Thoughtful people know that the US is facing one of the most serious political crises in our nation’s history. A narcissistic, grossly ignorant, and psychologically unstable huckster has gained enormous political power. Worldwide, people are worrying about how to get out of this mess. By February 20, 2017 the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation will post a much more thorough version of this article to the Nonviolence page at www.olympiafor.org. That article will answer three questions:
(1) How did we get into this mess?
(2) What’s going on?
(3) How do we get out?
This article briefly summarizes some answers to questions (1) and (3). The longer version of this article will develop those topics more thoroughly. Answer (1) of that longer article will provide more information and examples. Answer (3) will offer many additional insights to help us strategize and organize savvy, nonviolent remedies to help us get out of our current political crisis.
(1) Underlying problems and a confluence of trends led to this crisis
Trump himself is not the problem; he is a symptom of underlying problems and systems that have been getting worse for a long time. For decades the U.S. has suffered from racism, sexism, anti-gay bias, anti-immigrant bias, ignorance of foreign policy, American exceptionalism, big business’ greed and corruption, economic inequality, and the mainstream media’s simplistic reporting.
In order to stop the Trumpism that has captured the US government, we must recognize the underlying systemic problems that have resulted in this blatant symptom. We must identify, resist and roll back those systemic problems which have led to this crisis. Demonizing one person distracts us from addressing these serious underlying problems and symptoms which have allowed Trumpism to dominate the federal government.
The longer article that will be posted to the Nonviolence page of www.olympiafor.org, will provide information and insights about these topics:
Loss, fear, and anger
American insecurity despite military might
Corporate-owned news media and the dumbing-down of America
Two big, corrupt, dysfunctional political parties
The end of U.S. imperialism and selfishness hastened by Trumpism: “Pride goes before destruction.” (Proverbs 16:18)
(2) Acknowledge that the US nation and empire we have known were not sustainable
For decades, the U.S. Empire has been overreaching and has not been sustainable. We must help the American people understand this and change toward more humane ways of interacting with the world.
Despite US violence against other nations, we can no longer compel obedience. The last war we won, more than 70 years ago, was World War II. The Korean war ended in a stalemate truce but there was no legal end to the war. We lost the Vietnam War, and we have been losing other wars since then. The era of colonialism is long past. Since the Cold War other nations have stopped tolerating the only remaining superpower.
Trump’s America First rhetoric reflects his own narcissism and panders to US narcissism and American Exceptionalism A psychologically healthy and mature person–or nation–works to get along cooperatively and harmoniously with other people–or nations–and does not demand to be first. For example, I should not demand a Glen Anderson First policy that lets me cut to the front of the checkout line at the grocery store. An America First policy is not fair, sustainable, or realistic in a world with nearly 200 other nations. Narcissism is bad public policy.
Climate deniers reject both science and reality; they refuse to acknowledge the hard truth that we and our giant corporations are using natural resources at an unsustainable pace. When people deny hard realities, they are preventing themselves from planning how to solve problems, and they are setting themselves up for catastrophic failures. This refusal to accept reality means that the US is refusing to solve real problems.
The rest of the world does appreciate science, but regarding the climate, the US has become a nation of deniers. Denying climate science–just like denying human rights for women, Muslims, and LGBT people–is preventing our nation from moving ahead to a better future. Rather than making America great again, this anti-science bias will do the opposite. It will make us a backward nation that will allow problems to get worse and will let other nations move ahead of us thus making America weak not great.
The “Loss, Fear and Anger” section listed in Part (1) above pertains to our nation’s declining standard of living along with other trends. Based on the list of quality of life indicators (life expectancy, access to affordable health care, etc.) we are already losing ground. Michael Moore’s clever film Where to Invade Next makes some interesting points and comparisons.
Perhaps Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ insights into the 5 stages of dying could help our nation cope with the loss of US Imperialism and nationalistic egocentrism.
Someone new to Alcoholics Anonymous is told that the first step toward recovery is to acknowledge the hard reality that they are addicted to alcohol. Likewise, the first step for Americans to start healing our nation is to acknowledge that the US’ economic system, imperialism, and militarism are not sustainable. They never were sustainable. No amount of bullying and lying can change this hard reality.
