Saturday, May 21, 2022

Celebrating Tuesday’s Progressive Wins in the Midst of the Ongoing “War for the Future of the Democratic Party”

I was happy to hear that a number of progressive candidates, including Charles Booker (left), won their primary contests this past Tuesday. Ever since the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election, I’ve been doing my best to learn about and support progressive “down-ballot” Democratic candidates as opposed to corporate or establishment ones.

Why is this important? Well, author and former progressive presidential candidate has been a key proponent for electing progressive candidates. She’s hosted various online down-ballot progressive summits and established a helpful website to help in this regard. Here's what she recently said about the importance of working to get progressive candidates into congress.

As I said, this past Tuesday saw a number of progressive victories in key primary races in the U.S. Following is a compilation of media coverage of these victories and the ongoing “war” between corporatists and progressives for the future of the Democratic party.


Not every left-leaning candidate was victorious in Tuesday’s primary contests, but on the whole, the Democratic Party’s progressive wing had a successful showing despite the best efforts of the party establishment and millions of dollars in right-wing super PAC money.

While progressive candidates came up short in North Carolina, their counterparts in Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Kentucky notched important wins that set them up to take on Republican opponents in the fast-approaching November 8 midterms, with control of Congress on the line.

. . . Despite the setbacks in North Carolina, commentators were quick to note how much better progressives fared on Tuesday compared with corporate Democrats.

The “Manchin wing of the party [is] getting utterly routed tonight,” tweeted journalist Ryan Grim.

Tuesday’s flurry of progressive victories, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told The Intercept, demonstrates “the strength of the growing, organized progressive and [democratic socialist] electoral movement.”

– Kenny Stancil
Excerpted from “Big Wins, Tough Losses
in Key Progressive Primary Fights

Common Dreams
May 18, 2022

The stunning [progressive] wins come as the party debates who is to blame for Biden’s sinking approval rating and increasingly dire forecasts of upcoming midterm losses. Party establishment figures have pointed the finger at the left for making unreasonable demands couched in slogans like “defund the police” that turn off voters. The progressive wing has countered that Biden’s popularity has sunk as centrist Democrats have slowly murdered his agenda, while the left has fought to enact it.

Tuesday’s results suggest that Democratic voters – at least those in Pennsylvania and Oregon – would prefer that Democrats do more rather than less, delivering a stinging rebuke to the Kyrsten Sinema-Joe Manchin wing of the party. Next week, voters in Texas will cast ballots in a number of runoffs that pit progressives against super PAC-backed centrist Democrats.

Big-money groups spent some $15 million in those three House races – two in Oregon and one in Pennsylvania – while outside progressive groups managed just over $2 million yet prevailed in all three. In North Carolina, the super PACs had better luck, spending $7 million against former state Sen. Erica Smith and Durham County Commissioner Nida Allam. The spending came from AIPAC, Democratic Majority for Israel, and Mainstream Democrats, the super PAC organized and funded by LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.

– Ryan Grim
Excerpted from “Democratic Voters Deliver
Stinging Rebuke to Manchin-Sinema Wing

The Intercept
May 18, 2022

What you’ve seen is a surprising backlash, at the voter level, to all of the money that flooded in [for corporate/establishment Democratic candidates]. And it’s been a pretty good night for progressive candidates, despite all that money. . . . [The] argument [is being made] that Democrats have to win back the working class, and the way to do it is to make more progressive populist arguments.

– David Sirota
Excerpted from “Progressives Win Key Primary Races
Despite Millions Spent to Back Corporate Democrats

Democracy Now!
May 18, 2022

Charles Booker – the progressive former Kentucky state lawmaker with a plan to tackle rampant inequality – cruised to victory in Tuesday’s U.S. Senate Democratic primary, setting up a November contest against two-term Republican incumbent Rand Paul in which the challenger is vowing to “make history.”

“We’re going to beat Rand Paul. And let me be clear with you: We’re going to blow Rand Paul out,” Booker said during an appearance on The Young Turks. “We’re gonna do it by doing two things. One, [by] inspiring a vision that encourages people to believe things can be better.”

Booker touted his Kentucky New Deal, a plan to curb runaway inequality “which is really about us fighting for family, pushing the partisan divides aside, lifting up our common bonds, and really doing issue-based organizing.”

“We’re gonna work our asses off,” the 37-year-old Louisvillian vowed.

“But on the second side of it, we’re gonna beat Rand Paul by naming Rand Paul,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know what he does; he's a crisis actor, he’s a contrarian, he’s a fake libertarian, he stokes conspiracy theories.”

“We’re gonna help people see that he’s blocking disaster relief, that he’s blocking investments in infrastructure, that he’s opposing expanded healthcare – he called it akin to slavery – that he opposed the Civil Rights Act,” Booker continued.

“He doesn’t believe that we should invest in our home or that we should support our allies abroad,” the nominee added. “He’s a joke, and we’re gonna call him out.”

In a separate interview with Lex 18, Booker said he believes his campaign can reach Kentucky voters on both sides of the aisle.

“I’m fighting for issues regardless of party because at the end of the day, putting food on the table, keeping your lights on – doesn’t matter what your party is,” asserted.

