Thursday, August 31, 2023

Reflections on the Pandemic: The Bottom Line Is a Circle

Something very special today at The Wild Reed: a beautifully written piece by my friend Jean Greenwood in which she shares a number of insights on the COVID-19 pandemic we’ve all experienced in the last three-and-a-half years.

Jean’s piece is shared in its entirety here at The Wild Reed with her generous permission. Thank you, Jean!


Now that our COVID-19 emergency has ended, we’re breathing a cautious sigh of relief. What a sobering time it’s been. We were brought to our knees by a microscopic virus that wreaked havoc in our communities and our lives, causing immense disruption and loss – of loved ones, jobs, health, our very way of life.

While the pandemic is fresh in our minds, let’s excavate that experience for whatever wisdom we might glean to illuminate our path forward.

What have we learned? The preciousness of life? Good. Well, yes, if you’re wearing pajama bottoms on zoom, don’t stand up. Useful.

What struck me most, though, was the stark reminder of how vulnerable we all are, how dependent on others. Notions of self-sufficiency? Gone. We needed each other. Literally. What good is rugged individualism when the store is out of toilet paper, the clinic can’t see you due to staff shortages, there are no hospital beds available? We learned, viscerally, the meaning of “essential workers,” how critical they were to our lives, workers we often overlook and underpay – warehouse employees, bus drivers, grocery stockers, nursing home staff.

Even longstanding businesses discovered their vulnerability. Your supply chain is interrupted, materials left on coastal docks – worker shortages. Your workforce dwindles as employees sicken, some die. Your market dries up, as struggling consumers cut spending. Chain reactions in this web of life. “How could this happen,” business owners lamented, as they confronted their dependence on others.

As it turns out (trumpets, please), the bottom line is a circle – always dependent on countless people making the venture go. No initiative flies on its own. The bottom line is a circle, in business, in life. We need each other. This is the truth – may it go viral!

I was born into a farming community that lived this truth. If you got sick, couldn’t milk your cows, you called a neighbor. Harvest time, they rented a threshing machine together, then went farm to farm until the work was done. They formed a creamery coop and communally harvested ice on the lake. Shrewd farmers – they knew the wisdom of mutual aid and they all reaped the benefits. Their bottom line was a circle.

The geometry of our time: a circle as the bottom line, perhaps, of all time. According to Dr. Dean Ornish, our species evolved to survive by supporting and caring for each other. Species that didn’t, disappeared. Communal caring gave us a survival advantage.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead presented fossil evidence for prehistoric caring among homo sapiens – a healed femur. A broken femur was totally disabling, inevitably causing death, unless you received care.

There’s more.

In a leadership seminar, we did the “Snowbound” exercise: a vehicle caught in a storm with 40 potentially useful items. We each ranked the items on their usefulness, then shared our lists in the group and re-negotiated rankings, creating a new list. We were surprised to learn that in all the years they’d used the exercise, the group was always smarter than any individual. Another circle asset – we’re smarter together.

Political scientist Robert Putnam writes,“for the first two thirds of the twentieth century greater national prosperity and greater equality in sharing the wealth went hand in hand. . . . We were collectively richer and more equal.” (The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again) Add prosperity to the balance sheet.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said so eloquently, “In a real sense all life is inter-related. All persons are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”

In other words, we are in this together, whether we like it or not. We cannot go it alone, no matter who we are – we need the goods, services, not to mention, caring relationships, others provide. We celebrate independence – isn’t it time we celebrated interdependence?

If the pandemic has taught us anything, hasn’t it taught us that it’s in our best interests that others are doing well? The virus unmasked the myth of self-sufficiency. Seldom has it been more evident that our own well-being rests in the hands of others. We’ve got to look out for each other.

COVID was a wake-up call. The circle of caring and cooperation still gives us a survival advantage – that is the bottom line.

Trained in the circle process, Jean Greenwood has been a restorative justice practitioner since 1991. She is also a Presbyterian minister, a mediator, and an adjunct professor at numerous Twin Cities centers of higher education, including the University of Minnesota, Hamline University Law School, and United Theological Seminary.

Jean can be reached at


Related Off-site Links:
World Health Organization Says COVID Emergency Is Over. So What Does That Wean? – Maria Cheng (AP News, May 5, 2023).
“It’s Still Killing and It’s Still Changing.” Ending COVID-19 States of Emergency Sparks Debate – Kai Kupferschmidt and Meredith Wadman (Science, May 5, 2023).