Trump’s extremism will hasten the end of the US Empire. America’s smug nationalism is doomed. Americans need to acknowledge and internalize the truth of Proverbs 16:18 which says, “Pride goes before destruction–and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
We need a fresh consciousness and modesty to actually let go of our overuse of natural resources, our abuse of the climate, our worldwide militarism, etc. We must internalize that reality intellectually and emotionally and reflect it in new public policy. Only then will we be truly free to explore fresh visions for the future instead of trying to hold on to the unsustainable past.
(3) Values and strategies can help us organize resistance and remedies
A confluence of trends led us to this current crisis. Better values and smarter strategies can get us out of it. There are things ordinary Americans can do to help our nation get through these hard times.
Instead of being merely reactive, let’s ground ourselves–and help to ground others–in our best values so we can move forward. Also, instead of getting trapped in partisanship and elections, let’s organize around the real issues.
The longer article will flesh out the following ideas.
Instead of piling on more ain’t-it-awful laments, let’s understand and organize. Clearly, the 2016 election results portend extremely serious dangers for human rights, social and economic justice, the climate, escalating militarism, and government corruption. We are in for hard times. When disaster strikes, a normal human reaction is to lament the horrible event. Since the 2016 election, people have been piling on a lot of ain’t-it-awful lamenting and reinforcing each other’s worst fears about what awaits us. That reaction is understandable, but it can crush our spirits. Instead of letting dread overwhelm and immobilize us, we need to think clearly and devise smart strategies for solving problems.
Some of Trump’s likely actions were already happening under Obama. Therefore, we must change the entrenched bi-partisan systems that caused these problems. Our society is trapped in a status quo of polarized partisanship that interferes with understanding and solving our problem. Both of the big political parties are corrupt and dysfunctional. Such bipolar partisanship is part of the problem. Democrats who criticize republican presidents give a free pass to democratic presidents when they do the same things. As president, Obama appointed many corporate big-shots to major executive branch positions, and he deported more immigrants than any other president in US history. For more examples see this article’s longer version. To move forward we must stop letting big business and the military-industrial complex dominate public policy altogether–not just when Republicans do it. Indeed, we must stop letting partisanship distract us from the real issues. The problems are not partisan, they are systemic with top-down wealth and power preventing bottom-up democracy!
Focus on systems not just individual politicians or political parties. The big problems we face are not just individual politicians or individual political parties. They are in big systems and institutions that are beholden to money and abuses of power. These big systems and institutions are long-standing and entrenched. So if we want to solve the underlying problems, we need to examine those systems and institutions and devise nonviolent strategies to fix or replace them. It is possible to start making progress at local levels, share news of our local successes, and then use this growing momentum to leverage progress at larger levels until we win significant goals nationwide and worldwide.
Progress comes only from grassroots movements not as gifts from the top down. All the political and social progress the US and other nations have achieved has come from movements organized at the grassroots level. The changes have not been gifts from the top down. The grassroots-based Civil Rights Movement became a very significant part of US history and culture. The movement’s grassroots efforts convinced Congress to pass major civil rights laws in 1964 and 1965. It also provided strong ripple effects for other emerging movements. It provided significant inspiration, insight, empowerment, skills, and volunteers for other strong grassroots movements such as the peace movement, the women’s rights movement, and the environmental movement. Movements build and learn from each other. This process is explained very clearly in the 2016 book This Is an Uprising by Mark Engler and Paul Engler. For more from them see their website: www.thisisanuprising.org.
Democracy is 5% voting and 95% grassroots organizing. Although people assume that voting is the heart of democracy, voting is only actually about five percent of democracy while the other ninety-five percent is community organizing and getting together to build grassroots movements. We must awaken the general public and educate them about the issues. We must inform people and devise ways to empower them to take nonviolent action. We must persuade the power-holders to do what we want. All of this requires us to be nonviolent and credible and to create safe opportunities for people to join with us. Nonviolent, grassroots organizing is a different way to build power. It is more powerful and effective than the heavy-handed kinds of power we commonly see. Indeed, nonviolence is a radical, creative alternative to the merely fight-or-flight strategies which we have been taught are our only two options. Nonviolence gives us a better–and more powerful–alternative!
