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Happy Independence Day. This week I have been thinking about demand and supply. To what extent is the Green Party offering a “supply” for which there is little demand? We should review the party’s key values and see if there is any way that we can increase the party’s appeal without sacrificing values at our core.
Similarly, I have taken the demand and supply concept to heart and realize that a majority of the Tennessee Green Party members receiving these email contact messages may not want them. Instead they want to be left alone. When I was a Green Party “member” for 2016 – 2022, I scarcely heard from the party. In 2020, a handful of candidates were running within the party for president, but the only name that I recognized was Howie Hawkins. I voted in a vacuum like most party members that year. The same goes for the Tennessee state party elections for coordinating committee members.
In the coming year when you are given a chance to vote on the Green Party candidate for president, the coordinating committee should supply you with one-paragraph summaries of each candidate. Similarly, those who run for office within the state party should be given the opportunity to supply one paragraph bios to be included on the ballot. Otherwise you are voting blind or not at all, and that defeats the goal and purpose of democracy.
As far as these discussion item / news item email blast messages, I will be moving them off the NationBuilder platform and either to a separate email account or to a Google Group. For three years 2016 - 2019, I ran (with the help of two friends) an Internet-based discussion group called Progressive Thought Leaders. At its peak, we had about 800 members, and I averaged 3 or 4 posts per day. I kept that up for several years – so you can do the math and figure that I posted about 1,200 messages/year. However, Google+ made the posting so easy. I could grab the headline from a news story, Google would automatically find the most appropriate picture related to the story, and the post would appear on a Google+ discussion board with a glossy, eye-catching photo and my own eye-catching headline. I could post to Google+ and type a few sentences to highlight the story in just 30 seconds. So it was easy to pop in and out of Google+ even during “working” hours.
In contrast, I find I am spending 2 – 3 hours collecting information for these email blasts and need to find a more efficient way to open a broader discussion of the issues. Google+ was really nice but shutdown by Google in March 2019. I completely forgot about Google Groups until someone sent me an invite this morning. This email news item blast will be my second to the last one to all Tennessee Green Party members using NationBuilder, and my next email either this weekend or next week will provide details for how to sign up / join the new discussion group. Hopefully, you will find participating in a discussion group is great fun – and much better than merely receiving a long email. Our discussion group was occasionally invaded from time to time by trumpsters, evangelicals, and antisemites; and it turned out to be fun trading barbs and defending our policies to them.
On to the news. Lets start with…. a poem. This poem was provided by Major Jackson (Major is his first name – not a military title), a poet and professor of literature at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Major is the new host of the podcast The Slowdown, and if you want to spend 5 – 6 minutes each morning listening to a poem, then you should subscribe to The Slowdown.
Today’s poem encourages us to do more than celebrate the narrative of our country, to reflect on our sacred inheritance with its sacred past.
America, I Do Not Call Your Name without Hope
by Dean Rader
America, I do not call your name without hope
not even when you lay your knife
against my throat or lace my hands
behind my back, the cuffs connecting
us like two outlaws trying to escape
history’s white horse, its heavy whip
a pistolshot in the ear. Lost land,
this is a song for the scars on your back,
for your blistered feet and beautiful
watch, it is for your windmills, your
magic machines, for your fists. It
is for your wagon of blood, for your dogs
and their teeth of fire, for your sons
and the smoke in their hearts. This is for
your verbs, your long lurk, your whir.
This is for you and your fear, your tar,
for the white heat in your skin, and
for your blue bones that one day may sing.
This is for your singing. This is for the past,
but not for what’s passed. This is for daybreak
and backbreak, for dreams, and for darkness.
This song is not for your fight but it is a song
for fighting. It is a song of flame but not for burning.
It is a song out of breath but a plea for breathing.
It is the song I will sing when you knock
on my door, my son’s name in your mouth.
“America, I Do Not Call Your Name without Hope" by Dean Rader from SELF-PORTRAIT AS WIKIPEDIA ENTRY © 2017 Dean Rader. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Copper Canyon Press.
Neruda was a Chilean poet who received the Nobel prize in literature. Interestingly, Latin American countries have a tradition of appointing their poets as diplomats to become ambassadors. Neruda became Chile’s ambassador to France.
