A Path For Pete, Part 2

Thinking the past 2 weeks on this post has brought me to question whether there is actually a path for Pete and if there is one, if he would even take it.  So it happens that I began questioning my support for Pete and whether he is the right person to lead us out of this quagmire.

Buttigieg’s straightforward responses and down to earth persona allows us to connect with him.  We then move to content and his responses showed a nuanced, informed approach to what needs to change in this country.  But, alas, this will not be enough.  I had tweeted before the second debates that the country needed to see his passion and I was left wanting.  I still do not see him connect on a gut level–the level that produces an “aha!” moment deep within the listener and the mind marries the heart and a lasting connection is made.

The only candidate that gets close to that is Elizabeth Warren and on this alone, if she continues, will cement her capturing the nomination, no matter how leftist the Republicans will then paint her.  She has showed that she has the guts and the drive and the know how to steer this country in the right direction.

So what is really the path for Pete?  If landing a cabinet position or a VP spot is his mere aim, then continue on, no changes.  If you want to capture the nomination you will have to capture the hearts and minds of the electorate–and be better than Warren at it.  So what needs to happen?

1.  Stop ignoring the pink elephant in the room– I have not heard you once talk on a national stage about your personal struggle as a gay man but more importantly on how you feel that will affect how people view you and vote for you.  (I don’t know how this was handled when you first ran for mayor, but if putting it in the backgroun worked before, I don’t think it will now.)  You WILL have to talk about this and talk about it in the best way you know how: being vulnerable by talking about an intensely private matter in a most elegant, honest, and thoughtful manner.  This brings to mind the quotations on my email signature:

“To be a spiritual warrior, one must have a broken heart; without a broken heart and   the sense of tenderness and vulnerability, your warriorship is untrustworthy. ~Chögyam Trungpa”

“The ancient bodhisattvas were not afraid of, but found joy in failure, poverty and death — and in doing small things. ~Shunryu Suzuki”

2.   While the Douglass Plan does help, do not make Bernie’s mistake in the last go around.  You need to be able to connect with racial minorities in a REAL way, you feel me?  Yes what you are advocating for helps all Americans of all colors, we know that.  Thoughts, plans, and ideas are all well and good but are you going to elaborate on the inroads that you made in your hometown and the lessons learned going forward, for example?  How will you extrapolate that into a national outlook?  Do you think that church going minorities do not talk about the fact that you are gay?  Do you see the women candidates not talking vociferously about the fact that they are women?  What do you see the colors of the cloth you weave of those closest around you looking like?  Speak to this truth, it it exists.

3.  Expand on your intimate experience of faith.  Carry your faith in your sleeve.  This is another sure-fire way of increasing that heart-mind connection–and this will extend to not only minority voters but also to more conservative democrats and disgusted republicans.  Do not underestimate the power of reaching out to people on that which makes you similar to them, putting all plans and policies aside.  No time in history have the core values of what it means to be an American been trounced.  Never before has the electorate been as naive as the last election–perhaps making a turning point in American participatory politics that we will look back and say, this was the awakening moment on the great power of a vote that we had forgotten about.  No great nation or kingdom remains great forever if it continues to rest on its laurels and unchecked hubris.

4.  When connecting with the voters, you must let them know that you do not want their vote if they will elect you with your hands tied behind your back.  That has been the m.o. of the voting electorate for decades–an unspoken hope for compromise or checks and balances at the ballot box: vote the top one party and the rest the other and we will be OK.  (Well that is no longer in the age of Moscow Mitch.)  Tell them to only vote for you if they also vote you with the freedom to act on their wishes–that means a majority in both houses.  Otherwise it is a no go–make this a primordial drive in your campaign for the presidency.  You must also steer a bit away from speaking of yourself in context with the other democratic presidential candidates and instead speak of your leadership in a context that only entertains you, your vision for this country, and defeating Trump.