Withdraw consent from illegitimate and abusive authorities. Thomas Jefferson recognized that we the people create the government and we the people can change or even replace it. Likewise, Gene Sharp’s research shows that oppressors lose power when people withdraw their consent and refuse to obey. Therefore, an important part of Gene Sharp’s advice is that we must figure out how to withdraw consent, nonviolently resist, and build alternative movements to supplant oppressive systems. The American people already worry about increasing oppression, social and economic injustice, environmental abuse, and political corruption. To protect ourselves from these problems and to weaken the power oppressors wield, let’s look for ways to withdraw our consent from oppressors in government, in the economic sector, and in other parts of our society. We can use Gene Sharp’s ideas to delegitimize and weaken all of the oppressive systems. See resources at www.aeinstein .org
Why and how our organizing must take the moral high ground and be scrupulously nonviolent. The right-wing forces of repression won votes by making people feel afraid. If protesters against Trump use violence–or even tactics that can be misunderstood or misrepresented as violent–they feed into that very same fear. These tactics will frighten the public into wanting to militarize the police, increase surveillance of dissidents, and violate our first amendment rights to speech and assembly. They will contribute to further polarization and repression. Oppressors send agent provocateurs to infiltrate movements and provoke violence because oppressors know that violence turns the general public against progressive movements. In order to protect our progressive movements, we must make sure we are scrupulously nonviolent.
Strategically smart, nonviolent grassroots organizing is very powerful! Nonviolence is not weakness, It is a different kind of strength. Decades ago the very savvy activist David Dellinger wrote a book about nonviolence called More Power Than We Know. Gene Sharp, the world’s best researcher on the power of nonviolence and how to use nonviolence to remove dictators from power, said, “Dictators are never as strong as they tell you they are. People are never as weak as they think they are.” See resources and information at his non-profit organization www.aeinstein.org.
The American people are not stupid; they are simply denied the information and empowerment they need. Ordinary people do have good values, but they don’t know how to act on them. During the Olympia FOR’s twice-weekly peace vigils, many people respond warmly and enthusiastically to our signs which convey positive, progressive values saying things like “All people are one human family,” “Human rights are for everyone,” and “We all share one earth.” See www.olympiafor.org/vigils.htm.
Instead of cynical politics-as-usual, let’s try assuming that all people are basically good, and that all people are seeking what they see as best. If we assume that each stranger we meet is a person of good will, space for better interactions will open up, and people will respond to our positive vibe. We might bring more people into our progressive movements and make more progress toward building an effective majority to solve our nation’s problems.
Resources: Amazing numbers of high quality practical resources are available! Listed below are just a few of the many resources that can help us move forward. I invite you to use these resources and share them with the other people and non-profit organizations.
Many non-profit organizations and their websites offer excellent information, insights, and resources. I especially recommend these:
For decades I have been recommending the amazingly smart resources by Gene Sharp and others at The Albert Einstein Institution. Their website is located at www.aeinstein.org.
Lutheran Peace Fellowship: Visit www.lutheranpeace.org. Click the Resources link, then click the Nonviolence link.
Nonviolence International: www.nonviolenceinternational.net
International Center on Nonviolent Conflict: www.nonviolent-conflict.org
Campaign Nonviolence: www.paceebene.org/programs/campaign-nonviolence
There are many, many excellent books and resources on this topic. Here are just a few:
Why Civil Resistance Works by Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan (2011)
This is an Uprising by Mark Engler and Paul Engler (2016) (Also see www.thisisanuprising.org)
Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social Movements by Bill Moyer, JoAnn McAllister, Mary Lou Finley, and Steven Soifer
A Force More Powerful by Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall along with the DVD/VHS series
Books by and about Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Books and articles written by Michael Nagler and George Lakey
In November of 2016 US voters vigorously rejected the status quo. But that does not mean that voters really wanted the cruelty, repression, corruption, and environmental damage that are being imposed upon us.
Instead, I believe that deep down most Americans actually have better values and that they can be helped to understand and support better values and better public policy.
The problems and solutions are more profound than any major political party or candidate recognizes. I believe that most Americans want a future that is radically better than either of the big political parties has been offering.
So instead of letting dread overwhelm and immobilize us, we need to think clearly and devise smart, nonviolent strategies for solving problems and achieving humane and sustainable goals such as peace, human rights for everyone, an economy that is honest and fair for everyone, an environment that is healthy and sustainable, and a society that practices nonviolence and compassion.
To build this bold new future, we must organize strategically savvy, nonviolent, grassroots movements. Nonviolence is bigger and bolder in vision and in methodology than anything politics-as-usual can offer.
