establishment” message by offering a far more persuasive, authentic, and compelling left populism, and Trump will find it hard to attack Sanders as a hypocrite and fraud the way he can attack Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, or Pete Buttigieg. Bernie has a very clear pitch to apolitical and disaffected people, and he is fantastic at going after some of Trump’s own voters in a way that none of the other candidates can. Ryan Grim of The Intercept, in a recent report on Sanders’ powerful organizing operation, noted that there is now a “well-resourced and complex organizing apparatus that has been five years in the making, the most ambitious effort yet to link face-to-face movement-style organizing with technology not available to previous campaigns.”

. . . Bernie Sanders’ candidacy is something special. It has the possibility of truly transforming the United States – possibly even the world – into a more humane place. Other candidates are having to run on ideas that Bernie Sanders has been pushing for decades, because they know the power of his message.

. . . [Bernie's] democratic socialist vision is one that is worth fighting for. People who hear about it, come to understand it, and see it in action feel like they have been touched by something special. Why do you think Bernie supporters are passionate like no other candidate’s are? Why do you think they cried so much when he lost in 2016? It is not because they are part of a cult, or because they just love Bernie so much as a person. (He’s not actually that lovable of a person.) It’s because they had come to believe that old leftist slogan, A Better World Is Possible, and seeing that better world snuffed out before their eyes was crushing. We are for Bernie not because we love Bernie, but because we love humanity and we have confidence in what it could be.

– Nathan J. Robinson
Excerpted from "Everyone Is Getting On the Bernie Train"
Current Affairs
January 8, 2020




Related Off-site Links:
Why You Should Take a Chance on the Socialist – Paul Waters-Smith (Current Affairs, November 24, 2019).
Bernie Sanders Can Unify Democrats and Beat Trump in 2020 – Matthew Yglesias (Vox, January 7, 2020).
Against All Odds, It Looks Like Bernie Sanders Might Be the Democratic Nominee After All – Max Berns (Independent, January 8, 2020).
Bernie Sanders Has Leaped to the Top of 2020 Democratic Polls Over the Past Month – Benjamin Fearnow (Newsweek, January 7, 2020).
CBS News Poll: Bernie Sanders Holds Narrow Lead in New HampshireCBS News (January 7, 2019).
Are Establishment Democrats Running Out of Ways to Sabotage Bernie Sanders? – Ilana Novick (Common Dreams, January 7, 2020).
Bernie Sanders Stands Out in Anti-War Messaging After Assassination of Soleimani – Nicole Goodkind (Fortune, January 3, 2020).
How Bernie Sanders Hangs In – Keith Burris (The Blade, January 4, 2020).




UPDATES: The Highly Anticipated Iowa Poll Reveals a Narrow Frontrunner in Iowa: Bernie Sanders – Lauren Frias (Business Insider, January 10, 2020).
“He Could Win the Caucuses,” Pollster Says as Bernie Sanders Leads Gold-Standard Iowa Survey for First Time – Jessica Corbett (Common Dreams, January 10, 2020).
Bernie Sanders Enjoys Newly Found Frontrunner Status in Iowa – Emma Kinery (Bloomberg, January 11, 2020).
Yes, Bernie Sanders Can Pull It Off – Harry Enten (CNN, January 12, 2020).
It's Official, Bernie Sanders in Position to Win – Krystal Ball (The Hill, January 13, 2020).




For more coverage at The Wild Reed of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, see:
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – November 5, 2018
Jacob Weindling: Quote of the Day – November 19, 2018
Something to Think About – February 19, 2019
Quotes(s) of the Day – February 26, 2019
Bernie Sanders: Quote of the Day – March 2, 2019
Talkin’ ’Bout An Evolution: Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Bid
Why Marianne Williamson Is a Serious and Credible Presidential Candidate
Steven Paulikas: Quote of the Day – April 17, 2019
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – April 24, 2019
Progressive Perspectives on Joe Biden's Presidential Run
Beto, Biden and Buttigieg: “Empty Suits and Poll-Tested Brands”
Pete Buttigieg, White Privilege, and Identity Politics
“A Lefty With Soul”: Why Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson Deserves Some Serious Attention
Bernie Sanders: Quote of the Day – June 12, 2019
Marianne Williamson Plans on Sharing Some “Big Truths” on Tonight's Debate Stage
Pete Buttigieg: Quote of the Day – June 27, 2019
Friar André Maria: Quote of the Day – June 28, 2019
Brian Geving: Quote of the Day – July 20, 2019
Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson: “We’re Living at a Critical Moment in Our Democracy”
Caitlin Johnstone: “Status Quo Politicians Are Infinitely ‘Weirder’ Than Marianne Williamson”
Marianne Williamson on What It Will Take to Defeat Donald Trump
“This Woman Is Going to Win the Nomination”: Matt Taibbi on Marianne Williamson in Iowa
The Relevance and Vitality of Marianne Williamson’s 2020 Presidential Campaign
John Atcheson: Quote of the Day – October 19, 2019
Sarah Jones: Quote of the Day – October 30, 2019
Marianne Williamson: “Anything That Will Help People Thrive, I’m Interested In”
David A. Love: Quote of the Day – November 27, 2019
Marianne Williamson and the Power of Politicized Love
Marianne Williamson: “I Am Not Suspending My Candidacy”