If Booker defeats Paul in November, he will be the first Black U.S. senator in Kentucky history. He would also be the first Democrat from the commonwealth to win a U.S. Senate contest in 30 years.

– Brett Wilkins
Excerpted from “Kentucky Progressive Charles Booker
Wins Democratic U.S. Senate Primary

Common Dreams
May 18, 2022

On Tuesday night, Pennsylvania state Rep. Summer Lee [right] declared victory in her hard-fought primary election for the state’s 12th Congressional District. Lee, who had built a comfortable lead early in the race as an outspoken progressive leader with a record of local organizing, saw her frontrunner status evaporate by election day amid an onslaught of deceptive out-of-state attack ads funded by a variety of pro-Israel groups.

If she wins the general election in the deep-blue district, Lee, who In These Times interviewed in 2018 after she won the Democratic nomination for the 34th Pennsylvania state house district, would become the first Black woman and the first democratic socialist to represent Pennsylvania in Congress. She is running on a platform of enacting policies such as Medicare for All, a Green New Deal and carceral reform while calling for ending the filibuster in the Senate, expanding the number of Supreme Court justices and ending cash bail.

“They can’t say Black women can’t win,” Lee said to supporters on Tuesday night. “When we come together, we can’t be stopped.” In a statement released after declaring victory, she said: “We built a movement in Western Pennsylvania that took on corporate power, stood up for working families, and beat back a multimillion-dollar smear campaign. This was never about one candidate – it was about the people of this district who have been left behind by corporations who put their profits over our lives.”

Polling from early April showed Lee with a 25-point lead over the second-place candidate, millionaire Pittsburgh lawyer Steve Irwin. But by the end of the month, according to reporting from Jewish Insider, private polling found that the aggressive negative campaign waged against Lee had been successful – Irwin had erased her lead, leaving the two candidates in a statistical dead heat. As of Wednesday evening, Lee was leading Irwin 41.7 percent to 41.3 percent, with 99 percent of the vote reported.

In total, pro-Israel groups spent at least $2.5 million on the race, almost all of it attacking Lee. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s political wing, the United Democracy Project (UDP), spent more than $2 million running attack ads and a direct mail campaign. Despite being funded by a pro-Israel group, none of the UDP’s ads or mailers mentioned Middle Eastern politics, Israel or Palestine. Instead, the ads questioned Lee’s Democratic Party credentials, highlighted her 2020 criticism of then-candidate Joe Biden, and cast her as a threat to the party.

For her part, Lee has objected to claims that she’s anti-Israel, while also voicing criticism of U.S. politicians who haven’t spoken out against attacks on Palestinians. Lee has said she believes aid to Israel, as well as all American allies, should be conditional on their adherence to human rights.

Sen. Bernie Sanders doubled down on his criticism of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC] and its newly created super PAC on Friday, telling The New York Times that the powerful anti-Palestinian rights lobbying group’s foray into Democratic primary politics is threatening the future of the party and of U.S. democracy.

As Common Dreams reported this week, AIPAC’s super PAC, United Democracy Project (UDP), is spending heavily in several Democratic primary races to defeat progressives who support Palestinian rights and are critical of the billions of dollars in U.S. funding that goes to the Israeli military annually.

AIPAC’s spending in key races in North Carolina, Texas, Pennsylvania, and other states is in service of the group’s goal “to create a two-party system, Democrats and Republicans, in which both parties are responsive to the needs of corporate America and the billionaire class,” Sanders told the Times.

“This is a war for the future of the Democratic Party,” the Vermont independent senator added. “They are doing everything they can to destroy the progressive movement in this country.”

UDP has focused much of its spending this primary season on the race between progressive Pennsylvania state Rep. Summer Lee and former Republican attorney Steve Irwin – pouring $2.3 million into ad campaigns including one which accused Lee of being disloyal to the Democratic Party, only to have Lee narrowly defeat her opponent.

That attack ad garnered outrage from progressives including Sanders, who pointed out that the group has also donated to dozens of Republicans who objected to certifying the 2020 presidential election results.

“Why would an organization go around criticizing someone like Summer Lee for not being a strong enough Democrat when they themselves have endorsed extreme right-wing Republicans?" Sanders said to the Times.

. . . [H]istorian Jacob Remes [says] that critics like Sanders, who is Jewish, threaten AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups because they “actually represent the majority of U.S. Jews (especially U.S. Jewish Democrats), so they expose AIPAC as actually representing Republicans and Christian zionists.”

– Julia Conley
Excerpted from “‘This Is a War’ for Democratic Party’s Future,
Says Sanders of AIPAC’s Super PAC

Common Dreams
May 20, 2022

The corporatist wing of the Democratic Party will do anything to try to defeat progressive candidates. We cannot stand for that. We must continue to fight. And we will. . . . The Democratic Party as a whole has to make a decision: Is it the party of the corporatists, or is it the party of the people?

