Saturday, December 07, 2019

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Marianne Williamson and the Power of Politicized Love

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In 1776, our founders brought forth on this planet an extraordinary new possibility. It was the idea that people, no matter who they were, would simply have the possibility of thriving. We have not ever totally actualized this ideal. But at the times when we have done best, we have tried. And when forces have opposed them, generations of Americans have risen up and pushed back against those forces.

We did that with abolition and with women’s suffrage and with civil rights. And now it is time for a generation of Americans to rise up again, for an amoral economic system has turned short-term profits for huge multinational corporations into a false god. And this new false god takes precedence over the safety and the health and the well-being of we the American people and the people of the world and the planet on which we live.

Conventional politics will not solve this problem because conventional politics is part of the problem. We, the American people, must rise up and do what we do best and create a new possibility, say no to what we don’t want and yes to what we know can be true.

I’m Marianne Williamson, and that’s why I’m running for president.



See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Relevance and Vitality of Marianne Williamson’s 2020 Presidential Campaign
Marianne Williamson on Live With Katy Tur, 11/29/19
Marianne Williamson: “Anything That Will Help People Thrive, I’m Interested In”
Quote of the Day – November 4, 2019
Quote of the Day – November 11, 2019
Something to Think About (and Embody!)
Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson on Amanpour and Company, 9/21/19
Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson on The Breakfast Club, 8/29/19
“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”
Friar André Maria: Quote of the Day – June 28, 2019
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
Marianne Williamson: Reaching for Higher Ground
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – April 24, 2019
Why Marianne Williamson Is a Serious and Credible Presidential Candidate
Talkin’ ’Bout An Evolution: Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Bid
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – November 5, 2018
In the Garden of Spirituality – Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – August 29, 2017

Related Off-site Links:
Exclusive Marianne Williamson Interview: “I’m Not Going Away and I’m Not Being Quiet” – Cailyn Derickson (The Herald, November 1, 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).
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 2020 – The official Marianne Williamson for President website.


Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Remembering Fred Hampton




If you dare to struggle, you dare to win. If you dare not struggle, then goddammit, you don't deserve to win.

– Fred Hampton







Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Chicago Police Department’s assassination of Fred Hampton, the 21-year-old chairman of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP).

Notes Wikipedia:

Fred Hampton (August 30, 1948 – December 4, 1969) was an American activist and revolutionary socialist. He came to prominence in Chicago as chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP), and deputy chairman of the national BPP. In this capacity, he founded a prominent multicultural political organization, known as the “Rainbow Coalition,” creating an alliance among major street gangs to end their fighting among themselves and work for social change.

Because of his strong leadership, the FBI identified Hampton in 1967 as a radical threat and began to try to subvert his activities in Chicago, sowing disinformation among these groups and placing a counterintelligence operative in the local Panthers. In December 1969 Hampton was shot and killed in his bed during a pre-dawn raid at his Chicago apartment by a tactical unit of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, in conjunction with the Chicago Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation; during this raid, another Panther was killed and several were seriously wounded. In January 1970, a coroner's jury held an inquest and ruled the deaths of Hampton and Mark Clark to be justifiable homicide.

A civil lawsuit was later filed on behalf of the survivors and the relatives of Hampton and fellow Panther Mark Clark. It was eventually resolved in 1982 for a settlement of $1.85 million; the City of Chicago, Cook County, and the federal government each paid one-third to a group of nine plaintiffs. Given revelations about the illegal COINTELPRO program and documents associated with the killings, scholars now widely consider Hampton's death to have been an assassination under the FBI's initiative.