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – September 7, 2017
Quote of the Day – January 21, 2017
Quote of the Day – November 9, 2016
Progressive Perspectives on the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
Progressive Perspectives on the Election of Donald Trump
Carrying It On
Hope, History, and Bernie Sanders


Tuesday, January 07, 2020

Veterans for Peace Strongly Condemns Any and All U.S. Aggression Towards Iran


The following statement was released today by Veterans for Peace, a global organization of military veterans and allies whose collective efforts seek to “build a culture of peace by using our experiences and lifting our voices.” A primary aspect of Veterans for Peace's mission is to “inform the public of the true causes of war and the enormous costs of wars, with an obligation to heal the wounds of wars.”

The assassination of Qassem Soleimani, a senior Iranian military leader, is just the latest unilateral action by this administration that has brought us to the brink of war.

This latest act is part of a long list of hostile actions the U.S. has taken against Iran. Trump has filled his cabinet with warmongers like Mark Esper and Mike Pompeo; pulled out of the historic and successful Iran nuclear deal; embarked on a “maximum pressure” campaign that sent thousands more U.S. troops to the Middle East; and imposed crippling economic sanctions on Iran.

War with Iran would be yet another bloody disaster in the region and initiate another endless war. It is clear, based on extensive evidence, including the release of the Afghanistan Papers just last month, that the U.S. has had no strategy or accountability in conflict zones and only perpetuates chaos, confusion and violence.

Iran is a nation of 80 million innocent people, most of whom do not want war and oppose the actions of their own government. Similarly, Iraq is a nation of 38 million who deserve peace after the devastating U.S. war on Iraq. The people of both Iraq and Iran have long been working to achieve justice within their own governments. The actions by the U.S. government only work to destabilize these people’s movements.

Furthermore, we condemn continued escalation against Iranian targets in Iraq. The Iraq Parliament has voted for the removal of all U.S. troops from Iraq. If the U.S. does not honor the request by withdrawing military forces, we violate the very democratic sovereignty the U.S. has claimed to fight for since 2003 and further prove that the U.S. is there only to serve their colonial and economic interests.

The Trump administration's actions are a blatant violation of both international law and the constitutional mandate that only Congress is granted the power to declare war. Not to mention this administration continues to disregard every international standard and agreement by threatening to attack Iranian cultural sites and denying entry to members of the Iranian delegation to the United Nations.

As veterans who have been involved in illegal wars, we know too well the dangerous and disastrous consequences of wars that seek to benefit only defense contractors and corporations.

Veterans For Peace is sick of the lies, the massacres of innocent people, the waste of our national resources, and the deaths and injuries to our own soldiers. We want peace – not war – with the people of Iran and Iraq.




– Source: NoWarWithIran.org


Related Off-site Links:
#NoWarWithIran: U.S. Peace Advocates Say “Time for De-Escalation Is Now” – Jon Queally (Common Dreams, January 7, 2020).
Noam Chomsky: U.S. Is a Rogue State and Suleimani’s Assassination Confirms It – C.J. Polychroniou (TruthOut, January 7, 2020).
Iran Strikes Back at U.S. With Missile Attack at Bases in Iraq – The Associated Press via NPR News, January 7, 2020).
“This Is a Nightmare”: Iran Launches Rocket Attack on US Airbase in Iraq – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, January 7, 2020).
In Iran Showdown, Conflict Could Explode Quickly – and Disastrously – Bear F. Braumoeller (The Conversation via Salon, January 7, 2020).
Donald Trump's Options for Responding to Iran's Attack on U.S. Troops in Iraq – Kathryn Diss and Emily Olson (ABC News, January 7, 2020).
“No War With Iran” Marches Set for Thursday Across U.S. – Eoin Higgins (Common Dreams, January 7, 2020).