Related Off-site Links:
“She Can Win If We Stand With Her”': Sen. Bernie Sanders to Rally for U.S. House Candidate Jessica Cisneros in Texas – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, May 18, 2022).
Rep. Kurt Schrader, the “Joe Manchin of the House,” Nears Defeat in His Oregon Primary – Austin Ahlman (The Intercept, May 18, 2022).
“We Have to Flip This Seat”: After Senate Primary Win, U.S. Senate Candidate John Fetterman Shifts Focus to Beating GOP – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, May 18, 2022).
They Are Not Even Pretending Anymore: Democratic Leaders Are Joining With Oligarchs to Try to Permanently Destroy the Progressive Movement – David Sirota (The Lever, May 17, 2022).
Bernie Sanders Says Democrats Need “Major Course Correction” to Prevent GOP Takeover – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, January 10, 2022).
To Govern and Win Elections, Democrats Must Defeat Corporate Lobby – Not Surrender to It – Jeffrey D. Sachs (CNN Politics via Common Dreams, November 5, 2021).
Our Government Isn’t Progressive — But America Is – Julie Olicer (Data for Progress, October 22, 2020).
Progressive Policies Are Popular Policies – Robert Weissman (, May 1, 2020).
Majority of Americans Support Progressive Policies – Steve Liesman (CNBC News, March 27, 2019).
The United States Is a Progressive Nation With a Democracy Problem – David M. Perry (The Nation, February 6, 2019).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Michael Starr Hopkins: Quote of the Day – May 6, 2022
Ricardo Levins Morales on the “Deepest Political Fault Line” Separating Democrats
Maebe A. Girl: A “Decidedly Progressive Candidate” for Congress
Nina Turner: “A Candidate Who Can Make An Enormous Difference”
Progressive Perspectives on Nina Turner’s Election Loss
Will Democrats Never Learn?
Colin Taylor on the “Moral Obscenity” of Obstructionist Democrats Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema
Cornel West on Responding to the “Spiritual Decay That Cuts Across the Board”
Hamilton Nolan: Quote of the Day – August 3, 2021
Norman Solomon: Quote of the Day – July 8, 2021
David Sirota: Quote of the Day – January 26, 2021
Cornel West: Quote of the Day – December 3, 2020
Progressive Perspectives on the 2020 U.S. Election Results
Biden’s Win: “As Much the Sounding of An Alarm As a Time for Self-Congratulations”
We Cannot Allow a Biden Win to Mean a Return to “Brunch Liberalism”
My Summer of Supporting Progressive Down-Ballot Candidates
Marianne Williamson on the Contest Being Played Out by Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Quote of the Day – March 10, 2019

Monday, May 16, 2022

Quote of the Day

The ideology that motivated [Payton] Gendron’s mass murder in Buffalo, white replacement theory, has a lengthy and blood-soaked 20th-century history. Since 2011, it has been the explicit motivation for over 160 murders, including Norway’s Anders Breivik’s slaughter of 77 people, including some immigrants, in 2011, Dylann Roof’s mass murder of Black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, the Tree of Life synagogue killings in 2018, and the murder of 23 people, mostly immigrants, in El Paso, Texas, in 2019.

Mass atrocities do not occur in a vacuum. They are enabled by a present normalization of a lengthy previous history, a process that the philosopher of mass killing Lynne Tirrell labels the social embeddedness condition. White replacement theory was the dominant structuring narrative of Nazi ideology. Adolf Hitler also announced his genocidal intent in a lengthy manifesto about the supposed Jewish threat to white civilization, entitled Mein Kampf, which was published in 1924. Hitler also was obsessed by mass immigration, and the threat it posed to “white civilization.”

Currently, white replacement theory has been mass popularized and normalized, perhaps chiefly by the American political commentator Tucker Carlson. It is rapidly moving to the center of the mainstream narrative of America’s Republican party. In this form, it appears stripped of its explicit connection to antisemitism. You will not find Tucker Carlson asserting that the Jews are behind the mass replacement of American whites that he bemoans regularly in what is regularly the most watched cable news show in the United States among adults 25-54.

But what Carlson has been doing is spending an entire year repeating a conspiracy by Christopher Rufo that says that American education has been infected by a pro-Black ideology (CRT) that was created by German Jewish Marxist intellectuals (the Frankfurt School). And that while the CRT version of this conspiracy theory is new, it is a direct descendant of the “cultural marxism” conspiracy theory, which was a primary topic of Breivik’s manifesto.

The fact that Carlson does not mention American Jews as a target by name should be cold comfort to American Jews. Every single rightwing antisemite in America who watches Tucker Carlson’s show hears him as denouncing Jews when he regularly platforms the 20th century’s worst anti-semitic conspiracy theory.

Jason Stanley
Excerpted from “How White Replacement Theory
Keeps Inspiring Mass Murder

The Guardian
May 15, 2022

Related Off-site Links:
What Is the “Great Replacement” and How Is It Tied to the Buffalo Shooting Suspect? – Dustin Jones (NPR News, May 16, 2022).
Buffalo Massacre: Gunman Cited Racist “Great Replacement” Conspiracy Theory Popularized by Fox NewsDemocracy Now! (May 16, 2022).
Tucker Carlson’s “Great Replacement” Theory Comes From an Anti-U.S. Nazi French Thinker – Juan Cole (Common Dreams, May 16, 2022).
Buffalo Gunman’s Racism Directly Tied to Mainstreaming of White Nationalism, Say Critics – John Queally (Common Dreams, May 15, 2022).
Liz Cheney Says Republican Leadership Has “Enabled White Supremacy” – Richard Luscombe (The Guardian, May 16, 2022).
American Racism and the Buffalo Shooting – Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (The New Yorker, May 15, 2022).