Related Off-site Links:
50 Years Ago Today, Police Murdered Fred Hampton. His Activism Lives On – Claudia Garcia-Rojas (TruthOut, December 4, 2019)
Considering Fred Hampton’s Legacy, 50 Years After His Death in Police Raid – Gaynor Hall (WGN 9, December 3, 2019).
In 1969, Charismatic Black Panthers Leader Fred Hampton Was Killed in a Hail of Gunfire. 50 Years Later, the Fight Against Police Brutality Continues – William Lee (Chicago Tribune (December 3, 2019).
Fred Hampton Remembered as a “Focused and Caring” Visionary – Kathy Chaney (Chicago Sun Times, December 4, 2019).
The Revolutionary Love of Fred HamptonWhy Am I Not Surprised? (December 4, 2008).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Remembering the “Brave and Brilliant” Gil Scott-Heron
Changes
Remembering Prince, “Fabulous Freak, Defiant Outsider, Dark Dandy” – 1958-2016
Trump's America: Normalized White Supremacy and a Rising Tide of Racist Violence
Quote of the Day – June 20, 2017
Something to Think About – July 10, 2016
Remembering Philando Castile and Demanding Abolition of the System That Targets and Kills People of Color
Our New Possibility
Something to Think About – December 29, 2015
“We Are All One” – #Justice4Jamar and the 4th Precinct Occupation
“Say Her Name” Solidarity Action
“And Still We Rise!” – Mayday 2015 (Part 1)
“And Still We Rise!” – Mayday 2015 (Part 2)
In Minneapolis, Rallying in Solidarity with Black Lives in Baltimore
At the Mall of America Today, a Necessary Disruption to “Business as Usual”
Rallying in Solidarity with Eric Garner and Other Victims of Police Brutality

Images: Photographers unknown.


Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Interiors












Images: Michael J. Bayly.

Monday, December 02, 2019

Quote of the Day

If [my writing always makes it clear what’s right and what’s wrong], I’m not doing a good job. I don’t like movies that are that black and white. I don’t like movies that tell me what to think. Let me wrestle with that. I can’t tell someone what to take away from my art. That’s not my job. . . . [I still have a point of view though]. And I have to put myself in the work. I have to put my spirit, my soul, my body, my skin, my fingernails – that needs to be in it. But it’s not a good scene unless two people in it have conflicting points of view. It’s Writing 101. Depth. Complication. That’s how the world is.

– Lena Waithe
Excerpted from “Lena Waithe’s Art of Protest
The New York Times
December 2, 2019


Related Off-site Links:
Queen & Slim Is Another Tale of Outlaws on the Run, But Also Much More Than That – Ann Hornaday (The Washington Post, November 25, 2019)
Queen & Slim Review: Love on the RunThe New York Times (November 26, 2019).
Queen & Slim: A Heartbreaking Road Trip – Johnny Oleksinski (New York Post, November 25, 2019).
Queen & Slim's Beautiful Betrayal – Cate Young (Jezebel, December 2, 2019).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Purpose of Art
Art and Resistance
The Potential of Art and the Limits of Rigid Orthodoxy to Connect Us to the Sacred
Praying for George W. Bush
Real Holiness

Image: The poster for the film Queen & Slim, directed by Melina Matsoukas, screenplay by Lena Waithe, and starring Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith.


Friday, November 29, 2019

Carl Anderson: “Like a Song in the Night”

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This evening for "Music Night" at The Wild Reed I share "All I Wanna Do," one of a number of stand-out tracks from Carl Anderson's 1992 album Fantasy Hotel.

As anyone familiar with this site would know, Carl Anderson (1945-2004) is my favorite male vocalist . . . and Fantasy Hotel is definitely one of my favorite albums of his.

You know, I've said it before but it's worth repeating: I like to think that in some parallel universe Carl has the superstar status which in this universe was inexplicably denied him. This despite the fact that he possessed a vocal range, elasticity, and sensuality that matched, and often bettered, those of his contemporaries Freddie Jackson, El Debarge, Jeffrey Osborne, John Whitehead, Al Jarreau, and Luther Vandross. As the Funky Town Grooves website notes, “Carl Anderson was a singer with great range, clarity of diction . . . and that rare ability to sing flawlessly from a technical standpoint while still communicating character and emotion.”

I dare say that for most people, Carl Anderson is best remembered for playing Judas Iscariot in the 1973 film adaptation (right) and numerous stage productions of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar. (For more about Carl’s groundbreaking portrayal of Judas, click here, here, and here.)