UPDATE: The Virus That Causes COVID Can Directly Infect Plaque Cells in the Arteries – Allison Aubrey (NPR News, October 5, 2023).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Thom Hartmann: Quote of the Day – July 14, 2023
Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis: Quote of the Day – May 3, 2023
The State of the COVID Pandemic: “We’re Collectively Walking An Immunity Tightrope”
Vaccines and GMOs: Two Very Different Debates
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
A Prayer in Times of a Pandemic

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Monday, August 28, 2023

Quote of the Day

We know that the anti-woke, the stop woke terminology [used by Governor Ron DeSantis and others is] nothing more than a dog whistle. Woke – if you replace it, it’s Black. They have a problem with Black people. And their anti-Black policies and their continual attacks on the Black community [. . .] illustrate that perfectly. Over the past few legislative terms, we have seen a concerted effort for Ron DeSantis to silence Black voices, to silence Black pain, to devalue our humanity, to erase our history. And people are frustrated and tired. I am so saddened by the loss of Angela, Anolt and Jarrald. But, you know, I am angry. We are angry that leadership in our state continue to perpetuate this hateful violence through rhetoric.

– Florida State Representative Angie Nixon
Quoted in “Some Political Leaders in Florida Perpetuate
Hateful Rhetoric, State Rep. Nixon Says

NPR News
August 28, 2023

Related Off-site Links:
A White Man Fatally Shoots 3 Black People at a Florida Store in a Hate Crime, Then Kills Himself – Russ Bynum, Terry Spencer and Trisha Ahmed (AP News, August 26, 2023).
The Jacksonville Shooter Killed a Devoted Dad, a Beloved Mom and a Teen Helping Support His Family – Russ Bynum (AP News, August 28, 2023).
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Booed at Vigil as Hundreds Mourn More Racist Killings – Aaron Morrison and Russ Bynum (AP News, August 28, 2023).
Gary Younge on Jacksonville Shooting and Why America’s Gun Problem “Makes Its Racism More Lethal”Democracy Now! (August 28, 2023).

UPDATES: The Racist Murders in Jacksonville Didn’t Happen in a Vacuum. Words Came First – Reverend William Barber (The Guardian, August 29, 2023).
Jacksonville Shooting: Rep. Maxwell Frost Blasts DeSantis for Pushing Bigotry and Ignoring Gun ViolenceDemocracy Now! (August 29, 2023).
Obama Administration’s Capitulation to Republicans on Ignoring the Rise of White Nationalism Set the Stage for Jacksonville – Julia Conley (Common Dreams, August 30, 2023).
Racist Shootings “Don’t Happen in a Vacuum”: Bishop Barber on DeSantis, Trump and Those Who Spread HateDemocracy Now! (September 5, 2023).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Cornel West: “Of Course America Is Racist”
Two Comments on Racism in America . . . and a Perspective on White Solidarity
Disarming the Weapons Within

Saturday, August 26, 2023

Music Legend Kiki Dee: “I’m a Down-to-Earth Person”

Something very special this evening for “music night” at The Wild Reed: a wonderful 20-minute interview with music legend Kiki Dee, one of my favorite female singer-songwriters. Indeed, my favorite album of last year was The Long Ride Home by Kiki and her longtime music collaborator Carmello Luggeri. (You may recall that I shared this album’s title track as part of my 2022 birthday post, “Deeper Understandings.”)

The interview with Kiki I share this evening was recorded June 29 of this year. In it, Kiki chats with GB News host Angela Rippon about her iconic music career, a career that’s now covered over six decades. Throughout (both her career and this interview) Kiki lives up to her contention that at heart she’s a “down-to-earth person.” Just one more reason why I admire and respect her so much.

Kiki’s interview is followed by Great British Life’s June 20, 2023 feature article (with added images and links) on Kiki and her life in music. Enjoy!

Kiki Dee Looks Back on Her Career
and Forward to Touring

Great British Life
June 20, 2023

Say it quietly, but 2023 marks 60 years since 16-year-old Pauline Matthews left her native Bradford with her dad to go for an audition with London-based Fontana Records.

Now, following a string of solo hits, a number one record with Elton John, and an Olivier-nominated starring role in the West End, she’s back on the road with her musical partner of almost 30 years, Carmelo Luggeri, under her adopted stage name of Kiki Dee. “The name Kiki came from the idea of Kinky,” says Kiki today from her home in Ashwell. “I did think I wouldn’t be singing in five years time if they called me Kinky! Even then, when I got to Bradford they would say: ‘Kiki, what kind of name is that?’”