UPDATES: Most Extremist Violence in the U.S. Comes From the Political Right – David Leonhardt (The New York Times, May 17, 2022).
Buffalo Shows We Must Confront the Right’s Racist Propaganda – Jesse Jackson (Chicago Sun Times via Common Dreams, May 17, 2022).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Marianne Williamson on America’s “Cults of Madness”
“New and Very Dangerous”: The Extreme Right-Wing Infiltration of the George Floyd Protests
President Trump, “We Hold You Responsible”
Quote of the Day – October 28, 2018
In Charlottesville, the Face of Terrorism In the U.S.
Trump's America: Normalized White Supremacy and a Rising Tide of Racist Violence

Opening image: Buffalo, NY resident Aaron Jordan adds to a sidewalk chalk mural depicting the names of the 11 people killed at a mass shooting at the city’s Tops Friendly Market – Sunday, May 15, 2022 in Buffalo, NY. (Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Yahia Lababidi: “Poetry Is How We Pray Now”

Write me a book
of lamentations
passionate and profound
pure expressions

of loss and longing
and you will discover
true sorrow is sacred
and your songs are psalms

– Yahia Lababidi
(from Learning to Pray:
A Book of Longing

Yahia Lababidi’s Learning to Pray: A Book of Longing is a beautiful collection of poems and aphorisms.

It also includes an insightful preface by Lababidi entitled “Poetry Is How We Pray Now.” Following is an excerpt.


The human heart abhors a vacuum. With organized religion losing ground, all sorts of substitutes rush in to fill the God-shaped hole. One particularly effective and time honored balm for the aching human heart is literature. For some, poetry is how we pray now.

In these skeptical times, there still exists an Absolute Literature, in the coinage of Italian writer Roberto Calasso, where we might discern the Divine Voice. Such pre- and post-religious literature share aims and concerns similar to belief systems: sharpening our attention, cultivating a sense of awe, offering us examples of how to better live and die – even granting us a chance at transcendence.

Mysteriously, certain strains of literary art are capable of using words to lose words – ushering us to the threshold of that quiet capital of riches: Silence. After all, it is in silent contemplation that difficulties patiently unfurl and entrust us with their secrets.

By deepening our silences, such literature allows us to overhear ourselves and can lend us a third (metaphysical) eye. We are able not only to bear witness to the here and now but, past that, calmly gaze at eternal things . . . over the head of our troubled times in order to try and understand our spiritual condition (where we’ve come from and where we’re heading).

In our fractured world, beset by so much physical suffering and political turmoil, as a kind of (unconscious?) corrective, more people are reading and writing literature that addresses the life of the spirit, overtly or otherwise.

One manifestion of this renewed spiritual hunger that is being met by literature was the publication of a major anthology, The Poet’s Quest for God: 21st Century Poems of Faith, Doubt, and Wonder (Eyewear, 2016), featuring over three hundred contemporary poets from around the world and of great value (as the jacket blurb indicates) “to those for whom poetry has become a resource or replacement for faith-bound spirituality.” This ambitious book of collective soul-searching was followed by another similar anthology, Without a Doubt: Poems Illustrating Faith (New York Quarterly, 2021).

Likewise, more spiritual oases are appearing in the desert of popular culture to slake the great thirst of seekers. Among the ones that I admire, and turn to for sustenance and inspiration, are edifying podcasts such as Krista Tippett’s On Being and Godspeed Institute or questing, interfaith journals such as The Sun, Parabola, Tikkun, Tiferet, Sufi, as well as many others.

Yet, since we cannot step into the same river twice, what does a return to religion look like? There remain, of course, poets, writers, and artists who pursue direct paths to God through their art. Similarly, there are readers, myself included, who study the lives and utterances of traditional saints and mystics for moral guidance and uplift.

Brad Gooch’s biography, Rumi’s Secret (Harper, 2017) is a fine example of this genre. In his “Secret,” the celebrated mystical poet and the world he lived in (around eight hundred years ago) come to life, and we develop a deeper appreciation of why this Muslim saint matters to us so much at our historical moment. Gooch, in conversation with respected Rumi translator Jawid Mojaddedi, quotes Mojaddedi as saying to him: “Rumi resonates today because people are thinking post-religion. He came to see mysticism as the divine origin of every religion.”

Nowadays, there is also a more ambiguous literature (as well as audience) that finds it needless to define their nameless yearning and sees no contradiction in drawing on different traditions to make a patchwork quilt of their inchoate longing. This peculiarly modern pilgrim, unencumbered by dogma, is unembarrassed to treat organized religion as an archaeological site to be excavated for durable ruins – unearthing fragments of Beauty, Grace, Wisdom wherever they might find them and leaving behind what does not resonate, spiritually.