Tonight, though, we're visiting a later part of Carl's career, checking into his Fantasy Hotel where a table set for two, complete with wine and candlelight, awaits us. As does, of course, the beautiful voice of Carl Anderson. . . . And, yeah, as Carl knowingly sings, it all works together to ensure that “it's such a lovely feeling.”

What makes it especially lovely for me is how Carl leaves the gender of his love interest to the listener's imagination. I always appreciate that in a love song, given that so few reflect same-sex attraction and desire. And in the case of this particular song, the dreamy screen cap at left from Richard Elliot's music video with Carl serves as an acceptable and beautiful image, wouldn't you say? . . . All I wanna do, indeed.

Regardless of what images you conjure as you listen to this wonderful track, be sure to enjoy it below. . . . And just a heads-up, it's followed by a review of Fantasy Hotel, in which Carl's tragically cut-short life is poetically compared to a “song in the night.” . . . Tragic, yes. But with a musical legacy that includes so many wondrous tracks, one can also say of Carl's gone-too-early life, What a song! . . . And (because of that) What a night!




I got my table set for two
Wine and candlelight
Just for me and you
I can't wait to taste your kisses
I want you close to me
You're so delicious

When you're not beside me
I get so down that I just can't think
When your arms are wrapped around me
That's when I become complete

Oh, all I wanna do is dance with you
All I wanna do the whole day through
Into the night
And I'm gonna hold you tight

All I wanna do is dance with you
I just want to have a love that's true
All of my life
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

And when I open up my door
You were looking oh so fine
You're what I've been waiting for
Nothing else compares with you
All the things you do to me
Make me feel brand new

Every time you touch me
When my body feels the heat
The temperature starts rising
To the fever of the beat

So all I wanna do is dance with you
All I wanna do the whole day through
Into the night
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

All I wanna do is dance with you
I just want to have a love that's true
All of my life
It's gonna be alright

You got me where you want me
It's such a lovely feeling
Just to know that you love me
You got me dancing on the ceiling

Every time you touch me
When my body feels the heat
My heart starts a pounding
Can't you see what you do to me?

All I wanna do is dance with you
All I wanna do the whole day through
Into the night
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

All I wanna do is dance with you
I just want to have a love that's true
All of my life
It's gonna feel alright



Following, with added images and links, is a 2005 review of Fantasy Hotel by the website SmoothViews, a site dedicated to "keeping smooth jazz in sight."

__________________________


Like a song in the night, vocalist Carl Anderson left us much too early. . . . In February 2004, he lost his fight to leukemia. Having appeared on countless albums over the years, Anderson had a unique voice that rose above his surroundings. Born a twin in the mountains of Bedford County, Virginia, Carl was raised by God-fearing parents. Carl often said that he got his boundless energy from his twin who died at the young age of eleven [months]. His music career took off after securing the role of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. He has graced the albums of such artists as Eric Marienthal [pictured with Carl in this post's opening image], Maynard Ferguson, Weather Report, Richard Elliot, Keiko Matsui, George Howard as well as Russ Freeman and the Rippingtons. One of his better known works was a disc entitled Fantasy Hotel. As a tribute to Carl, we would like to review that disc and pay homage to a great vocalist.

Released in 1992, Fantasy Hotel was the seventh solo release from Anderson. Produced by Russ Freeman and Andre Fischer for GRP Records, the disc had ten new songs including a single entitled “Once In A Lifetime Love.”

The first track “I Will Be There” features Carl's vocals as clear as ever. Accompanied by the background vocals of Leslie Smith, Anjani Thomas, and Maxi Anderson, this opener is up-tempo and showcases the talents of drummer Tony Morales and bass, keyboards and electric guitar of Russ Freeman. “If Not For Love” is a David Foster arrangement with a catchy refrain and deep background harmonies as well as the sax solo work of Dave Boruff. “Once In A Lifetime Love” is one of my favorites here. Morales and Freeman join the background ladies once again as Anderson's vocals soar on the refrain offering a sharp contrast to the syncopated verses. Freeman's electric solo blends nicely as they join towards the end to finish this one out.