She sees her northern upbringing as an important part of her long career – particularly in that first decade when commercial success eluded her. “In the 1960s all I wanted was a hit record,” she recalls. “I started so early, and was so grateful for the opportunity. It would take five hours for me to go down on the train from Bradford and it was like going into another universe. I remember having a glass of wine in London as a teenager and feeling it was really special. People just didn’t drink wine in those days in the north. The 1960s was when people started travelling abroad. As a teenager I was influenced by the music – The Beatles, The Stones – and there were these gritty films and the art world taking off. I was so excited by it, I hated going home, but I could see the value of a solid background and loving family. Being a Yorkshire lass you don’t get a chance to lord it over everyone!”

As well as releasing singles with Fontana she performed backing vocals for Dusty Springfield on two of her early hits, “Little by Little” and “Some of Your Loving,” before becoming the first white female singer to be signed to Tamla Motown in 1970. “It’s only now through social media I’ve found out there were people, and still are people, interested in my 1960s stuff,” she says. “Because it wasn’t commercially successful I thought that nobody had heard it! One of my singles ‘On a Magic Carpet Ride’ [from 1968] sold recently for £450!”

It was Elton John and his record label Rocket Records, which was run by the creative mind of Steve Brown, which changed everything. She started a run of solo hits including breakthrough “Amoureuse,” “I’ve Got the Music In Me” and “Star,” as well as that famous duet. “It was the first time I’d worked with people my own age,” says Kiki, who was encouraged to start writing her own songs by Elton, as a reaction to the rise of the Californian singer songwriters like Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne. “I wasn’t the kid down from the north anymore. Elton gave me that platform.”

Above: Kiki Dee performing her original composition “Sugar On the Floor,” from her 1973 album, Loving and Free. Music critic Alan Robinson describes “Sugar On the Floor” as a “ruminative ballad that perfectly triangulates between gospel, old school R&B and country, and rounds out an accomplished [album] in fine style.” The song has been covered by numerous artists, including Etta James and Elton John.

Kiki was with Elton when he played his legendary Dodgers Stadium gigs in LA in 1975 – and returned there last November to perform alongside him, Dua Lipa and Brandi Carlile as part of his farewell tour.

Above: Kiki with Elton and his two other guest vocalists – Dua Lipa (left) and Brandi Carlile – backstage at Elton’s final USA tour date at Dodgers Stadium, Los Angeles, November 20, 2022.

“I got to talk to him on the phone for half an hour and it was like catching up with an old pal,” says Kiki. “He lives this extraordinary busy life. His farewell tour has turned into a long goodbye thanks to COVID. He was in great voice in November. I can’t see him never playing live again once the tour is over – he loves it. I think he wants more freedom – I could see him doing twelve nights at the Hammersmith Odeon like Kate Bush.” Elton’s tour comes to the UK later this year, but as yet Kiki hasn’t heard anything about repeating their duet. “It wouldn’t matter if we didn’t,” she says. “To have had this chance to play Dodger Stadium again was amazing – anything else is a plus.”

Kiki’s entrance into Elton’s best-selling autobiography Me is pretty spectacular – she appears at a party walking into a glass door “carrying every Champagne glass we owned.”

It has been suggested she write her own autobiography, but it’s something she would only consider once she retires – which isn’t any time soon.

“I would like to do something a little bit original, on my own terms,” she says. “I’m quite a private person – I don’t want my interior life to be shared with the world. That’s the price of being famous – Elton has given up so much of his privacy. My music is as honest as I can be as a human being.”

In particular she finds her ongoing collaboration with Carmelo to be fulfilling – a collaboration which began through Elton’s former PA and head of Rocket Records, the late Steve Brown. He approached her in 1994 after she’d enjoyed a successful period working in musical theatre – including a stint with the West End hit Blood Brothers. “He said I’d reached my mid-40s and needed to find something that was about music, not being a pop star, if I was to have a musical future” recalls Kiki. “He put Carmelo and I together and said we should go off and do some acoustic gigs, as just the two of us. Carmelo came from a rock background so it was different for him too.”

Steve’s instincts were proved right. Kiki and Carmelo have spent almost 30 years working together now, penning six studio albums and two live collections, the most recent of which was last year’s The Long Ride Home, as well as playing acoustic shows across the country and beyond.