Now is the time for us to:
Ground ourselves in our best values.
Study the theory and practice of nonviolence.
Study how to build powerful, nonviolent, grassroots movements for social and political change.
Inform and empower large numbers of ordinary people to come together into grassroots movements that will use strategic nonviolence to solve local and national problems.
Each person can do something!
Together we can accomplish much!
Glen Anderson is a longtime peace/social justice activist in the Olympia area and a founding member of the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation.
The post Our nation’s political crisis: How we got into it—and how to get out appeared first on Works in Progress.
My year in the Democratic Party
Up until 2016, I had been a lifelong leftist independent. I was radicalized by the anti–Vietnam War movement in late 1970 while studying to be a social worker at WSU in Pullman where I grew up.
Two years later, I was married and living in Boston where I joined the youth group of the Spartacist League, a Trotskyist offshoot of the Socialist Workers Party. Although I left the organization after a few years it would be decades before I felt any real passion to return to any form of political activism.
I was involved briefly with the effort to establish a US Labor Party in the late 1990’s after moving to Olympia in 1997. But that fizzled out. Then in 2000 I helped form the local Green Party (GP) to get behind the Nader campaign. I stayed in the Green Party for 8 years but left demoralized and without hope in 2008 after the state GP coordinating council voted to dissolve the party for a year. As the saying goes: “It’s not easy being Green.”
Then came the Justice Party and the campaign of Rocky Anderson in 2012. That was another misguided and failed effort and left me rudderless politically.
So it was 2016 when I got the spark back so to speak and joined the local Bernie movement.
It was then that I was encouraged to join the ‘Blue Hole’, the local Democratic Party. I was apprehensive but joined, then became a Precinct Committee Officer (PCO) and attended all the main meetings thru the primary: the precinct caucus, the legislative disctrict caucus (LD), the county convention, the congressional district caucus (CD) and finally the state party convention in June.
I started working my precinct for Bernie and coordinated 9 other precincts near where I lived in Lacey. I was elected to be a Bernie delegate at the LD caucus at the county convention. Following the state party convention I went with my friend Jeff to Philly for the Democratic National Convention joining the protests and rallies on the outside in union with the Bernie delegates on the inside.
When Bernie endorsed Hillary on July 12th, two weeks before what everyone thought would be a ‘contested convention’ that action felt like a betrayal to the vast numbers of Bernie supporters and the Bernie delegates booed him en masse at the convention when he tried to sell them the bill of goods.
I had joined the ‘Bernie or Bust’ group online which numbered in the ten’s of thousands and that movement did an immediate turn either in the direction of the Green Party’s candidate, Dr. Jill Stein, or the write in Bernie campaign. I went from a few dozen to 5000 friends on Facebook in the course of the election cycle.
Jill Stein had offered Bernie to be at the top of the GP ticket but he never responded to her offer. In many minds that would have been a historic race against Hillary and Trump and the beginning of an enlarged independent progressive party and movement.
Many argued that Bernie or his family had been threatened before the Philly convention to endorse Hillary or else but the truth was that he had promised the DP establishment he would support the winning candidate if he didn’t win the primary. He did so because he didn’t want to have a Trump victory as his legacy so he was playing it safe. He urged all his remaining supporters to continue to work inside the Democratic Party to transform it into a progressive party free from the corporate donors that had come to define most establishment politicians whose policies increasingly bent towards the donors lobbyists.
Unfortunately for the Bernie movement, Bernie’s endorsement of Hillary and subsequent ‘sheepdogging’ for the Democratic nominee deflated his movement to a large degree, loosing millions who had believed in him up to that point.
Meanwhile, those who followed Bernie’s lead and stayed in the DP fold have been organizing to take over the party and have succeeded to a certain extent—nobody knows for sure how much yet. In Thurston County, the ‘Berniecrats’ have taken over the party and been elected to all the offices in the party from the top (chair) down, including the state committee man/woman.
They achieved this by the diligent work of several highly competent progressive individuals with a history in the Democratic Party. They managed to recruit Bernie supporters to become a super majority of PCO’s in the 282 precincts in Thurston County. The PCO’s, along with paid members, get to vote on party officers and policies. In short, the Berniecrats have taken over the Thurston Democratic Party as of December 2016.