Love Will Follow” features an All-Star cast with Nathan East joining on bass, Gerald Albright on sax, and Mark Portman on keyboards. Freeman and Morales make sure this Kenny Loggins re-make showcase Carl's vocals. Albright's solo is refreshing as are the ladies' background vocals. The fifth song from Fantasy Hotel is the scat-like “Enough Said.” Carl reminds me a lot of Jarreau here and the presentation lends it to being a great live number. Alphonso Johnson's bass keeps this one driving along with some nice background vocals by the ladies once again, and Portman's keyboards. “All I Wanna Do” is arranged by Freeman and he plays everything here – keyboards, guitar, bass and drum programming – with Morales on occasional percussion. This one is catchy, and Anderson seems to be having fun with it. Freeman's keyboard work is remarkable, and sounds very much like background horns.

The Closest Thing To Heaven” is the first one here arranged by Brad Cole and Andre Fischer. It's eerie to hear it now, and Carl's voice is so clear. This is a nice arrangement, and builds with a lot of emotion. “Lover's Mask” is an intricate intertwining of vocals and instruments. Anderson's vocals play off of each note until rising to an uplifting chorus. “I'm No Stranger” begins as a funky little number with some nice bass and percussion. Carl's vocals are strong and play nice against the background of Brad Cole's piano. This one builds until the end and is one of the better numbers here.

Wish I Could Stay (Fantasy Hotel)” is dark while being accompanied by only a piano. It's almost as if he knew his time here would be short. It's reflective as well as wishful.

[In the album's liner notes] Carl writes, “Wish I could stay as time and reality intervenes; now it is past and only pictures remain. But reserved for you in the center of my soul is the garden suite at Fantasy Hotel.”

Thanks, Carl. Godspeed to you as you lift up your voice in the heavens above. As for the Fantasy Hotel, we'll be by often to check in.

SmoothViews
June 2005




The Wild Reed's February 2019 Celebration of Carl Anderson:
Remembering and Celebrating Carl Anderson
Carl Anderson: “Pure Quality”
Carl Anderson's Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar: “The Gold Standard”
Carl Anderson's Judas: “A Two-Dimensional Popular Villain Turned Into a Complex Human Being”
Carl Anderson: “Artist and Vocalist Extraordinaire”
Playbill Remembers Carl
Remembering the Life of Carl Anderson: “There Was So Much Love”


For more of Carl at The Wild Reed, see:
Carl Anderson: “One of the Most Enjoyable Male Vocalists of His Era”
With Love Inside
Carl Anderson
Acts of Love . . . Carl's and Mine
Introducing . . . the Carl Anderson Appreciation Group
Forbidden Lover
Revisiting a Groovy Jesus (and a Dysfunctional Theology)

Related Off-site Links:
A Profile of Carl Anderson – Part I: A Broadway Legend with Lynchburg Roots – Holly Phelps (LynchburgMuseum.org, May 12, 2015)
A Profile of Carl Anderson – Part II: The Legend Lives On – Holly Phelps (LynchburgMuseum.org,June 10, 2015)
Carl Anderson – Jazz Legend: The Official Website
Carl Anderson Memorial Page
Carl Anderson at AllMusic.com – Ron Wynn (AllMusic.com)
Carl Anderson Biography – Chris Rizik (Soul Tracks)


Marianne Williamson on Live With Katy Tur, 11/29/19

It's always great to see Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson's "Big Truth-telling" getting some serious media attention. . . . For as one commentator notes, "it is so amazing to hear such deep resonating truth-telling, intelligence, humility, authenticity, and wisdom in a presidential candidate."




NOTE: The last minute or so of Marianne's interview with Katy Tur is cut off in the above video. For Marianne's response to Katy's "fun question before you go," click here. Here's what she says: "You know, Katy, as well as I do that any time I start talking about things from a larger more expanded philosophical vision, it is used by those who want me out of the conversation to feed a false narrative that I'm just some kind of a whack job. . . . But I'm going to keep talking for as long as I can."