Kiki enjoys the freedom that the set-up provides. “There’s a lot of space in the music,” she says. “Whenever I work with a full band now it sounds so loud! There’s a lot of intimacy in our shows, although we can rock out too, Carmelo uses a lot of pedals and can layer his guitars up. It gets quite dynamic, we can go pin-drop quiet up to ‘I’ve Got The Music In Me.’ We have invested in our own monitoring system now for on stage, so we are much more self-contained – we’re a little travelling show! We both like the freedom we have – we don’t want to have to compromise what we’re trying to achieve.”

The title track of The Long Ride Home is a perfect example of that freedom – drawing on Kiki’s Americana influences, not unlike the legendary Dusty in Memphis album, while also giving Carmelo space to rock out. “It’s like a melting pot of our influences,” says Kiki. “We used Indian drones on some tracks and tablas - our most adventurous album was one called Where Rivers Meet. Working with Carmelo is a step away from being what I think people expect from me – although I find I’m not so worried about what people think.”

She describes standing on stage as “a bit like exhibitionism – I'm here, what do you think?!” but overall she’s grateful to still be here.

“I don’t plan ahead,” she says. “I’ve got a couple of ideas for shows and songs but I need to get myself match fit. I go to the gym two or three times a week – I don’t go crazy, just some cross-training and breathing exercises. It is an interesting world – it’s so different now from when I started. I’ve always had to work hard – I see myself as a working woman, and I’m grateful that I have to work and can be connected to people. There are days when I think: ‘What am I doing?’ but it’s what gets you up in the morning. I never got married, I never had kids, I’ve had a free life and I like that.”

Great British Life
June 20, 2023

See also the related Wild Reed posts:
Kiki Dee and Carmelo Luggeri
“A Classy Duo”
Celebrating the Proverbial “Soulman”
Elton and Kiki: Together Again
Deeper Understandings
The End Is Not the End
Honoring the Darkness While Remembering the Light
The Light of This New Year’s Day

Related Off-site Link:
Kiki Dee’s Forward MotionThe Strange Brew (August 2023).

Previously featured musicians at The Wild Reed:
Dusty Springfield | David Bowie | Kate Bush | Maxwell | Buffy Sainte-Marie | Prince | Frank Ocean | Maria Callas | Loreena McKennitt | Rosanne Cash | Petula Clark | Wendy Matthews | Darren Hayes | Jenny Morris | Gil Scott-Heron | Shirley Bassey | Rufus Wainwright | Kiki Dee | Suede | Marianne Faithfull | Dionne Warwick | Seal | Sam Sparro | Wanda Jackson | Engelbert Humperdinck | Pink Floyd | Carl Anderson | The Church | Enrique Iglesias | Yvonne Elliman | Lenny Kravitz | Helen Reddy | Stephen Gately | Judith Durham | Nat King Cole | Emmylou Harris | Bobbie Gentry | Russell Elliot | BØRNS | Hozier | Enigma | Moby (featuring the Banks Brothers) | Cat Stevens | Chrissy Amphlett | Jon Stevens | Nada Surf | Tom Goss (featuring Matt Alber) | Autoheart | Scissor Sisters | Mavis Staples | Claude Chalhoub | Cass Elliot | Duffy | The Cruel Sea | Wall of Voodoo | Loretta Lynn and Jack White | Foo Fighters | 1927 | Kate Ceberano | Tee Set | Joan Baez | Wet, Wet, Wet | Stephen “Tin Tin” Duffy | Fleetwood Mac | Jane Clifton | Australian Crawl | Pet Shop Boys | Marty Rhone | Josef Salvat | Kiki Dee and Carmelo Luggeri | Aquilo | The Breeders | Tony Enos | Tupac Shakur | Nakhane Touré | Al Green | Donald Glover/Childish Gambino | Josh Garrels | Stromae | Damiyr Shuford | Vaudou Game | Yotha Yindi and The Treaty Project | Lil Nas X | Daby Touré | Sheku Kanneh-Mason | Susan Boyle | D’Angelo | Little Richard | Black Pumas | Mbemba Diebaté | Judie Tzuke | Seckou Keita | Rahsaan Patterson | Black | Ash Dargan | ABBA | The KLF and Tammy Wynette | Luke James and Samoht | Julee Cruise | Olivia Newton-John | Dyllón Burnside | Christine McVie | Rita Coolidge | Bettye LaVette | Burt Bacharach | Kimi Djabaté | Benjamin Booker | Tina Turner