5.  One last thought, take advantage of your age and the younger electorate.  Since I woke up this past spring listening to NPR’s American Anthem series and I felt that some of those old songs would be so inspirational for your listeners on the campaign trail.  Then later I found out about 9 to 5 for Warren and thought how perfect that was.  Well, while doing my meditation at the gym, listening to my Pandora station, alas, the perfect song for you came on by Mr. Fluttert, AKA Bakermat: One Day (Vandaag)  If you are listening, please listen to it and watch the video,: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BV37Dcxj9s.  It embodies all that you SHOULD stand for and most probably already do but haven’t convinced us enough of as such.

So, in short, you need to risk everything to win everything.  And in the end, win or lose, you are the better for it, and your country will be ever grateful.

 

Addendum:  I neglected to write about the fact that Pete can also benefit by angling himself as the political outsider of sorts–a powerful draw currently (seeing the political landscape through a young, fresh, new lens)– especially considering the ubiquitous desire to “clean up the swamp.”

A Path For Pete, 1 of 2

Politics are as fickle as human beings.  Most are swayed by a moment or a thought that a bandwagon has formed and as it passes by they join.  Very little thought goes into making a decision–I should qualify that: less thought than one thinks–for a candidate.  Most go with a gut feeling in the end, putting that over rational thought.  It was this gut feeling that led a few thousand scattered across 3 states–many included women–who felt, not thought, that in order to rid the swamp they must vote for the outsider.  They did not know that the swamp monster had verily fooled them–how on earth does a thinking being choose to elect the swamp monster to get rid of the swamp?  The monster will not only rule the swamp, he will revel in continuing to wreak havoc within it–getting rid of it would only insure self annihilation.

The politics of telegenic charm still wins over folks.  It contributes to voters forming a gut feeling for a candidate–one that will remain with them more strongly than any sound argument all the way to the voting booth on election day.  All of this commentary is merely an opinion, predictive in some aspects, not beholden to polls.

So, gut feeling #1: Democrats will NOT choose another older white man as the head of the ticket, regardless of how centrist most voters are.  This leaves us with the quandary of having so called leftist politics of the Sanders-Warren nature, see-saw/wavering/pandering Harris politics, and the calm/thoughtful politics of Pete.

Cadence and rhythm of speech also play to the gut feelings of voters–what any one of them say and how they say it can have a lasting impact, positive or negative.  This is why the frankness and straight forward nature of Yang is appealing to some, it most certainly does not generate any negatives–the other side of the balance to weigh in.  For Williamson, who wears her heart on her sleeve, the appeal of her frankness in the age of Trump is refreshing and it is only comical to those human beings who live life on the surface, with little or no dedicated interior spiritual query or practice, viewing this as nonsensical and unnecessary; for these folks the face value of existence is all they will ever experience: core family, education, success, marriage, house, work, kids, retirement, death, roughly in that order.

Booker‘s amazing heart I thought would bode well, but after Harris’ dis on Biden seemingly working, he now thinks his approach should be different–which I slightly disagree.  I do not think that his cadence and rhythm of speech sound comforting or genuine, I find myself looking more at his facial gestures than listening to what he is saying sometimes.  I often feel that I am being yelled at or feel that he is worked up about something.  (Warren manages to be worked up about something, you see it in her eyes, in a seemingly calm way and then manages to land thoughtful one liners.)

I did not know how Beto was on the campaign trail until recently–I was certainly rooting for him when he was going against Cruz, I just had not bothered to see him on TV.  He comes off as awkward, unprepared, misinformed, but with a good heart. He is way too jumpy while delivering his message and I cannot believe that his advisors have not been able to make him stop that.  For that reason alone, complete non starter there.  Oh well.

Tulsi came off as angry, whether she was defending herself, or suing for her media account being shut off momentarily.  Gillibrand did not seem to have a brand that set her apart enough from the rest of the pack and in a leftist stage, her past votes/supports will come back to haunt her perhaps.  Insley was charming, on message but after 2 debates I did not come away convinced that he himself was convinced that he would win the nomination.