See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Marianne Williamson: “Anything That Will Help People Thrive, I’m Interested In”
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
Something to Think About (and Embody!)
Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson on Amanpour and Company, 9/21/19
Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson on The Breakfast Club, 8/29/19
“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”
Friar André Maria: Quote of the Day – June 28, 2019
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
Marianne Williamson: Reaching for Higher Ground
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – April 24, 2019
Why Marianne Williamson Is a Serious and Credible Presidential Candidate
Talkin’ ’Bout An Evolution: Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Bid
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – November 5, 2018
In the Garden of Spirituality – Marianne Williamson
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – August 29, 2017

Related Off-site Links:
Out Of The Debates, Marianne Williamson Visited Her Iowa Stronghold Instead – Elizabeth Meyer (Iowa Starting Line, November 21, 2019).
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).
Marianne Williamson Decries “Character Assassination” in Rindge Visit – Jake Lahut (Sentinel Source, November 5, 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 2020 – The official Marianne Williamson for President website.


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Prayer



Acrobatic swallows
tasting the day
and the river itself.

The light of my lamp, the people
I have held in my arms,
the ones yet to hold.

All the old ones embraced by the earth
and young ones entranced by the sky,
any moment of justice.

One dog with soulful eyes,
all listeners and thinkers,
teachers and keepers.

All workers and doers.

The friendship of books and solitude,
skin and sinew, the struggle of beauty,
the step of a deer.

The cooling of day into dark.

A goldfinch crossing in pure air,
the sky and again
the sky.



See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Come, Spirit!
Michael Greyeyes on Temperance as a Philosophy for Surviving
Something to Think About – November 23, 2017
Something to Think About – November 24, 2011

Image: Michael J. Bayly.


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

After the Season's First Snowstorm, a Walk Through the Neighborhood


In much of Minnesota we're experiencing our first major snowstorm of the snow season of 2019-20. Here in the Twin Cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, 8 inches of snow has fallen since 9:00 o'clock last night. A second storm, comprised of a possible rain-snow-ice mix, is forecast for Friday evening through Sunday.

Earlier today I took a walk through my neighborhood, which is the Seward neighborhood of south Minneapolis, and took the following photographs.











For the story behind the sign above at left, click here.







Notes Wikipedia:

The Seward neighborhood in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., is geographically southeast of downtown, consisting of the land bordered by Hiawatha Avenue to the west, Minneapolis Midtown Greenway (between E. 27th St. and E. 28th St.) to the south, the Mississippi River to the east, and Interstate 94 to the north. Seward's bordering neighborhoods are Cooper to the Southeast, Longfellow to the South, East Phillips to the Southwest, Ventura Village to the West, Cedar-Riverside to the North, and Prospect Park/East River Road across the Mississippi River to the East. It is one of the neighborhoods that is part of the larger Longfellow community. Seward was named after former New York senator, governor, and US Secretary of State William H. Seward.


The neighborhood includes a number of local (and lively) businesses along Franklin Avenue including Zipps Liquors, Nomadic Oasis Barber Lounge, Steady Tattoo and Body Piercing, Soberfish Restaurant, and two cooperatives, Seward Co-op (a grocery store) and Seward Community Cafe. The neighborhood is also home to the Milwaukee Avenue Historic District, Northern Clay Center, ArtiCulture and The Playwrights' Center.







Related Off-site Links:
Even Bigger Storm Slams Minnesota This Weekend: Record-breaking Storm Heads for Minnesota Friday – Paul Huttner (MPR News, November 27, 2019).
“Bomb Cyclone” Whips Through the West as Winter Storms Snarl Thanksgiving Travel – Colin Dwyer (NPR News, November 27, 2019).
Thanksgiving Storms Dump Snow on Much of the US – and It Isn't Over Yet – Doug Stanglin (USA Today, November 28, 2019).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Just in Time for Winter
Finn's View of November's “Deepening Cold”
Winter Arrives! (2009)
First Snowfall (2010)
Winter Storm (2012)
A Winter Walk Along Minnehaha Creek (2013)
Winter's Return (2014)
Winter Storm (2016)
Autumn Snow (2017)
Winter Beauty (2017)
Winter . . . Within and Beyond (2017)
December's Snowy Start (2018)
Winter . . . Within and Beyond (2019)
Winter of Content

Image: Michael J. Bayly (Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis, MN).