Friday, August 25, 2023

Saying Goodbye to Eddie

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
I Knew It!
Photo of the Day – March 23, 2011
Out and About – March 2011
Out and About – Autumn 2012
Photo(s) of the Day – December 7, 2012
Photo of the Day – September 18, 2014
Out and About – Summer 2014
Sleepy Eddie
Out and About – Autumn 2015
Out and About – Spring 2016
Out and About – Summer 2016
Out and About – Autumn 2016
Photo of the Day – October 15, 2017
Photo of the Day – January 28, 2018
Photo of the Day – December 16, 2019
Out and About – Spring 2021
Out and About – Summer 2021
Out and About – Summer 2022
Deeper Understandings
Photo of the Day – December 3, 2022
Photo of the Day – May 7, 2023
May Vignettes (2023)
Eddie and Penny
Mystical Participation
Beatrice Marovich on Divinity and Animality in Life of Pi

Related Off-site Links:
A New Study Says Time Spent With Dogs Increases Brain Activity in the Prefrontal Cortex – Laura Staloch (PsyPost, November 25, 2022).
Dogs May Understand Even More Than We Thought – Knvul Sheikh (Scienticfic America, August 30, 2016).

Marianne Williamson on News Nation – 08/25/23

Author and Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson recently joined News Nation’s On Balance With Leland Vittert to discuss President Joe Biden refusing to debate opposing candidates for the Democratic nomination.

“If the DNC has their way, the fix is in,” Williamson said. “Their narrative is 'this is just tradition, we have an incumbent president and so there are not debates.’”

Related Off-site Links:
Democrat Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson Begins South Carolina Swing in Rock Hill – Lamaur Stancil (Post and Courier, August 25, 2023).
Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson Visits Vermont – Lucy Caile (WCAX-3 News, August 23, 2023).
Who Is 2024 Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson? – Catherine Garcia (The Week, August 22, 2023).
Democratic Candidate Marianne Williamson Says Network TV Won’t Cover Her CampaignTMZ (August 18, 2023).
Marianne Williamson Wants to Debate Joe Biden So Democrats Can See Options for President – Addison Lathers (Des Moines Register, August 12, 2023).
Marianne Williamson Polling at 10% Among DemocratsOn Balance (August 12, 2023).
Seeking Small-Dollar Support, Marianne Williamson Campaigns in Vegas, Aims for Presidency – Naoka Foreman (The Nevada Independent, August 12, 2023).
Marianne Williamson on Winning Over Undecided Democrats – Liz Jassin (News Nation, August 11, 2023).
Why Marianne Williamson Is Running for President Again in 2024 – Lee DeVito (Detroit Metro Times, July 10, 2023).
Marianne Williamson Answers Voter Questions in “Conversation with the Candidate” – WMUR-TV (June 30, 2023).
Marianne Williamson Is Wowing Gen Z on TikTok. But Could She Beat Biden in the Polls? – Brendan Rascius (McClatchy DC, June 13, 2023).
Marianne Williamson: United States Needs a Fundamental “Economic U-turn”Sky News (June 17, 2023).
Debate Us, Mr. President – Marianne Williamson (Newsweek, May 31, 2023).
Marianne Williamson Blasts DNC for Doing Everything to “Make It Easier” for Biden – Ryan King (Washington Examiner, May 29, 2023).
For Marianne Williamson, the Bernie Sanders Lane Looks Wide Open – Mini Racker (TIME, May 25, 2023).
Marianne Williamson Wants to Introduce a New Politics to DC – Maximillian Alvarez (The Real News Network, May 18, 2023).
How Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Compare to Biden on 6 Key Issues – Andrew Stanton (Newsweek, May 15, 2023).
Marianne Williamson: From Third Way to Third Eye – Chris Lehmann (The Nation, May 15, 2023).
Marianne Williamson: Democrats Need a “Genuine Economic Alternative” to Beat the GOP in 2024 – David Sirota (Jacobin, May 5, 2023).
Marianne Williamson on Her 2024 Presidential Bid – C-SPAN (May 4, 2023).
Why Biden May Have to Forfeit the First Contest in His Re-election Bid to Marianne Williamson or RFK Jr. – Alex Seitz-Wald (NBC News, April 27, 2023).
Marianne Williamson Is Serious About Running a Progressive Campaign for President – Liza Featherstone (Jacobin, April 27, 2023).
DNC Shields Biden, Refuses to Hold Primary Debates, Silences RFK Jr and Marianne WilliamsonRising (April 24, 2023).
Marianne Williamson Made a Campaign Stop in Detroit Where She Railed Against the 1%. The Media Didn’t Cover It – Michael Betzold (Metro Times, April 25, 2023).
The Case for Marianne Williamson – Zach Courtney (The Minnesota Daily, April 20, 2023).
Democratic Presidential Longshot Marianne Williamson on Challenging Biden: “We Should Have as Many People Running in an Election as Feel Moved” – Victor Reklaitis (Market Watch, April 15, 2023).
Marianne Williamson, Fusing Bernie Sanders and (Early) Jordan Peterson, Is Taking Over TikTok – Ryan Grim (The Intercept, April 14, 2023).
Meet Eris, the Goddess Behind the Force That Is Marianne Williamson – Rayner Jae Liu (Medium, April 8, 2023).
Marianne Williamson Making Gains Against Joe Biden, New Poll Suggests – Jason Lemon (Newsweek, April 1, 2023).
Marianne Williamson Says Democrats Need to Fix “Unjust” Economy to Win – Andrew Stanton (Newsweek, March 12, 2023).

