Why I am Meh About Bernie Sanders

July 26, 2015
Michael P. King/Wisconsin State Journal/AP

Michael P. King/Wisconsin State Journal/AP

I have been troubled by my own lack of enthusiasm for the Bernie Sanders presidential candidacy. In the past, I’ve always been an energetic supporter; Bernie for Mayor, Bernie for House, Bernie for Senate – count me in! When Benrnie was elected to the US Senate, I loved how the media couldn’t mention his name without prefacing it with “The self-avowed socialist….” I made a lapel button that said “Self-Avowed” and set it to him.

So why now, with the conspicuous lack of a progressive presidential candidate in the mix, do I find myself so “meh” about Bernie? In fact, on some deep level that I have had trouble understanding, I’ve even felt a bit disappointed that he’s running for president.

Why? Why would an on and off again nonviolence and social justice activist such as myself not be jumping for joy, wearing my Bernie gear, donating large sums of money I don’t have, canvassing specially selected households of potential liberal voters?

The answer just came to me moments ago. I was scanning through Internet Land and saw yet another picture of Elizabeth Warren with an entreaty to support her selfless efforts to save our world, and I thought, much to my surprise, “I am so tired of political saviors.”

Sure, Presidents have pushed through historic legislation – the Voting Rights Act, Social Security… but all progress has been made by popular movements, not by benevolent savior-rulers.

I’m totally into electing the least repugnant of candidates to the presidency. I happen to think Barack Obama has done a relatively fantastic job in the face of incredible institutional resistance. But Obama didn’t enact marriage equality – it was the result of an amazing people’s campaign. Regardless of what his reactionary opponents blather on about, President Obama isn’t exactly a progressive, he certainly isn’t a peace activist, and he isn’t out on the forefront of major social justice issues. Barack Obama is just a smart, talented and practical politician. That’s really all you need to get good things done if you have a popular movement pushing from below.

Now, along comes Bernie Sanders, filling the progressive gap left by Elizabeth Warren’s absence from the race. The old me would have jumped in, non-lethal guns ablazin’. In 2008, that’s what a lot lot of liberals did for Obama, myself included. During the campaign of 2008, you could see bumper stickers that equated Obama with an end to war, an end to poverty and an end to greed, suffering, global warming and gluten.

But unlike some of my friends, I actually listened to what Obama consistently said, and he never really took on the progressive political mantel. We got exactly what he promised. Under Obama’s leadership, we managed to teeter back from a world-wide depression, wind down a couple of catastrophic Bush-Cheney wars, enact modest health care reform, end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, establish the legal basis for marriage equality… an impressive list. Next up: stop transgender discrimination in the military, reform the immigration system and close Guantanamo. It’s all possible with smart leadership and sufficient pressure from activists on the street.

Besides the fact that Bernie Sanders has as much chance of getting elected as, well, as a self-avowed Socialist from Vermont, my enthusiasm for a political savior is also dampened by the understanding that any smart, reasonably mainstream politician can accomplish impressive things when pressured by a strong social movement. Even Hillary Clinton. And, without such a movement, someone like Bernie Sanders could never even get the things done that Barack Obama accomplished. Although I’ll say upfront that I’d vote for Bernie over Hillary any day, at least Hillary doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a politician who wants her turn at being President. And, yes, she’ll be the first female President, whose politics are half-way between Elizabeth Warren’s and Margaret Thatcher’s. Good enough to get things done, if we are relentless.

I prefer my savior personalities outside of political office. Martin Luther King, Jr., though asked, refused to run for President. He wanted to help the people make sure that politicians actually got things done. The System has too much institutional inertia for a savior-type to have any effect on her or his own. We just have to make sure we elect someone who, under the right circumstances, will at least allow change to occur.

This is a flower. Clicking it will take you to another Daisybrain post:

daisy2


Desperately Important New Words and Thoughts from Daisybrain

July 8, 2015

Unlike some new word sites, you do not have to pay me a royalty every time you use these words. But a tip would be nice.

Flossophy – the philosophy of dental care

Interestingray – an interesting stingray

Coffeefee – the price of a cup of coffee

Kosherlock Holmes – The Israeli version of the BBC series

Homicider – Cider so good you’d kill for it

Peter Pancake – The name I would give my pancake restaurant

Crust Station – The name I would give my seafood-themed pizza restaurant

Zombieber – What I would call Justin Bieber, were he to become one of the undead. Or, perhaps the name for a very devoted fan.

¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!

The following phrases, in quotation marks to preserve their integrity, receive no Google hits, as of this writing:

  1. “I am a sentient cauliflower”
  2. “Nobody wore my pants”
  3. “The human butt is highly intelligent”
  4. “Keanu Reeves knows how to act” (Full disclosure, it gets one hit, but the page is no longer up)

¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!

Desperately Important Questions (DIQ):

  • Is there a Katmandon’t for those who don’t like Katmandu?
  • What happens if your conjoined twin is convicted of murder and gets the death sentence?

¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!¡!

For more words and thoughts, click this flower:

daisy2


Perfection in Flaws

June 23, 2015

If God is the creator of the universe, and the universe is not perfect, how can God be perfect? Certainly, there appear to be flaws in creation – from disease and war to Donald Trumps’s hair-thing. The question for me is, can something simultaneously be both flawed and perfect?

When I think of a puppy, I think of perfection, even if it’s tail is bent or it pees on the carpet. A flower may have petals that are not perfectly symmetrical, but that flower is perfect just the way it is. This is because perfection, and flaws, are the products of perception; they are in the eye of the beholder. Outside of judgement, what is just is.

If we can accept a puppy or a flower without judgement, can we accept a person, or the whole human race as perfect as is? And does this mean we have to give up trying to improve things?

Let’s look at that puppy. It’s perfect, even with its quirks. To the puppy’s owner, any odd behavior of the puppy tends to make it even more special and beloved. As the puppy grows up, the love you have for it grows as well. You might be temporarily irritated when your dog barks at inopportune moments, but, as with your child, you still love your dog. Or not. Either way, your dog’s perfection or lack thereof is something that you ascribe to it.

Can you love yourself without judgement even as you change and improve over time? And, along the way, can you accept yourself as perfect? That’s asking a lot. But if it’s possible, then it’s possible to accept another human being just as they are as well.

If there were no flaws – if everyone played the saxophone without error, everyone scored 100% on every math test, and everyone spoke only the truth in the most beautiful and precise way possible – would there be any point to life? It seems to me that everything and everybody would be indistinguishable and therefore boring.

So, while a flawless universe would be pointless, there may be perfection in a universe filled with flaws.

Beneath this daisy lies the soul of a fly:

daisy2


Four Poems that Begin with the Line, “Between Earth and Sky am I”

May 12, 2015

1.

Between Earth and Sky

Am I

Bandied about by grand forces of nature

Stay rooted

Bend don’t break

Bend don’t break

Read the rest of this entry »


Help Nepal

April 28, 2015

Here are some good nonprofits to donate to in our efforts to help the people of Nepal:

  1. Oxfam
  2. United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)
  3. Direct Relief
  4. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

If you would like to look up a specific charity to see how trustworthy and efficient it may be, I suggest checking it out on Charity Navigator. Here is Charity Navigator’s list of three and four-star nonprofits working on Nepal relief efforts: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1888#.VT_abM43dFK.


My Breath

April 18, 2015

always there

always

regardless of my attention

from first giving life

until release of life

my dedicated guide

never giving up on me

I can follow and live with purpose

or just drift along

the calming presence

If I stay grounded but light

it always carries me in the right direction

connecting a lump of earth like me to the heavens

Some explorations of ego and consciousness, beneath this flower:

dasy1


Spiritual License Plates

April 12, 2015

First of all, I would like to apologize for my the recent sparsity of my blog posts. I am going through a difficult time. However, I have a post for you here, which I had intended to publish a week ago, and have decided to go ahead and share now. I’ll try to keep blogging when I can. Life is a strange journey.

In my state, license plates must be seven characters long. It’s common for people to choose their own “vanity” plates instead of letting the state choose random letters and numbers for them. My car’s plate is EMPATHY, which reflects my core values. I use my plate as a reminded for me not to get angry or judge other drivers who make mistakes.

I cave compiled a list of seven letter plates that speak to our higher selves. So, without any further ado, here is my list of spiritual license plates:

MINDFUL

PRESENT

INSIGHT

VISIONS

Read the rest of this entry »


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