But on the other side of political power, that of elected officials, there is as yet not one true Berniecrat in a local county or state office, although several jumped in to run for office after the Bernie’s primary bid ended.
And of all the elected or appointed Democratic Party electeds at all levels, only a small percentage backed Sanders in the primary. And almost all of those voted for Hillary over Trump in the general election for fear of a Trump victory.
Meanwhile, following the shocking presidential election results, Jill Stein led an effort for the recount in three states that Hillary had lost by razor thin margins and raised nearly $7 million, mostly from Hillary supporters, which was several times the amount she had raised during her entire campaign.
A storm of criticism followed which included many of her previous supporters. But the outcome of the recount proved beyond a shadow of a doubt (to those that followed it thru to the end) that elections in those states were ‘rigged’ in any number of ways to assure a Trump victory (see Greg Palast on the 2016 voter roll ‘cross checking’ by the Republicans). For the big picture on election fraud follow groups like Election JusticeUSA, Black Box Voting, FairVote, Sane Progressive and others.
On the other hand, the Wikileaks revelations that came out just before the Democratic National Convention showed that key members of the Democratic National Committee had been illegally and unethically working ‘secretly’ to undermine Sanders campaign in favor of Hillary. Many on the Sanders team are convinced that if Bernie had been the nominee he would have beat Trump handily in the general election. We’ll never know because the nomination was rigged for Hillary from the start.
Following the general election the Democratic Party establishment—along with a few Republicans who don’t like Trump—have been pushing the tale that the Russians were the ones who leaked the hacked DNC emails, as a tactic to hide their own responsibility for the outcome.
And in a Stanford research study of the 2016 primary there is also convincing evidence that Bernie would have won an additional 13 states had the primary not been ‘rigged’ by those who backed Clinton. The study concluded that if Sanders had won even a portion of the those 13 states—and without using the ‘unpledged’ Super Delegate pre convention ‘preferences’, which went largely to Clinton and were prominently used by the mainstream media outlets to tilt voter views during the primary—Sanders would have gone into the national convention with the majority of ‘pledged’ state delegates which could have led to him becoming the nominee.
But still, the Super Delegates (top elected officials and top party officers, past presidents etc) get to vote come time of the national convention, they could still have tilted it to Hillary although that would have led to a major rebellion and total disunity in the party leading into the general election season.
As it were, the vast majority of Bernie delegates, most of whom had joined or rejoined the party only because of Bernie’s campaign messages against establishment politics, booed Bernie when he spoke before them at the national convention in Philadelphia. And many walked out of the convention after protesting the deliberations inside. Thousands of others protested outside during the convention. I was one of them.
While many Sanders activists left the Democratic Party (DemExited) after Bernie endorsed Hillary on July 12th, many decided to stay inside to fight for a change of party leadership and reform the party from the bottom up as Bernie was encouraging them to do.
The outcome of the election, however, while it shocked almost everyone in the Democratic Party camp, did not totally wipe out the Sanders insurgency. Many Sanders activists formed groups to carry on the ‘political revolution’ that Bernie had called for throughout the primary with an eye to take over the party from the local (county) level and up. This phenomenon is still in process.
Locally, even before the Thurston Democratic Party ‘reorganization’ elections in December, two Bernie orgs have been formed nationally to continue the fight for social, economic, environmental and racial justice that Bernie’s campaign highlighted.
There is Brand New Congress (BNC) which seeks to contest over 400 congressional seats in 2018 (R’s and D’s alike) which has been busily vetting candidates around the country and raised over $250,000 towards setting up the prerequisite staffs to further that goal. They are a national group and so far have vetted somewhere around 60-70 candidates for the 2018 congressional elections that will challenge establishment Democrats as well as Republicans.
More recently, in early January, a local chapter of Bernie’s signature group ‘Our Revolution’ was formed.
And in mid-January the group ‘Justice Democrats’ was formed by Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks and the host of ‘Secular Talk Radio’ Kyle Kulinski. In one month they have raised close to $500,000 and have teamed up with the Brand New Congress org in a common cause: to elect progressive candidates who vow not to accept corporate or Super Pac donations, instead relying on small donors and ‘people power’ at the grassroots level, modeled after Bernie’s campaign.