Which brings me to an aside of sorts that I have not noticed too much of so far, except from Warren or Buttigieg, and that is sounding or coming across as presidential.  True leaders know unequivocally when their time is right.  They know who their true adversaries are and are comfortable knowing that they are not bigger than their darkest of selves that they have mastered and dominated.  The best leaders have more than a desire to lead but they already know how to get there and what needs to be done–whether it is coming up with policy proposals or taking selfies, or amassing a war chest and securing a path to a nomination, or hiring the best to help them communicate their message.  They also know that they are imperfect and dealing with the trials and tribulations of campaigning can be daunting and take its toll as well as knowing when you are wrong.  Most specifically, the true leader out of this pack must persevere in the practice of gnothi seauton, knowing thyself.  Only then will you be able to best serve your country and all it’s citizens in forging a path forward beyond the nomination and unto taking the darkest of forces awakened by Trump.  What can be darker than having a president that has derided women, people with disabilities, members of his own party, sets of human beings, other peoples and world leaders, and assaulted the environment itself.  (What is darker perhaps are those human beings that embrace their shadow self and vote for him.)

The candidates so far, partially due to the large field, are too enmeshed in policy specifics but I trust that one or two true leaders will emerge with a message that speaks to one’s gut and makes one say: this is the one.  Back to candidate examination.

Klobuchar can make a rise once the field narrows down if she is able to stick around.  She is in charge of a path that is successful for democrats in red areas and she is able to deliver this message best in a warm, engaging, honest manner.  Castro has an unbending self confidence that is presidential and the time will come for him in the future.  (The rest of the pack not mentioned should drop off for the benefit of the party.)

While Bernie may not be telegenic, he is able to communicate an honesty not frequently seen.  He has decades fighting for peace and justice and because of this unwavering, indefatigable fight, I will always regard him as one of my heroes.  I was his supporter in the last election and I feared that emails would come back to haunt Hillary.  They did.

Biden‘s gaffes will seem nothing compared to what comes out of Trumps mouth or tweets.  Nevertheless, this coupled with his age can make him seem not up to the task of defeating Trump.  I did not used to feel this way.  After the debates, I felt he was unprepared, not well versed on current issues, and he was off message, just dying for the 30 seconds to go off.  That is not the sign of a true leader, regardless of his love of country.  Also, name recognition in polls does not equal to actual votes eventually cast.

My feelings about Harris were kind of cemented on the town hall debates in March.  She is the candidate to beat on telegenic charm: the big eyes, the warm smile, her successful ways of making one feel that she is having a one on one while she is actually talking to a nation.  Her desire to surreptitiously try to make one like her is an asset, especially when wanting to connect with voters (like in a jury.)

Where it came off as disingenuous  was when she was asked during a CNN ton hall about felons having the right to vote–and the answer to this question I think appropriately frames my top 4 candidates(Bernie, Warren, Harris, Pete.)  Bernie in his recorded leftist manner said that yes they should.  I think that Warren back then agreed.  Harris wanted to have a conversation about it.  Pete straightforwardly said no and followed by saying that when they have paid their debt to society they definitely should.

My takeaways were that Bernie and Warren were too leftist(Warren now wants to have a conversation about it,) Harris faltered and made it seem that she did not want nor was ready to speak her mind, controversy or not.  That is not the sign of a true leader.

Pete, however, with perhaps the least amount of governing experience was able to neither falter nor fail.  He showed a fearlessness that only true leaders possess.  This was again shown when he was asked about the lack of diversity of his police force.  He could not get it done he said.  What this showed was accountability and that he was not going to play the blame game–because he could have: he could have talked about the firing of his black police chief, or the hard task of other cities in doing so, and he could have deflected blame in many other ways.  He did not.

Warren came off as boring during town hall meetings on CNN.  I felt that I was being lectured at and after a couple of minutes I stopped listening.  The debate setup benefited her because she had to surmise the key components of her platform and her smart team was able to coach her on it effectively.  She has taken tons of selfies.  She does not come across as haughty/indignant as Hillary sometimes did.  She is kind of folksy.  She is smart.  On TV she comes across almost as the little grandma that could, that she is not to be messed with, that she will talk to you about the complex permutations of a policy decision.  She has a love for this country emblazoned in every campaign step she takes and in every speech she gives.  She wants this.  And she is ready for it.  When Bernie asked her is she was going to run last time around and she declined and he said he then would; this time Bernie should bow out at some point and let her represent them.  He will eventually, he just doesn’t want to let his supporters down, it’s kind of like carrying a baby and once it is asleep one quietly tries to place the baby in the crib so there is no crying.