UPDATE: Trump Signals No Further Military Strikes After Iran's Attack – Alex Leary, Aresu Eqbali, Sune Engel Rasmussen, and Dion Nissenbaum (MSN News, January 8, 2020).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Saying “No” to War on Iran
The War Racket
Quote of the Day – March 20, 2018
Progressive Perspectives on U.S. Military Intervention in Syria
Saying “No” to Endless U.S. Wars
Vigiling Against Weaponized Drones
The Tenth Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq
A Letter to "Dear Abby" re. Responding to 9/11

Opening image: Justice and peace activists protest in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., January 4, 2020. (Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images)


Monday, January 06, 2020

Marianne Williamson on New Day with Christi Paul – 01/04/20

It's always heartening to see Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson receive mainstream media attention, even as she significantly scales back her campaign due to financial constraints. Yet as I documented last week, Marianne has not suspended her candidacy. “The point of my candidacy,” she said, “[is] to tell the heart’s truth and that does not cost money.”

And this past weekend, sharing a number of heart truths is exactly what Marianne did when she appeared on CNN's New Day with Christi Paul. Here she talked about “the things that matter,” including the need in the United States for a “season of moral repair” and a “coalition of heart and conscience” in order to “align our public policies with the angels of our better nature.”





[Some think it] ridiculous that Marianne Williamson is running for president. But, then again, it’s even more ridiculous that Donald Trump is president. So I’ll say this for Williamson: She’s not a serial con artist. . . . She says we need to love one another more and that, as a society, we need an intervention so we use the power in our hands to fix things. You don’t need to support her quest to agree there is something to be said for these sentiments. The United States would be a better place if more of us acted on them.

– Heliene Olsen
The Washington Post
December 18, 2019




See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Marianne Williamson: “I Am Not Suspending My Candidacy”
Marianne Williamson: “Anything That Will Help People Thrive, I’m Interested In”
The Relevance and Vitality of Marianne Williamson’s 2020 Presidential Campaign
Marianne Williamson and the Power of Politicized Love
Quote of the Day – December 10, 2019
Quote of the Day – November 11, 2019
Quote of the Day – November 4, 2019
Quote of the Day – June 28, 2019
Quote of the Day – April 24, 2019
Quote of the Day – November 5, 2018
Quote of the Day – August 29, 2017
Something to Think About (and Embody!)
Marianne Williamson on Live With Katy Tur, 11/29/19
Marianne Williamson on Amanpour and Company, 9/21/19
Marianne Williamson on The Breakfast Club, 8/29/19
Reaching for Higher Ground
“This Woman Is Going to Win the Nomination”: Matt Taibbi on Marianne Williamson in Iowa
Marianne Williamson On What It Will Take to Defeat Donald Trump
Caitlin Johnstone: “Status Quo Politicians Are Infinitely ‘Weirder’ Than Marianne Williamson”
Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson: “We’re Living at a Critical Moment in Our Democracy”
Marianne Williamson Plans on Sharing Some “Big Truths” on Tonight's Debate Stage
Sometimes You Just Have to Take Matters Into Your Own Hands
“A Lefty With Soul”: Why Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson Deserves Some Serious Attention
Why Marianne Williamson Is a Serious and Credible Presidential Candidate
Talkin’ ’Bout An Evolution: Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Bid
In the Garden of Spirituality – Marianne Williamson

Related Off-site Links:
A Leader, a Caring Community, and a New Story – Pam Blue (The Marianne Movement, January 7, 2020)
Exclusive Marianne Williamson Interview: “I’m Not Going Away and I’m Not Being Quiet” – Cailyn Derickson (The Herald, November 1, 2019).
Marianne Williamson: DNC is “Dictating” Rather Than “Facilitating the Process of Democracy” – Tess Bonn (The Hill, October 21, 2019).
Politics and Spirituality: The Meaning of Good? – Marianne Williamson Wants to Reconcile Politics and Spirituality Knowing Americans Crave Meaning – Joseph Serwach (Medium, November 4, 2019).
Interview with Marianne Williamson, 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate, on Love and Apathy – Andrew Bellah (The Politic, October 24, 2019).
Andrew Yang Seeks Donations for 2020 Rival Marianne Williamson: “She Has Much More to Say” – John Bowden (The Hill, November 6, 2019).
Marianne Williamson on Climate Change, Impeachment, and ImmigrantsPeople Chica (November 6, 2019).
Marianne Williamson on Climate, Respecting the Right, and the Blind Spots of the Elite Media – Olivia Nuzzi (New York Magazine, September 24, 2019).
The Gospel According to Marianne Williamson – Taffy Brodesser-Akner (The New York Times via Marianne2020.com, September 3, 2019).
Marianne Williamson Is Campaigning With the Language of Spirituality – Jenni Avins (Quartz, July 30, 2019).
Marianne Williamson Could Be America's First Single President in More Than 100 Years – Caroline Hallemann (Town and Country, July 30, 2019).
Marianne 2020 – The official Marianne Williamson for President website.