Heather Cox Richardson writes a newsletter on current event politics, while still working full-time as a professor of history, that has a wider circulation than almost all American newspapers. Today her newsletter reads as follows:
"And on July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, declaring: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
For all the fact that the congressmen got around the sticky little problem of Black and Indigenous slavery by defining “men” as “white men,” and for all that it never crossed their minds that women might also have rights, the Declaration of Independence was an astonishingly radical document. In a world that had been dominated by a small class of rich men for so long that most people simply accepted that they should be forever tied to their status at birth, a group of upstart legislators on the edges of a continent declared that no man was born better than any other.
America was founded on the radical idea that all men are created equal.
What the founders declared self-evident was not so clear eighty-seven years later, when southern white men went to war to reshape America into a nation in which African Americans, Indigenous Americans, Chinese, and Irish were locked into a lower status than whites. In that era, equality had become a “proposition,” rather than “self-evident.”
“Four score and seven years ago,” Abraham Lincoln reminded Americans, “our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” In 1863, Lincoln explained, the Civil War was “testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.”
It did, of course. The Confederate rebellion failed. The United States endured, and Americans began to expand the idea that all men are created equal to include Black men, men of color, and eventually women.
But just as in the 1850s, we are now, once again, facing a rebellion against our founding principle, as a few people seek to reshape America into a nation in which certain people are better than others.
The men who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, pledged their “Lives, [their] Fortunes and [their] sacred Honor” to defend the idea of human equality. Ever since then, Americans have sacrificed their own fortunes, honor, and even their lives, for that principle. Lincoln reminded Civil War Americans of those sacrifices when he urged the people of his era to “take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Words to live by in 2023. Heather Cox Richardson
With those lofty ideals, we ask what political party today most closely embodies them. The Republicans? Hell no, they represent a Neofascist Catastrophe. The Democrats? No, their loyalty goes first to Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. The Democrats are a Neoliberal disaster! Basic rights, human rights take not a second seat, but a third seat. The Green Party? Well, it is struggling, and most people do not take it seriously, but it goes farther than any of the other American political parties towards helping America live out the promise of its creed.
[One Tennessee Green Party member writes in to say these email blasts contain so much information that he feels overwhelmed. True, but I can’t subdivide them into four messages, because members would be upset to receive 4 emails for every one that I have sent out.]
Can you feel excitement and energy in third parties this year (more than in 2016 or 2020)?
Here at Slate, we’ve been looking toward the 2024 presidential election, wondering how America will feel about a Biden-Trump rematch. Alexander Sammon has some thoughts:
“A recent CNN poll pretty aptly describes the current state of play of the 2024 presidential cycle: Presumed Democratic nominee and current President Joe Biden is seen favorably by just 32 percent of Americans, while 56 percent view him unfavorably. Presumed Republican nominee and former President Donald Trump is viewed favorably by 33 percent of Americans, and unfavorably by 59 percent. Let that sink in. These are the favorites for the presidential nominees of the two major parties. Have we ever—in this modern, political, poll-tested era—seen two favorites be so thoroughly loathed this early in the process?”
That’s why this week we are running a little series called Two Bad, exploring Americans’ lackluster enthusiasm for the 2024 election and the problem of the third-party candidates. First up is Alex’s essay exploring the “big third party energy” this cycle is already giving off.
Illustration by Anjali Kamat
Next, Addison Bauer and Molly Olmstead dug into the history of third-party candidates, dating all the way back to the 19th century, to try to understand why they got into races and what happened when they did, from Eugene V. Debs to Teddy Roosevelt to Strom Thurmond.
And finally for today, Lee Drutman asks the question you may have been wondering too: “How do we escape this doom loop of escalating binary partisan warfare?” he writes. “The way out is to change our voting rules so more parties can play a productive—not destructive—role in our politics.” Drutman explains some of the benefits, and even outlines how we could get there.
Tomorrow, the Slatest is off, but we’ll be publishing the rest of our package, and Drutman will be on What Next on Wednesday making his case for multiple parties.