Warren will have to contend with Trump.  The thought of it, how dirty he will get.  Will “Pocahontas” come back to haunt her as emails did to Hillary?  Will her gender and will he stalk her on stage as he did with Hillary?   Will he be able to indelibly paint her as a far  leftist candidate that will do away with all guns, all wealth, and intrinsically un-american?  She will have to get muddy in this cat fight for it is certainly Trump’s election to lose.

END OF PART 1

 

 

 

Pride Month

A look at a letter to the editor, Bay Windows, a decade or so ago.  Interesting to feel that now, in the age of Trump/Hate I don’t care as much at what Pride marches bring as long as you are out there being counted.  Nevertheless, I still agree with the latter half of this missive:

Towards A More Perfect Union

I came out over a decade ago and, at the time, was excited to go to my first gay pride parade.  I went, I enjoyed it, I reveled.  I felt—freshly out of the closet— that there was a part of me that needed further exploration, research, acknowledgment, and understanding.  That first year, my personal reading almost exclusively dealt with gay rights issues, spirituality, sexuality, and history.  I volunteered at the local center and other organizations and fostered queer friendships over straight ones (my straight friends were understanding and supportive knowing it was a complete time of exploration.)  How could I not know this intrinsic, inborn part of my self?

My twenty-second birthday came and soon thereafter the following year’s gay pride celebrations.  I had fallen in love, come out to my friends and family, but never again found myself in another gay pride parade.  It was not that I had turned anti-gay or that I had experienced discrimination, or that I had experienced any kind of shame—the previous year’s explorations had marked the beginning of a continued, conscious engagement in achieving a totality of “being” and that intrinsically included my queer self.

I simply felt that gay pride parades and gay pride celebrations did not most accurately portray who I was or who my community was.  In fact, over the next decade I slowly walked away from defending gay pride parades and celebrations as a needed existence in our social world, particularly for those first coming out of the closet.

As I have grown older and tolerance and acceptance have been increasingly achieved legally (and even more so socially,) I feel deeply disappointed and saddened that the queer movement has not rattled this last “cage” of ours and brought enlightenment within it.

It was pride in who we are as people that inspired Stonewall.  Its ultimate aim was socio-political: one of securing basic human rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation.  So why not, in the truest spirit of pride, have we faltered and not followed the original intent of those who first risked their freedom for peace, justice, and equality?  Why, instead of becoming a celebration remembered mostly for sexual proclivity did pride not evolve to that original pursuit of its founders, working to forge a more perfect union?

I propose we work to make June Queer History Month.  I propose that instead of parades there be signature gathering, speeches, rallies, forums, memorial celebrations, job fairs, educational lectures, and invitations to legislators to engage the queer and non-queer public.  I propose that all block parties be fundraisers for local non-profits.  Last, I propose that all non-profit organizations serving queer communities show true leadership and come together once a year within each city to help achieve this.

My parade would work to not just guarantee the rights that I have now but to further them.  My parade would work to secure a safe place for my queer brethren and our posterity.  My parade would work to fund programs to decrease suicides in youths, to encourage dialogue in schools, to educate employers on how to foster and build a diverse workplace, to penetrate all corners of our nation with a message of acceptance in an embrace that will chip away and perhaps vanquish all shame. My parade would work to make these great United States truly a more perfect union.  This is no dream, no pie in the sky.  This is achievable, now.

I challenge you to print this.  I challenge you who read this to put it on the desk of your executive director every week until you have answers.  I challenge you to begin a dialogue on what a true pride celebration can achieve.  I want to be proud of Pride for once, since I was not there with Sylvia Rivera and countless of other drag queens, transgender people, and ethnic minorities marching into history for my benefit one fateful night in June, long ago.

 

Cambridge Analytica, Facebook, Democrats, et al

Brief commentary on what has been simmering for so many months now to the point where we even had hearings about it.