In such literature that is not directly religious, all sorts of spirits are invited, random relics were thrown into the spiritual pot to prepare a nourishing bone broth. Amid the clamor of the culture wars dominating the headlines and airwaves, prayerful prose or poetry and mystic art grant us the opportunity to share Good News and make a joyful sound.

One way of doing so is by giving thanks, even in the midst of suffering. [. . .] Belief, in the midst of chaos [. . .] teaches us to deeply trust, in spite of appearances, in the innate and inexhaustible goodness of life and how we might contribute to it by caring for our souls. Instinctively, out of self-preservation in the encroaching darkness, we seek out the light with greater urgency – recognizing the necessity for transformation, re-evaluation of values, evolution . . .

We are called to sancify our days, in the phrasing of Kahlil Gibran: “Your daily life is your temple, and your religion. Whenever you enter into it take with you your all.”

Thus, literature in the service of belief, though mindful of other disciplines, is also shrewdly aware of their inadequacies – how the consolations of psychology, philosophy, science, even language cannot quite address the mysteries of the human heart. Mystical art addresses a profound, mute center in us, initiating us into hardly communicable secrets, numinous states of being, and a knowing (gnosis) at the very limits of our self or ego. Our metaphysical eyes are expert at collapsing distances, that way, seeing through the apparent to the Infinite.

Increasingly, I’m intrigued by the idea of artists as mystics and the worship of beauty as a form of prayer. How, for instance, in Omar Khayyam’s deceptively simple utterance, “I pray by admiring a rose,” one finds the connection among the visible, invisible, and indivisible laid bare. Theologian and Sufi mystic Al Ghazali put it thus: “This visible world is a trace of that invisible one, and the former follows the latter like a shadow.”

One year before his death, we find the great poet of longing, Rilke, meditating upon the inseparability of the material and spiritual worlds in these memorable, numinous words:

It was within the power of the creative artist to build a bridge between two worlds, even though the task was almost too great for a man. . . . Everywhere transience is plunging into the depths of Being. It is our task to imprint this temporary, perishable earth into ourselves, so deeply, so painfully and passionately, that its essence can rise again, invisible, inside of us. We are the bees of the invisible. We wildly collect the honey of the visible, to store it in the great golden hive of the invisible.

Reverence for the visible world is not in opposition to the invisible one; in the same way that it is through the body, we access the life of the spirit. Remembering that we are “bees of the invisible” sweetens the suffering and even cheats death of its ultimate sting. We are saved by the very idea of a back and forth, between a here and There.

Through myth and parable, the defiant muse instructs us in the art of being present and then how to vanish without a trace. Poetry explores these variations on the time-honored themes: loss, ecstasy, home, negotiaing how best to live with our unquenchable thirst, using odes to joy and manuals of love. Yes, the essence of this art of living is, always, Love. . . .

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
A Return to Spirit
Come, Spirit . . .
“Window, Mind, Thought, Air and Love”
As the Last Walls Dissolve . . . Everything is Possible
Guidelines for the Advent of a Universal Mysticism
New Horizons
“Joined at the Heart”: Robert Thompson on Christianity and Sufism
The Sufi Way
Sufism: A Call to Awaken
In the Garden of Spirituality – Doris Lessing
My Travels With Doris
Blue Yonder
The Landscape Is a Mirror
November Musings
“This Autumn Land is Dreaming”
James Baldwin’s Potent Interweavings of Race, Homoeroticism, and the Spiritual
Recovering the Queer Artistic Heritage
What We Mean By Love
Passion, Tide and Time
Love At Love’s Brightest
At Swim, Two Boys: A Beautiful Novel
Remembering Mary Oliver’s Queer Pagan Spirit
Reading About Keats on the Spring Equinox
Under the Blossoming Pear Tree

Opening image: Michael J. Bayly.

Monday, May 09, 2022

Inner Peace

Inner peace does not usually look like being perfectly blissful or being pristinely calm. More often it is the awareness that tough emotions are moving through you without giving them control. You feel the chaos, choose not to give it any fuel, and intentionally move gently through your day.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Cultivating Stillness
Your Peace Is With Me, Beloved One
You Are My Goal, Beloved One
The Beauty and Challenge of Being Present In the Moment
No Other Time, No Other Place
A Sacred Pause
Aligning With the Living Light
Mystical Participation
The Source Is Withn You
In the Garden of Spirituality – Marianne Williamson
Prayer of the Week – November 24, 2014
The Most Sacred and Simple Mystery of All

Image: Subject and photographer unknown.

Friday, May 06, 2022

Quote of the Day

What we’re witnessing from the establishment wing of the [Democratic] party is a repeated effort to frame progressives as naive and fringe. The problem with that is when you look at public polling, Americans overwhelmingly support progressive policies. When you remove party affiliation or names like AOC from these pieces of legislation, bills in support of universal health care, a $15 minimum wage and holding corporations accountable are wildly popular, which lets us know that they’ve got the right policies, the missing piece is messaging. The Democratic Party is not the party of Joe Manchin or Kyrsten Sinema. It’s becoming more and more the party of a young progressive movement. Like anything else, that shift hasn’t happened overnight, but it is clearly happening.