Quote of the Day

[Barack Obama's recent statements reflect] the Beltway punditry consensus [that] dictates that Democrats must move center to appeal primarily to the white moderate swing voter or Trump supporter in the Midwest, rather than cultivate a multi-racial base and court non-voters.

Establishment and Wall Street Dems are misreading the winds of public sentiment if they believe moderation is a winning political strategy for 2020. There is no constituency for a presidential candidate who prescribes half-measures to put out a fire.

And polling indicates that. . . . The former president is mistaken if he believes that in appealing to the electorate, Democrats must tamp down their message and advocate for tweaks in the system rather than systemic reform.

– David A. Love
Excerpted from “Why Obama Is Just Plain Wrong
About Democrats Moving 'Too Far Left'

Common Dreams
November 27, 2019


Related Off-site Links:
Obama Is Wrong to Push Democratic Party Centrism – Leland Nally (Common Dreams, November 26, 2019).
The Real Barack Obama Has Finally Revealed Himself – Luke Savage (Jacobin, November 27, 2019)
Amid National Surge, New Poll Shows Bernie Sanders Top Democrat in New Hampshire – Jon Queally (Common Dreams, November 27, 2019).
Obama Privately Considered Leading “Stop-Bernie Campaign” to Combat Sanders 2020 Surge – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, November 26, 2019).
Quit Saying That Bernie Sanders Can't Win — He May Be the Most Electable Democrat Running in 2020 – Matthew Rozsa (Salon, November 24, 2019).
Noam Chomsky: Democratic Party Centrism Risks Handing Election to Trump – C.J. Polychroniou (TruthOut, November 21, 2019).
“Majority of Americans Agree With Me and Bernie”: Michael Moore Makes Powerful Case for Medicare for All – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, November 21, 2019).
It’s Not Thanks to Capitalism That We’re Living Longer, But Progressive Politics – Jason Hickel (The Guardian, November 22, 2019).
Centrists Aren’t Political Realists. Leftists Are – Luke Savage (Jacobin, November 21, 2019).
OK Obama, It’s Time to Cancel Centrism – Sonali Kolhatkar (TruthDig, November 20, 2019).
New York Times Recycles Polling to Tell Dems Once More: Move to the Right – Julie Hollar (FAIR, November 14, 2019).
A Centrist Cannot Win in 2020 – Robert Reich (TruthDig, October 9, 2019).

UPDATE: Obama Looms Over Divided Democratic Primary – Max Greenwood(MSN News, November 29, 2019).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – October 19, 2019
Quote of the Day – April 24, 2019
Quote of the Day – March 10, 2019
Quote(s) of the Day – February 26, 2019
Marianne Williamson on What It Will Take to Defeat Donald Trump
Hope, History, and Bernie Sanders
Progressives and Obama (Part 7)

Image: Julio Cortez-Pool / Getty Images.


Sunday, November 24, 2019

Celebrating Polly Mann's 100th Birthday

Yesterday I attended Polly Mann's 100th birthday celebration in Minneapolis.

Polly is a longtime justice and peace activist and co-founder of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) – a non-profit organization dedicated to dismantling systems of militarism and global oppression, and one of the most active and influential justice and peace groups in the Midwest. She’s been described as a “relentless speaker of truth to power.”

Polly’s also a very dear friend of mine and a great inspiration in my own efforts in making a positive difference in the world. Thank you, Polly . . . and Happy 100th Birthday!




Following is Polly's short autobiography from the website of Southside Pride, a free monthly newspaper locally owned and operated in South Minneapolis, and to which she still contributes the occasional column under the title, “Notes from the Desk of Peace Activist Polly Mann.”