A few points to be made:

  1.  How different where were all the russian facebook/twitter/etc bots from special interest groups blanketing ads on tv for/against any candidate?  Tobacco companies ads that surely could be responsible for the addictions of many?  NRA wealth lining pockets of legislators resulting in even the deaths of our innocent children?  The fact of the matter is that this peddling is the new m.o. for campaigning and if we didn’t pass effective legislation against special interest groups and lobbies in campaign reform before, how can congress be two faced about the new head this monster has grown as the world and the internet have grown now?  The acts are simply trying to affect voter decisions with disinformation on a higher/insidious level.  The onus of the decision at the ballot box has always been on the voter her/himself.  End of story, full stop.  Smarten up!
  2. How can Camb-Analy be blamed for essentially blanketing viewers(consumers) with content(ads) that they may react to?  Again, the onus of responsibility lays squarely on the voters themselves.  Smarten up!
  3. How on earth–with all the successful hacks to access credit information occurring every year–can anyone expect any modicum of privacy on something as banal as their browsing habits, online spending and actions, etc?  Ridiculous.  And then get upset about it–for using a FREE platform?  Boo hoo little child.  Smarten up!

The basis of our democracy is a double edged sword: give everyone a voice but no assurance that every voice is informed, intelligent, and bias free; no assurance that every voice has the interest of our great democracy in mind; no assurance that all interests are not entirely self serving.

When hacks on actual voter rolls, actual votes being cast in a nefarious manner, or any physical action of this sort occurs, then have a hearing.  If not so, no need for stupid hearings taking us away from the main issue at hand: voters need to inform themselves accordingly and as true patriots question reality/truth with tried and true methods of inquiry; don’t be gullible; do your research.

And insofar as the democrats suing–show me how actual votes were cast illegally.  If it is just influence that you are remarking about, it will never hold up in court.  If you are simply trying to remark that the current president aligned with a foreign power to influence an election by influencing the electorate your beef should be with the electorate.  Trying to stop any of the above mentioned actions in the future is futile–like stopping all the leaves on a tree from moving with every wind gust.  Better your time be spent educating the general public on how they can cast a vote based on right mind and heart.  The winds of the internet and electronic pathways will forever blow–it is to the branches to continue their trajectory spreading outward into the light for the benefit of the tree itself regardless of how fickle any leaf’s movements.  Knowing that the leaves will whither and die only to repopulate every season is the first step in understanding how to better forge a path into the future.

In Memoriam

I wrote this in 2008 and was a recovered file after losing everything to a house fire.

 

Long, too long America

Traveling roads all even and peaceful you learn’d from joys

and prosperity only,

But now, ah now, to learn from crises of anguish, advancing,

grappling with direst fate and recoiling not

And now to conceive and show to the world what your

children en-masse really are…

 

–Walt Whitman

 

  1. America

 

Listen

sit with me

let me share my eternal afternoon—

long and frightful

I cannot tell you details

I allude to it in vague references—

the pain still and heavy as concrete or steel—

how to breach the gap left in my heart?

I have lost a son, a wife, a friend—an entire family

I am of many nations and my skin smells

of different continents

 

II.  Spirit

 

How the air filled with sparks shooting to the heavens

souls exited, leaving behind memories

that barnacle in my septum

histories whose ashes populate my tongue

I thirst—

shut off the news reports

no statistics

say instead another prayer

sit, listen to me: I need respite

let me walk into the wilderness

let the autumn breeze cool my face

 

III. Pain

 

I do not vanish

I do not flinch

I do not give way

I simply merge into your everydayness

find comfort in your routine

and succor you when you run

shut the door

and nestle your face in your hands

time does not pass—when will it?

you breathe, you are ok once more, you exit

and smile as they greet you

 

IV.  Mourning

 

The truth is, morning never comes

I am truncated between afternoon and sundown

and while others forget, I do not

I teach myself to find comfort in remembering:

my breath lengthens, my blood pulsates slower

and I am there:

in that silence, peace finally comes

I become omnipresent throughout the before and in this during

and in the later that I will become

I want to go far away:

I dream I become the Antarctic, nestling an endless ice shelf

 

V.  Anger

 

It overwhelmed me

made my typing still

my jaw freeze shut, gums bleeding

made the ordinary swing of my arm precise, with intent:

as I buttoned, reached for my coffee, turned another page, shut the blinds.