Michael Starr Hopkins
Quoted in Hanna Trudo’s article,
Progressives Struggle for Momentum
After Spate of Losses

The Hill
May 6, 2022

NEXT: Celebrating Tuesday’s Progressive Wins in the
Midst of the “War for the Future of the Democratic Party”

Related Off-site Links:
Bernie Sanders Says Democrats Need “Major Course Correction” to Prevent GOP Takeover – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, January 10, 2022).
To Govern and Win Elections, Democrats Must Defeat Corporate Lobby – Not Surrender to It – Jeffrey D. Sachs (CNN Politics via Common Dreams, November 5, 2021).
Our Government Isn’t Progressive — But America Is – Julie Olicer (Data for Progress, October 22, 2020).
Progressive Policies Are Popular Policies – Robert Weissman (, May 1, 2020).
Majority of Americans Support Progressive Policies – Steve Liesman (CNBC News, March 27, 2019).
The United States Is a Progressive Nation With a Democracy Problem – David M. Perry (The Nation, February 6, 2019).

UPDATES: They Are Not Even Pretending Anymore: Democratic Leaders Are Joining With Oligarchs to Try to Permanently Destroy the Progressive Movement – David Sirota (The Lever, May 17, 2022).
Progressives Win Key Primary Races Despite Millions Spent to Back Corporate DemocratsDemocracy Now! (May 18, 2022).
Kentucky Progressive Charles Booker Wins Democratic U.S. Senate Primary – Brett Wilkins (Common Dreams, May 18, 2022).
Nina Turner: Democrats Must Decide If They Are “Party of the Corporatists or Party of the People”Democracy Now! (May 18, 2022).
Big Wins, Tough Losses in Key Progressive Primary Fights – Kenny Stancil (Common Dreams, May 18, 2022).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Ricardo Levins Morales on the “Deepest Political Fault Line” Separating Democrats
Maebe A. Girl: A “Decidedly Progressive Candidate” for Congress
Nina Turner: “A Candidate Who Can Make An Enormous Difference”
Progressive Perspectives on Nina Turner’s Election Loss
Will Democrats Never Learn?
Colin Taylor on the “Moral Obscenity” of Obstructionist Democrats Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema
Hamilton Nolan: Quote of the Day – August 3, 2021
Norman Solomon: Quote of the Day – July 8, 2021
David Sirota: Quote of the Day – January 26, 2021
Cornel West: Quote of the Day – December 3, 2020
Progressive Perspectives on the 2020 U.S. Election Results
Biden’s Win: “As Much the Sounding of An Alarm As a Time for Self-Congratulations”
We Cannot Allow a Biden Win to Mean a Return to “Brunch Liberalism”
My Summer of Supporting Progressive Down-Ballot Candidates
Marianne Williamson on the Contest Being Played Out by Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Quote of the Day – March 10, 2019

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Quote of the Day

This is unprecedented that there would be a leaked document coming from the United States Supreme Court. But let’s be clear that these are incredibly unprecedented times that we find ourselves in in the United States, with an insurrection to overturn the results of an election last year and now with the Supreme Court seeking to potentially gut Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

This is a first draft of an unpublished opinion, so we don’t actually know what will happen. But very likely, given this draft, we will see the undoing of Roe v. Wade. And it’s important that we understand that with the undoing of Roe v. Wade, just what’s at stake in the United States for our democracy and the rule of law. And if we look at this within the context of our democracy and the rule of law, you see the potential for the Supreme Court to do a bit of cherry picking around equality issues, around privacy issues, about matters that relate to autonomy with people’s bodies.

Related Off-site Links:
A Leaked Draft Opinion Suggests the Supreme Court Will Overturn Roe v. Wade – Associated Press via NPR News (May 2, 2022).
Reaction to Report on U.S. Supreme Court Draft Abortion Decision – Reuters (May 3, 2022).
Leaked Supreme Court Draft Nothing But Right-Wing Politics Masquerading as Law – Erwin Chemerinsky (Common Dreams, May 3, 2022).
What a Supreme Court Ruling on Roe v. Wade Would Mean for Women – Laura Kusisto, Liz Essley Whyte and Jennifer Calfas (The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2022).
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Torches Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski: “They Don’t Get to Play Victim Now” – Josephine Harvey (The Huffington Post, May 3, 2022).
Critics Warn Supreme Court Draft Threatens Much, Much More Than Abortion Rights – Julie Conley (Common Dreams, May 3, 2022).
“Five-Alarm Fire”: Anger, Resolve as Thousands Rally Nationwide for Reproductive Rights – Brett Wilkins (Common Dreams, May 3, 2022).
“I Am Angry!”: Sen. Elizabeth Warren Unleashes in Fiery Speech Against “Extremist” Court – Julia Conley (Common Dreams, May 3, 2022).
Roe v. Wade Is About to Be Struck Down by the Electoral College – Jon Schwarz (The Intercept, May 3, 2022).
The End of Roe: Saving Abortion Rights Means Taking Them Into Our Own Hands – Natasha Lennard (The Intercept, May 3, 2022).
“Time to Take to the Streets”: Mobilizations Planned as Supreme Court Targets Roe – Jake Johnson (Common Dreams, May 3, 2022).
If and When Roe v Wade Is Overturned, the Backlash Could Hurt Republicans Badly – Eric Garcia (Independent, May 3, 2022).