In addition to these Berniecrat groups, there is also ‘Indivisible’ which was formed by Democratic Party staffers after the election with the aim to resist the Trump’s administrations actions from day one. They model themselves as the Democratic Party equivalent of the Tea Party.
Locally, the Thurston County Progressives formed in August to keep the Bernie movement intact following the outcome of the primary race in Hillary’s favor. This is the only organization locally that is bridge building beyond the DP, although many in the leadership are still focused on funneling energy into the Democratic Party reform movement.
All of the above groups are largely focused on taking over the Democratic Party to steer it in a more progressive direction by getting rid of establishment politicians that rely on corporate donations and replacing them with real progressive that do not take corporate donations.
And by February 25th we will know who the Democratic National Committee—the 447 member committee of DP establishment VIP’s who get to vote—has elected as the next chair.
At the time of this writing, it looks to be between Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison, the head of the DP Progressive Caucus—endorsed by Bernie Sanders—or Thomas Perez, the former Secretary of Labor under Obama—endorsed by Joe Biden. The outcome will be telling of the extent to which the Bernie movement has had an impact on the top party leadership that went all in for Clinton last year.
In any case, for those who remain committed to the principles of the ‘political revolution’ from within the Democratic Party—that stuggle will continue to unfold in the years ahead.
Meanwhile, what has happened to the ‘left’ and independent groups and voices who have opted to carry on the fight for fundamental political change from outside the Democratic Party?
The most prominent groups are the Green Party, Socialist Alternative, the Progressive Independent Party, the Democratic Socialists of America, and many other preexisting or new movement groups such as FairVote and Election Justice USA.
And most recently, Nick Brana, former national outreach coordinator for the Bernie Sanders campaign announced an effort to ‘Draft Bernie for a People’s Party’ independent of the Democrats. But almost immediately after he started this effort, Bernie came on CNN and said he was focused on working inside the DP which undercut Brana’s effort. Still Brana believes that Bernie will eventually come to lead an independent party. Time will tell, but I am not hopeful given Bernie’s history of working side by side with the Democrats for the last 25 years since being elected to congress.
The Green Party candidate received 1.2 million votes or approximately 1.2 % of the total vote with Jill Stein’s campaign but failed to get the requisite 5%. Nevertheless, they have filed a case in federal court to overturn or change the rules of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) which keeps all minor parties out of the national debates—effectively keeping them out of the running—with a requirement that they must poll an average of 15% in at least five major media polls to get in the debates.
A federal court recently ruled that the CPD must change their process for allowing candidates in the debates but it remains to be seen what if any reforms are instituted by the courts that force the CPD’s hands to allow qualified minor parties in future presidential debates.
How would things be different if the Green Party and Libertarian Party were up there debating on the national media stage with Hillary and Trump? Both parties likely would have cleared the 5% threshold in the fall elections and been placed on equal legal footing with the two major parties for upcoming elections. In which case, the minor parties would not have to fight for ballot access in all 50 states and would get substantial federal funding for their national campaigns in the next presidential election cycle.
My year in the ‘blue hole’ of the Democratic Party ended with the expiration of my membership (dues) on January 31st just as my role as a PCO ended after I recently moved to another precinct. So I am now finally DemExited and back with the Green Party for the time being.
Most of my Bernie movement friends have been absorbed into the local Democratic Party fold, working the ‘inside’ angle for progressive political change. A few came over to the Green Party to continue the struggle from the ‘outside’. These local trends are reflected nationally in differing proportions, state by state, city by city.
Bernie’s primary campaign movement—the movement for a ‘political revolution’—that grabbed the attention of millions of American was only the latest challenge to the Democratic Party establishement.
Whether it’s remaining active adherents, now splintered into several competing organizations, can come together and take over a significant portion of the party will only be answered over the next several years leading up to the 2020 elections.
The coming years will be yet another testing of the thesis purported by those who have watched these efforts come and go to no avail which is whether or not “The Democratic Party is where progressives go to die.”
Perhaps this time, things will turn out differently. We shall see.
Chris Stegman is a local activist with the Green Party and a member of Thurston Progressives. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to comment on this article. He welcomes all feedback, good, bad or indifferent.
The post Retrospective on the 2016 elections and beyond in the era of Trump appeared first on Works in Progress.
We have a giant spare room upstairs that has been designated the workout room as well as Jefe’s “office”. He NEVER spends time up here anymore…AND he has a gym membership. So, we have decided that it would be a good idea if I moved my sewing room up to this space so he can take over my current sewing room downstairs.