UPDATE: Marianna Williamson Slams Cable News for Ignoring RFK Jr, Her Challenge to BidenRising (August 27, 2023).

See also: Marianne 2024 Official Site | About | Issues | News | Events | Blog | Donate

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Marianne 2024
Marianne Williamson Launches 2024 Presidential Campaign
Progressive Perspectives on Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Run
More Progressive Perspectives on Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Run
Ben Burgis: Quote of the Day – March 10, 2023
Despite the Undemocratic Antics of the DNC, Marianne Williamson Plans on “Winning the Nomination”
The Biblical Roots of “From Each According to Ability; To Each According to Need”
Marianne Williamson on The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton – 05/30/23
Marianne Williamson’s Economic Bill of Rights
Three Progressive Voices on the War in Ukraine
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – June 27, 2023
Marianne Williamson on The Issue Is with Elex Michaelson – 07/20/23
Voters, Not the DNC, Should Choose the Nominee
Marianne Williamson in New Hampshire
Marianne Williamson: “Repairing Our Hearts Is Essential to Repairing Our Country”
Marianne Williamson on Trump’s Day in Court
Marianne Williamson: “We Must Challenge the Entire System”
Progressive Perspectives on the U.S. Midterm Election Results
Marianne Williamson on the Current Condition of the U.S.
An Essential Read Ahead of the Midterms
Marianne Williamson’s Politics of Love: The Rich Roll Interview
Celebrating Tuesday’s Progressive Wins in the Midst of the Ongoing “War for the Future of the Democratic Party”
Now Here’s a Voice I’d Like to Hear Regularly on the Sunday Morning Talk Shows
A Deeper Perspective on What’s Really Attacking American Democracy

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Quote of the Day

Six of the eight Republican presidential candidates [last night] raised their hands when asked whether they would support Trump as the nominee even if he had been convicted of a crime – Burgum, DeSantis, Haley, Pence, Ramaswamy and Scott.

. . . So much for the party of law and order.

– Charlie Sykes
Excerpted from “The Vivek and Nikki Show
The Bulwark
August 24, 2023

Related Off-site Links:
Republican Candidates Fight Each Other, and Mostly Line Up Behind Trump, at the First Debate – Jill Colvin, Sara Burnett and Jonathan J. Cooper (AP News, August 24, 2023).
6 of 8 Republican Candidates Vow to Back Trump as Party’s Nominee Even If He Is ConvictedDemocracy Now! (August 24, 2023).
Fact Checking the First Republican Debate – Lori Robertson, Jessica McDonald, Eugene Kiely, Robert Farley, D'Angelo Gore, Saranac Hale Spencer, Hadleigh Zinsner and Sean Christensen (, August 24, 2023).
Five Takeaways From the First Republican Primary Debate – Domenico Montanaro (NPR News, August 24, 2023).
Republican Debate Shows Candidates Stuck in Denial on Climate Emergency – Juan Cole (Informed Comment via Common Dreams, August 24, 2023).
GOP Candidates Refuse to Say Climate Change Is Caused by Humans; Vivek Ramaswamy Calls It a “Hoax”Democracy Now! (August 24, 2023).
Should the U.S. Keep Funding War in Ukraine? Debate Reveals Deep Divisions Within Republican PartyDemocracy Now! (August 24, 2023).
The Scariest Lie at the GOP Debate Wasn’t About Donald Trump – John Nichols (The Nation, August 24, 2023).