UPDATES: Democrats Vow a Response to Roe’s Demise But Have Few Options – Jonathan Weisman (The New York Times via Yahoo! News, May 4, 2022).
Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Coney Barrett “Frankly Lied Under Oath” About Respecting Roe, Says Rep. Pramila Jayapal – Andrea Germanos (Common Dreams, May 4, 2022).
“I Made the Best Decision For Me”: Congress Gets Personal About Abortion – Madison Feller and Rose Minutaglio (Elle, May 4, 2022).
Nine Practical Things You Can Do Now to Defend Abortion Rights and Help Women – Steph Black (Common Dreams, May 4, 2022).
The Abortion Issue Going Forward – Marianne Williamson (Transform, May 7, 2022).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
U.S. Catholic Bishops: “Playing Politics on Abortion”
The Church’s Teaching on Abortion: Unchanged and Unchangeable?

Sunday, May 01, 2022

Beltane: A Time of Hope and Renewal

This is the time when sweet desire weds with wild delight. The Promise of Spring and the Power of the Waxing Year meet in the greening fields and rejoice together under the warm sun. The Tree of Life is twined in a spiral web and all of nature is renewed.

Excerpted from The Spiral Dance
p. 188

Today’s ancient Gaelic festival of Beltane celebrates the renewing energies of spring and the coming summer. As Brigit Anna McNeill so beautifully reminds us, Beltane “honours the life force in all wild ones, the fertility of the wild, and the medicine that is abundant at this time. Beltane means bright fire, which for me is the fire that ignites life.”

Now, I have to say that, compared to this time last year, there isn’t much to be seen of spring’s emerging life force here in Minnesota. Indeed, for weeks now, the weather has been cold and rainy.

Undeterred, I chose to mark Beltane today by lighting a candle (right) and praying that all my be open to the transforming presence of the Sacred in their lives and in the natural world. I also began attempting to save a jade plant that my dear friends Noelle and John had given me a while back, but which has been slowly wilting away since being in my care.

This involved re-potting the few remaining parts of my jade plant that appear healthy (opening image). As I did so, I pledged to do my best to nurture them back into full life. I’m usually good with indoor plants, but I’ve discovered I have a hard time keeping any kind of succulent healthy and alive.

I also marked Beltane by spending time in the damp garden, seeking out and celebrating any and every sign of renewal I could find.

On this gray, soggy day I commit to continue to seek out and celebrate signs of the return of spring. And I’m going to do this as I seek to be, in my own unique and quiet ways, an embodiment of hope and renewal – in both my own inner life and the wider life of the world.

A Blessed Beltane to All!

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Beltane: Casting Off the Darkness and Celebrating the Light
Beltane Morning Light
Beltane: Celebrating the Sheer Exuberance of May
Beltane and the Reclaiming of Spirit
The “People Between”
Welcoming the Return of Spring (2018)
Celebrating the Return of Spring (2017)
The Enkindled Spring (2016)
The Landscape Is a Mirror
Photo of the Day – April 21, 2019
Green Destiny
In the Footsteps of Spring
O Dancer of Creation
Imbolc: Celebrating the Freshness of New Beginnings
Imbolc: Festival of Light
Morning Light
Celebrating the Color of Spring . . . and a Cosmic Notion of the Christ
O Breath of Summer

Related Off-site Link:
Lucky Fires: Beltane Throughout the Ages – Tony Marshall Griffiths (New Eden Ministry, May 1, 2022).

Images: Michael J. Bayly.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

He’s Back!

This evening for “music night” at The Wild Reed I share “Off,” the lead single from singer-songwriter Maxwell’s forthcoming album, blacksummer’NIGHT.

The album, set for release early next year, will serve as the third in a trilogy of albums whose names are distinguished by the capitalization of letters in one phrase of the same title. The first album in the trilogy was released in 2009 and the second in 2016.

Writes Robyn Mowatt of “Off”: “[I]t’s a blissful, soft ride that preps listeners for what’s to come from the beloved singer. Hod David, a longtime collaborator, and Maxwell co-produced the cut. In its entirety, the track is stunning, it’s seductive but it’s also riveting.

Tom Breihan similarly notes that “Off” sees Maxwell in his “seductive comfort zone.”

The song’s “all about shooting all your shots and being on a mission to go off,” writes Breihan. “This is Maxwell truly giving the people what they want: I see you in the dark / You’re like moonlit spark / I’m in awe / Creamy chocolate work of art / Your skin is so damn soft / Coco butter silky thoughts. . . . The song is a slow, watery, atmospheric quiet-storm jam with a softly murmuring bassline and a slow eruption of guitar. It’s just as lovely and horny as you could possibly expect a new Maxwell song to be.”