Ugh! Look at those curtains! I hate them!
I am super stoked. I love this room as it has great light and I am a sucker for sloped walls. It’s been this horrible lavender color since we’ve moved in and I am FINALLY getting around to repainting it (and getting new blinds!)
All of this painting is mainly prep for when we eventually get new carpet up here. However, I took this opportunity to upgrade my seedling closet. Here’s the before:
I think this room was originally painted a really bright orange (like the carpet you can see peeking out in the hallway), and the closet was a bright green. Barf. It’s a seventies house FO SHO.
I bought a shelving unit and more lights and got everything installed this weekend:
It was pretty shocking when I first plugged all of those lights in. I think I burned my corneas. We had to finish assembling the shelving unit INSIDE the closet, so this thing is pretty much stuck in there now. I don’t care…I LOVE it.
I’ve got the room halfway painted, and I still have to do the doors. My hand/arm is killing me from all of the painting, but I am so happy with the progress so far.
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RESCHEDULED for fall 2017
Thalia Field‘s work lives at the crossroads of prose, essay, poetry, even theater. Her collections include Point and Line; Bird Lovers, Backyard; A Prank of Georges; Ululu (Clown Schrapnel); and Incarnate: Story Material.
Thalia Field is 3rd generation from the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. She worked in theater as a writer, director, and producer before beginning to write books. Thalia has lived and worked in Paris, Berlin, and New York, as well as spending many summers in Juneau, Alaska where she helped to start a summer writing project. Thalia has been teaching fiction and multimedia and interdisciplinary creative/critical practice in the Literary Arts department at Brown University since 2000.
A vibrant selection of contemporary experimental animation from filmmakers in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Peru. Curated by the Moebius Animación collaborative, these 16 short films produced between 2007 and 2014 represent an effort to map trends in technical, narrative, material, and sensorial/affective dimensions in recent experimental animation.
Experience a diverse selection of vibrant experimental animation from filmmakers in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Peru.
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“CEMENT THE VIBE” -Shane Yee
Welcome Naomi Punk back from their European Tour and send them off again w/ PC Worship http://pcworship.bandcamp.com/ down the west coast. Also playing is Mother Tongue from Rhode Island. http://mothert0ngue.bandcamp.com/ with support from local favorites Broken Water. ?
“Also, the Homie, Shane Yee, and I will be doing an installation”- Scott Young
Show really starts at 8pm sharp
I have a confession. I love to mess up a perfectly good recipe, on purpose. I adore any recipe writer who is detailed and precise about their explanations and measurements. It helps me figure out how far I can veer before crashing into disaster. Becoming a decent cook is similar to any skill in life. Once you learn the basics you can begin tweaking, fiddling and meddling until you find your pulse. Your mark. Your touch. Typically, I try to follow a recipe exactly as written on the first attempt. Any attempt after, however, is fair game. Even at first attempt, I am liable to cut diagonally instead of vertically. I might add a handful of chopped basil instead of measuring it out precisely to 1/4 cup. I want to stay within the confines of the recipe without letting it confine my spirit, my passion for food. I, more than most, can become so lost in perfectly executing the details that I completely forget to enjoy myself. The final product may look and taste perfect but it will lack heart, soul and passion.
I’m really trying to remind myself of this lesson, especially lately. I fear I have gotten into a spell of looking a life as far to precise and perfect. As a set of skills I must develop and execute to succeed. As though anything in life that is executed perfectly, without heart, ever inspires anyone, including me. Inspiration is a feeling you get when you see someone else showcase a part of themselves that comes from a deep spark within. Perfection has nothing to do with that spark. This recipe falls right into that opportunity. Originally taken from Molly Wizenbergs book “A Homemade Life”, it is dictated with precision. She tells you how much to use, how thinly to slice and which way to cut and shape each vegetable. It doesn’t really matter. Really. I chopped and seeded with abandon. I measured and guessed. I threw in a bit of curry powered, garam masala and nutmeg. It still tasted delicious. In fact, I got so wrapped up in the process that I completely forgot to take a final picture. I think, in spirit, that is best. Then you never know what it was “supposed to” look like. You will only know what you created, how it tasted on your tongue and the way it made you feel when you were creating and that is all you need to know.
Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Arrange eggplant rounds in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Pour 2 Tbsp olive oil in small bowl and brush onto eggplant. Flip slices and brush second slices as well, taking care that each as a thin coating of oil. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping slices halfway through, until soft and lightly browned on each side. Remove from oven and cool. (You can do this step a day or two ahead and refrigerate)
Warm 2 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large, deep skillet. Add zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and just tender, 10—12 minutes. Remove it from the pan, taking care to leave behind any excess oil and set aside. Reduce heat to medium and add onion. Add a bit of oil if pan is dry. Cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Add bell pepper and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, but now browned, about 6 minutes. Add tomatoes, salt, thyme, and bay leaf and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low, over and cook for 5 minutes. Add eggplant, zucchini, stir to incorporate and cook until everything is very tender, 15-20 minutes more. Taste and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Discard bay leaf and stir in basil.
Serve hot, warm or room temperature, with additional salt for sprinkling. This dish is even better a day or two later, as the flavors get time to mesh.
1 lb eggplant, sliced crosswise into 1-inch-thick rounds
1 lb zucchini, trimmed, halved, lengthwise and sliced in to 1/2-inch thick half-moons
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
5 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
I will begin this post with a great deal of apologizing. It will be the kind, however, that is done by any good friend that has been gone for far too long. The kind of apology that occurs after I knock the door, you open and I thrust a delicious dessert, still warm from the oven; begging to be drenched in vanilla ice cream and consumed. That is the only way to apologize for such an unexplained absence. I am not only apologizing to you, my dear friend, but to Molly Wizenberg. Writer of “A Homemade Life”, creater of the blog “Orangette” and my current personal hero. I believe the next few posts will be a direct copy of every recipe from her book. I can’t help myself. In my defense, she really should not have written such beautiful stories and recipes to match. As with any good idea, I want to try everything she writes about because she makes it all sound not only incredible, but familiar.
Familiar in the way you feel about your best friends spaghetti sauce and the way it always fills your house with the smell of love, comfort and safety. Familiar in the way that your favorite cookie recipe automatically makes everything feel right, even if they whole day fell to pieces. I want to make every recipe in Molly’s book because I feel like I know her and thus know the food she makes. I not only want to taste it all, I want to feel the way she feels when she eats it. Powerful stuff. So forgive the next few posts as I lavish adoration and attention. She may or may not be my idol right now, but I’m sure it will be evident the former is true.
I hope, only hope, to find some way to convey that feeling to everyone here. I want you to try these recipes that I create, not only because they will feed your bellies but because they will nourish your soul. I want to become familiar with y’all. In that spirit, I’m going to make it clear that my absence has occurred due to a family move to Austin, Texas. We are simultaneously settled, settling and unsettled. I’ve been inspired and found a renewed energy around being in the kitchen. I can’t wait to share what I’ve been doing. Tonight, however, I start with Molly’s Tarte Tatin.
It doesn’t look glamorous, and isn’t even the very first thing I would choose if waiting in line at a local bakery. I would be the fool in the end. This is astounding. My husband likened it to “creme brulee but better”. It is really best warm and served with a simple vanilla ice cream. I landed on this recipe because Molly described it as “a housewife in stilettos” and “it doesn’t dally with small talk. It reaches for your leg under the table”. Who wouldn’t want to eat something that is described with such passion? I know I am first in line. In fact, bakeries should really start describing their pastries in a similar manner…I would love to see what they invent.
Molly recommends puff pastry and I bought what I thought was puff pastry but was called Filo Dough. I’m not sure if they are really the same thing but it worked just fine. I just skipped the step where she asks you to roll out the dough really thin. I actually think I put to little dough in the pastry and would just put all of it in next time. It was still heart stopping and phenomenal…I can’t imagine how much better it would taste with even more dough. I may have just fainted from elation while writing that last sentence.
I also made a choice to buy whatever crisp, sweet apples I could find and used whole wheat pastry dough. Small changes but it didn’t seem to alter the incredible complexity of taste…as long as butter and sugar is involved…you are typically set. Since I don’t want to completely steal Molly’s thunder, I am making you go to her original post for directions. It’s the least I can do for a woman who talks about food the way a person might talk about a lover.
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
5-6 large Apples
6 Tbsp (3 ounces) unsalted butter
About 14 ounces puff pastry