For a while it was the only antidote to crying

until I would break down again, impotent under its heavy load;

it comes and goes at will, but mostly surprises me at night

makes me sit upright, search for sunlight behind the windows.

Take this burden, I cannot bear it any longer

let me instead fall asleep to my crying once more

 

VI.  Forgiveness

 

I drew a line long ago I would not cross

a line of fear and anger and longing

a line so thick I buried my own within it, sacrosanct.

I would run barren into the brush

knowing where I had to stop: here, at this juncture;

and now, now I must cross it?  Why now?

It would be like this never happened

that all of it was for nothing

I do not want to let go, I will not

I will stand alone, firm

broken

 

VII. Peace

 

Where will I find my resting place?

No practice I muster brings it

when it comes, it does so in waves

like the rest of them: unstoppable, unpredictable as sunshine

so when it does, I hold on to it

plead with it sweetly:

tell it of a place in my home I have made for it–fire burning

a bed carefully made, slippers, good light, and a good read, waiting.

I must let go, I must forgive

find myself, alone, at the mercy of this American wilderness

and like a pioneer of old, succumb to it

 

VIII. Bargaining

 

In order to let go

I barter my pain, draw another line

promise to manage it only to a certain depth.

I tidy up my longing, hold on to memories

package them away, turn the key, face the day.

The anger escapes, intangible, sneaking a peek when least expected

and I learn to forgive this much, only to this crossroad, one

that becomes multifarious, extending throughout time.

In the end, all is forgiven

peace arrests me, forcing me down unconscious:

for a precious moment I sleep stupefied and omniscient

 

IX.  Manifest Destiny

 

I rise from this premature dusk of dust

certain that my quest will never end

that I must forge a path forward

that my strength outnumbers all of us.

Something within burns, effulgent

knowing that this new American wilderness

will surely offer resting places

that our steadfast faith from before will conquer this frontier as well

that the spirit that formed us stretches fearlessly across all time.

I rise, eyes resolute, an eternity of days before me

radiant

Let me explain myself…

For the sake of brevity, I will paint with wide brush strokes.

As a practicing non-dualist, the view of the world seen that is examined is through that lens.  (When referring to “I,” it is always the incarnation in body form.)  I see the world spiraling inward, towards the knowledge of how truly and extensively connected we all are; in short I see it spiraling towards oneness.  The trek of human evolution and intelligence has been hinting at this overarching process for decades, oft in repeating patterns, if not centuries–but to be brief, I will mostly speak about the last fifty to one hundred years roughly.

From the Industrial Revolution and the continued increase in technology and travel springing forth, a continued push towards self identification among individual countries and emphasis on boundaries and delineations and allocation of resources continued into world wars.  Like a child beginning to know him/herself, pointing to its chest, “me, mine” the understanding of “other” came to be as well.  This was entrenched for decades following world wars and the old construct of hunt or be hunted in its many forms persisted, as well as all the permutations of “me, mine:” national pride, racism, wealth acquisition, increased borders, geopolitical influences, etc.

Let that simmer for thirty years and the only one ever-present truth of this existence, namely that all is impermanent, continues its effect.  Namely, change will always keep happening, time does not stop, the ball keeps rolling down the tube and never in a straight undisturbed path.  Within that path, this ball (heavy and dense due to all the darkness it holds,) will sometimes swing left to then be carried right by gravity; sometimes it will swing towards its opposite, light, and then not. (Humor me on this image.)

Glasnost occurs followed by the advent of the internet and from this point forward, all past actions of humanity that normally would take a century to occur in will henceforth happen in a lifetime or so from here on out.  Also, with this came a rise of the conscious knowledge that we are all connected–from the sharing of funny selfies to sweet animal videos to trade agreements to help for a country after a natural disaster, etc.

So back to the presidential election.  Which candidates do you think represent this rise in consciousness?  Which factions have mirrored it so far?  Why is the Republican Party as we have known it about to burst at the seams?  Why is the voice of the left gathering unprecedented support as well as the most base factions of humanity?  Which is flowing in the path towards one consciousness?  Which party is going to succeed in redefining itself as the world changes around it and which will forge the most enlightened path into the future?  All bets are off and old thinking is anathema.