UPDATE: A Neuro-Scientist Explains Why Loyalty to Donald Trump Is Often Unbreakable – Bobby Azarian (AlterNet, August 25, 2023).
Republicans Are Stuck in the Past – Michael Hamer (Michael-In-Norfolk, August 28, 2023).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Robert Reich Presents Five Facts About Donald Trump’s Indictments
Sean O’Grady: Quote of the Day – August 15, 2023
Marianne Williamson: “Repairing Our Hearts Is Essential to Repairing Our Country”
Something to Think About – August 4, 2023
Marianne Williamson on Trump’s Day in Court
Jessica Roth: Quote of the Day – August 1, 2023
Why Trump’s Classified Documents Case Is Unique
Rahna Epting: Quote of the Day – June 9, 2023
Jeff Sharlet on the Fascist Ideology of Donald Trump and Marjorie Taylor Greene
It’s Not Just Trump: Ralph Nader on the “Lawlessness” of Other U.S. Presidents
Chauncey Devega on the Ongoing Danger of the Trump Cult
Historian Nancy MacLean: The Threat to American Democracy Is at “Red-Alert”
William D. Lindsey: Quote of the Day – August 12, 2022
“How Can One Overreact to a Mortal Threat to American Democracy?”
A Deeper Perspective on What’s Really Attacking Democracy
“The Coup Attempt on Jan. 6th Was a Warning for What’s to Come If We Don’t Act”
Donald Trump’s Open and Shameless Criminality
“My Biggest Worry Is for My Country”
Republicans Pose an “Existential Threat” to American Democracy
The Big Switch
The Republican Party in a Nutshell
Republicans Don’t Care About American Democracy
“The Republican Party Has Now Made It Official: They Are a Cult”
David Remnick: Quote of the Day – February 13, 2021
Dan Rather on America’s “Moment of Reckoning”
Michael Harriot: Quote of the Day – January 6, 2021
Insurrection at the United States Capitol
Fascism Is Upon Us
Saying “No” to Donald Trump and His Fascist Agenda
Trump’s Playbook

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Three Radical (Religious) Ideas for Queer Liberation

The Wild Reed’s 2023 Queer Appreciation series continues with something that’s actually from 2019. I toyed with including content that’s four years old, but then realized it’s actually still very relevant, not only for this year but (sadly) for probably the next several years, perhaps decades.

Let me explain. . . . For its June-July 2019 Pride issue, Out magazine featured “50 Radical Ideas for Queer Liberation.” While not all of these ideas resonated with me, many of them did, including three of them (Ideas 34-36) that were grouped together under the heading “Religions All Over the World Will Affirm, Accept, and Uplift Queer and Trans People.”

Clearly, we’re still a long way off from collectively embodying such a liberating religious idea. All the more reason then to continue to highlight it . . . and its three components as first published by Out magazine in 2019.


IDEAS 34-36: Religions All Over the World Will Affirm,
Accept, and Uplift Queer and Trans People

Religion has played an outsized role in the persecution and marginalization of LGBTQ+ folks all over the world, practically since the beginning of what’s considered “modern civilization.” With its ties to and power over government, religious texts have been weaponized, wielded by religious authorities to enforce conformity, cisheteronormativity, and repression of sexual and gender expression. As a result, there is not just blood on their hands – it’s up to their ears, God – in almost all of their names and expressions – has been invoked where queer children are cast on the street, as we are psychologically tormented into so-called conversion, as we are raped into submission, and as we are murdered, whether by our hands or theirs.

But now, queer people are not just taking center stage, demanding representation in the arenas of politics and entertainment – they’re also reclaiming the pulpit. We asked a group of queer and transgender Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faith leaders to describe their dreams for their religions, and to imagine a future where queerness is next to godliness.

IDEA 34: The Next Generation of Christian Leadership
Will Be Queer and Trans Women of Color

First, all of the Christian churches have to issue an apology to queer and trans people. Knowing Christianity’s ability to do harm should already make us humble about anything that we say. Apologies help to make space for people to do what they need in order to move forward with their lives. With apologizing comes letting go of the expectation that LGBTQ+ people will automatically trust these Christian churches in return.

The next step would be deferring. This is very consistent with Jesus, and with his way of embodiment – he deferred to the working class, to women, to people who were materially marginalized by the Roman Empire. For us to be faithful to his vision for the world, we have to defer and let those who have been hurt and harmed by Christianity be the ones who lead and transform the faith. In that way, there should be a moratorium on straight, white, male, cisgender leadership in the churches. Instead, queer women of color, sex workers, and trans people should lead these denominations over the next 50 years.