Related Off-site Links:
Maxwell Is Finally Free – Elias Leight (Rolling Stone, November 16, 2021).
Maxwell Announces 2022 Tour and Shares New Song “Off” – Matthew Ismael Ruiz (Pitchfork, November 16, 2021).
Maxwell Gets Lost In An Otherworldly Love With “Off” Visual – Mya Abraham (Vibe, November 30, 2021).
Maxwell on Good Morning America – February 16, 2022.

For more of Maxwell at The Wild Reed, see:
Maxwell’s Welcome Return (2016)
Maxwell in the House
Rockin’ with Maxwell
Maxwell’s Welcome Return (2009)
Maxwell in Concert
The Return of Maxwell
Maxwell’s Hidden Gem

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Quote of the Day

We are no longer in the acute fulminant accelerated phase of the outbreak. We’re in somewhat of a transitional phase where the cases’ numbers have decelerated – and hopefully we’re getting to a phase of somewhat better control, where we can begin to start to resuming more easily normal activities. The United States and the entire world is still experiencing a pandemic, but there are different phases of the pandemic. And what we are in right now is somewhat of a transitional phase, out of the accelerated component into hopefully a more controlled component.

Dr. Anthony Fauci,
Chief Medical Adviser to President Biden
Quoted in Bill Chappell’s article “Here’s Why Dr. Fauci Says
the U.S. Is ‘Out of the Pandemic Phase’

NPR News
April 28, 2022

Related Off-site Links:
Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams Talks Fauci’s Pandemic Comments, COVID Vaccines for Kids, and Mask MandatesYahoo! Finance (April 27, 2022).
WHO Warns Poor Nations Could Be Pushed to “End of the Queue” for Pfizer Covid Pill – Kenny Stancil (Common Dreams, April 22, 2022).
Analysis Shows That Vaccination Could Have Prevented 3 in 5 U.S. COVID Deaths Since June 2021 – Kenny Stancil (Common Dreams, April 22, 2022).
An Equitable Roadmap for Ending the COVID-19 Pandemic – Mitsuru Mukaigawara, Ines Hassan, Genevie Fernandes, Lois King, Jay Patel and Devi Sridhar (Nature, April 5, 2022).
COVID-19 Will Continue But the End of the Pandemic Is Near – Christopher J L Murray (The Lancet, January 19, 2022).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
On the Second Anniversary of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Words of Gratitude and Hope
Difficult Choices
A COVID Start to 2022
Out and About – Autumn 2021
Renae Gage: Quote of the Day – November 28, 2021
COVID Observations From a General Surgeon
Richard LaFortune: Quote of the Day – August 20, 2021
Something to Lament
A Pandemic Year
Out and About – Spring 2020
Memes of the Times
The Lancet Weighs-in on the Trump Administration’s “Incoherent” Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic
Examining the Link Between Destruction of Biodiversity and Emerging Infectious Diseases
Sonya Renee Taylor: Quote of the Day – April 18, 2020
Marianne Williamson: In the Midst of This “Heartbreaking” Pandemic, It’s Okay to Be Heartbroken
Hope and Beauty in the Midst of the Global Coronavirus Pandemic
The Calm Before the Storm
A Prayer in Times of a Pandemic

Image: Yahoo! Finance.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Sen. Mallory McMorrow: “We Will Not Let Hate Win”

Last week Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow, a Democrat representing suburban Metro Detroit communities, pushed back against a Republican colleague who, in a fundraising e-mail, falsely accused her of wanting to “groom and sexualize kindergarteners,” and hold 8-year-olds responsible for slavery.

In an April 19 speech on the Michigan Senate floor, McMorrow denounced the campaign e-mail from Republican state Sen. Lana Theis that suggested she was a “groomer,” a term that describes how sex offenders make contact with their victims.

“I am the biggest threat to your hollow, hateful scheme,” McMorrow said. “Because you can’t claim that you are targeting marginalized kids in the name of ‘parental rights’ if another parent is standing up to say no. So then what? Then you dehumanize and marginalize me. You say that I am one of them.”

McMorrow then said she is a straight, white, Christian, married, suburban mom who was taught from a young age that Christianity and faith were about service, community and standing up for others who are marginalized and targeted.

She added that learning about slavery, redlining or systemic racism does not mean that children are taught to feel bad about themselves.

“No child alive today is responsible for slavery. No one in this room is responsible for slavery,” McMorrow said. “But each and every single one of us bears responsibility for writing the next chapter of history ... We can’t pretend that it didn’t happen, or deny people their very right to exist.”

McMorrow concluded her five-minute speech by saying, “Hate will only win if people like me stand by and let it happen.”

“We will not let hate win.”

Related Off-site Links:
Michigan Sen. Mallory McMorrow Explains Why She Stood Up to a Culture War AttackPBS Newshour via YouTube (April 22, 2022).
Democrats Need to Stand Up for Themselves – Molly Jong-Fast (The Atlantic, May 1, 2022).
Mallory McMorrow: A Role Model for the Midterms – David Remnick (The New Yorker, May 1, 2022).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Marianne Williamson on America’s “Cults of Madness”
Jason Stanley: Quote of the Day – May 16, 2022
Bend the Arc: Quote of the Day – October 28, 2018
Trump’s America: Normalized White Supremacy and a Rising Tide of Racist Violence