I was born November 19, 1919, in the little town of Lonoke, Arkansas., and spent my growing-up years in Hot Springs, Ark. After high school I got a job in the Transportation Section of the Quartermaster’s Office (U.S. Army) in Little Rock. During my couple of years there I watched bayonet practice and troop trains depart for the war in Germany (very sobering experiences). As a result I became a pacifist, and that belief guided the rest of my life. I married a military draftee, a young lawyer from Minnesota, who shortly was sent by the military to a base in New Guinea. I then got a job with the U.S. government and went to Ecuador and Peru for a couple of years. When the war was over, my husband, Walter, and I lived in Minnesota where he practiced law and eventually was appointed judge. We (Walter and I and our four children) lived in Windom and Marshall. Upon his retirement we moved to the Twin Cities. He died in 2004. When we came to Minneapolis, a friend and I started an organization, Women Against Military Madness, which has 1,000 members, one staff person and a newsletter editor and is going strong. Today I write occasional articles for the newsletter, see my friends, and enjoy retirement.






________________________


The following images and commentary are excerpted from my website Faces of Resistance: Images and Stories of Progressive Activism at the Turn of the Millennium (1997-2006).


Left: Marianne Hamilton, Polly Mann, and Lu Cossins on the occasion of their joint 80th birthday celebration - February 27, 2000. All three women have played significant roles in Women Against Military Madness (WAMM).



Right: Polly Mann, co-founder of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) – May 1999.

“For many years I thought militarism itself was responsible for war,” noted Polly in October 1999. “But slowly, very slowly, I have come to realize that militarism is itself not responsible for war. It is the mechanism, the servant, of a larger force - a force that is the dominant religion of American society. This religion is touted in every possible way. Half of Sunday’s newspaper is devoted to it . . . It’s most obvious churches are the shopping malls. This force, this god, goes by many names – the most obvious is money. Another is consumerism . . . Another term often applied is the American lifestyle – a term which implies the ability to buy anything you have the money or the credit card capital for. The doctrines of this religion go by many names: ‘free trade,’ meaning unrestricted trade, ‘the market economy,’ and ‘corporate globalization.’”

In April 1999 I invited Polly to speak to a class I was teaching at the College of St. Catherine-Minneapolis, entitled Spirituality and Social Justice. Following are some of the students’ responses to Polly’s presentation:

• War is something Polly is familiar with. She is originally from Arkansas where she worked in an Army camp [during World War II]. She expressed sadness while telling us about the activities of the camp. She said it was very emotional to see the trains leave with the soldiers. They had to say goodbye to their loved ones. She said the worst [part] was when they returned home. Many [of the soldiers] were dead and the rest wounded. It did not seem to matter that they were heroes. [Polly] also told of the fighting techniques the men were taught. Bayonet practice was hard for her to watch because of its brutality. During this time she decided that she would speak out against war, but living in a small town [made it] difficult.

• [In questioning and challenging militarism] Polly has had some negative experiences. She has been arrested because of protesting and [has been] put into jail. The WAMM office has received hate mail and threats. The positive side is how [her activism] effects the people around her. Personally, I think seeing her stand up makes me think I can do something like that with an issue I strongly believe in.

• Polly was a wonderful speaker and I really admire her . . . I left class feeling very uplifted and charged. She has inspired me to speak out against topics like war and to fight for what is right. I have always wondered what difference will it make if I argue for this or that? I am only one person and nobody will listen to me. Polly proved to me that I am not the only one out there. All it takes is for one person to start the ball rolling.


Left: “I feel bad, but I’m not angry,” says Polly of the events of 9/11. “I’m saddened, but I’m not angry because I understand that there’s a background to all of this. And also, I think of the 5,000 children who die every month in Iraq and I don’t see two inches in the newspaper about that. So, until every death is the same as a death of ours, we’re going to have trouble. Until we feel the equal pain for their loved ones that we do for the loved ones of Americans, we’re in trouble and we’re going to stay in trouble.”

Reflecting on the Bush administration’s war rhetoric and the strong support it seemingly has from the American public, Polly notes, “America is not a peace-loving country. It is a country filled with people who love their things more than they love their children. Our wealth has done us in.”


Related Off-site Links:
Polly Mann Is Still Taking on War and Racism at Age 96 – Randy Furst (Star Tribune, February 25, 2016).
Peacemaker Parishioners Stay Faithful to Their Mission in Minneapolis – Nadia Barnett (National Catholic Reporter, July 18, 2019).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
The Inspirational Polly Mann Turns 90
Marv Davidov, 1931-2012

Images: Michael J. Bayly.