And finally, the churches as a whole needs to listen to survivors of any kind. Christianity is very text-based, whether that’s biblical, hymn, or sermon – but I think one text that’s often missing in church decision-making is the text of human lives. We must listen to what people have experienced, how they’ve been harmed, and how churches can move forward in humane ways. Giving credence to personal witness is a universal Christian value. Often, with great harm comes great wisdom.

Rev. Broderick Greer, Episcopal priest

IDEA 35: Judaism Will Decolonize Itself

One of the oldest standing synagogues in the Western world is in Barbados, which is where members of my family were enslaved. That synagogue, of course, has been there since the early days of the slave trade. When I tried to bring this up among members of my faith community, I was met with resistance. It took me time and interactions with other Jews to understand that my Blackness shapes how I interpret the lessons of Judaism. This has become a frame for me, and one of the challenges we’ve faced around inclusion of Black Jews in the American mainstream Jewish community.

Throughout my experience, there’s a reluctance to identify how colonialism has impacted our faith, from Eastern European Jews to the Sephardim and Mizrahim. But if there is universality to be found, it’s that Judaism thrives in the message of the future liberation.

The uncomfortable truth is that, in order to live out this message, Jews need to engage in deep conversations about the very idea that we’re entitled to a homeland. The Israeli government denies Palestinian people the right to live or be there, and it has made very clear that Jewish people are to be treated as first-class, which of course means there are second class citizens. That does not make a democracy.

We should understand that freedom is a world without borders – physically and figuratively. And therefore, we can advocate for the Palestinian right of return, just like Jews have in Israel. We can understand that Palestinians have a right to live on the lands that are the traditional places of their families. We can then focus on understanding ourselves as being in good relations with the communities around us.

But also, let’s remove the borders around gender. Let’s offer language for non-binary people in our prayer books. Let’s rethink our gendering of the Bar and Bat Mitzvah to make space for more young people. If we decolonize ourselves – free ourselves from what has been taught, adapted, and miscarried under imperial and colonial rule – we can be free.

IDEA 36: Islam Will Return to Its True Nature
by Centering Justice

We should examine the role of imperialism in Islam, and emphasize that permissive attitudes toward gender expression and homosexuality were part of the justifications used by Christian Crusaders to invade Muslim lands. The Qur’an is actually so vague and so scarce on the subject of LGBTQ+ people. But there was a stereotype in the West that Muslim cultures were perverted or twisted in this way, because of more permissive or diverse attitudes about what we’d now call queerness.

But after imperialism, we still have remnants of its effects, like the criminalization of homosexuality, or even the idea that Islam and its teaching are opposed to queerness, which breeds ignorance. And now there’s the added problem of state power manifesting these narratives – whether that’s the state power of Saudi Arabia, or Iran, or wherever gay Muslims may be living throughout the world, or even the carceral system of the United States. We cannot combat the violence or marginalization queer Muslims experience without confronting the injustices of state power.

Just as much as we need faith leaders and organizations to declare their acceptance of queer people, we also need queer spaces to be welcoming and accepting of Muslim people, however they may define or express that. All Muslims should, in the future, have the permission to feel beauty about themselves, their Muslimness, and whatever tradition they’re inherited in Islam. Islam is a framework by which one can lead a better life. That’s why our work towards liberation is not quite progressive – in the sense that before or now, it is regressive and needs fixing. Rather, we look at it as a return to one of the most important things in the Qur’an: a movement towards justice. That includes the liberation of queer and trans people, of course. But it’s also for everyone. It’s about disrupting the power altogether.

– The organizers of Masjid Al-Rabia,
a Muslim community center in Chicago, IL

– Excerpted from “50 Radical Ideas for Queer Liberation,”
Out magazine, June/July 2019.

NEXT: In St. Paul Schools,
“Trans Advocacy Is Always Advocacy for Everyone”

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Spirituality and the Gay Experience
Gay Pride as a Christian Event
In the Garden of Spirituality – Toby Johnson
Gay People and the Spiritual Life
The Gifts of Homosexuality
The Bible and Homosexuality
For Some Jews, Israel’s Treatment of Palestinians is Yet Another Jewish Tragedy
Israeli Policy, Not Anti-Semitism, at the Root of Disruption at Creating Change 2016 Conference
Omar Akersim: Muslim and Gay
Parvez Sharma on Islam and Homosexuality
Progressive Perspectives on Islam and Homosexuality in the Aftermath of Orlando
Sufism: Way of Love, Tradition of Enlightenment, and Antidote to Fanaticism
Afdhere Jama’s “Love Song to the Queer Somali”