From former U.S. Labor Secretary (and Progressive) Robert Reich:
What does it mean to love America? Republicans claim they do, but...
In this video, I have tried, I’ve really tried, to imagine what they are referring to.
But I keep coming up short (ahem). There must be something -- how they care about the people, the cities, the rural areas, the land, our history and principles -- there must be some ways we can see how they love America.
As we prepare to celebrate the 4th of July tomorrow, it’s a chance for us to reflect on what loving our country is really about. Check out this week’s video as I think about this question and expose how Republicans really feel about America, then please share it with your friends on social media and help us expand our reach.
Republicans claim to love the American people, yet they consistently oppose raising the minimum wage, paid family leave, and student debt relief -- reforms that most Americans believe would improve their lives.
So what do they love? Our great cities, where 80% of Americans live?
Maybe not. Trump says: “Leave Democrat cities. Let them rot.”
Okay, so do Republicans love rural America? If they did, they wouldn’t try to cut funding for Medicaid expansion, for rural infrastructure, and food stamps, which rural communities rely upon even more than cities.
They must love American history, right? Freedom of speech? Separation of church and state? Hmmm... maybe those aren’t their strong suit either.
Some of us have a different definition of patriotism. We see it as loving freedom: actual freedom. The freedom to speak and think and assemble and unionize, to love whom you love, be who you are, read what you want. Freedom from gun violence, corporate greed, and pollution.
We believe true patriots don't put loyalty to their political party above their love of democracy.
With Independence Day parades, BBQs, and fireworks happening throughout this extended holiday weekend, I hope you’ll watch our new video and consider what each of us can do to take back patriotism from those who just don’t get it.
Let’s reclaim the true meaning of patriotism together.
Inequality Media Civic Action
The Republican-dominated, reactionary Supreme Court gave open license to business discrimination against LGBTQ people. Can restaurants refuse service? Grocers? Fitness centers? Car dealers?
Videos Show 'Jaw Dropping' Crowd Ahead of Trump's South Carolina Rally
"The South Carolina trump crowd is jaw dropping. The line literally doesn't end," tweeted Baldwin, who also described Trump supporters in another tweet as being part of an "INSANE TURNOUT in South Carolina. Thousands of people here before 8am. Enthusiasm through the roof for Pres. Trump and the MAGA movement."
Florida moves forward on radioactive road paving plan as Gov. DeSantis signs new law
Hey everybody, do you want to drive your cars on Florida roads/highways and develop cancer from radiation exposure? Who cares about environmental contamination these days?
Fox News appoints Jesse Watters to replace Tucker Carlson as the host of the 8 PM program, and Jesse Watters is not sure U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris is actually a woman.
Who said the Republicans and their propaganda machine at Fox Not-News weren’t charming?
Solar helps Texas carry energy load as heatwave puts power grid to test
State has managed to avoid rolling blackouts amid three-digit temperatures thanks to its supply of solar power, experts say
Thank god for green energy, renewable energy, despite Republican legislators’ efforts to stamp it out.
The best podcast of the week award goes to Revolutionary Left:
The podcaster is just barely making it. He has no idea how he will pay $800 - $1,000 per month in student loan repayments. He went to community college and the Univ. of Nebraska – not Harvard. His sister’s family is essentially one degree away from bankruptcy due to his niece’s medical debt.
Alyson and Breht discuss the recent rulings by the Supreme Court, a wildly anti-democratic, thoroughly corrupt, and staunchly reactionary institution that the American right has spent years and billions of dollars capturing in order to impose its minoritarian rule on an American majority that firmly rejects what they stand for. And they do it all without having to worry for even a second about pesky things getting in their way: like democracy, human rights, or basic accountability to the American people. (Caution: podcast contains profanity)
(I can’t get that link to play the podcast, but if you subscribe to podcast player, then you should be able to search for the most recent episode.)
If RFK Jr. does not get the Democratic nomination, then Cornel West would be interested in talking with him about combining their voting blocks
Max Blumenthal SPITS FIRE in UN Speech on Ukraine
“We have tried Black faces in high places” and they sold out the working class.
Cornel West is NOT an Obama-type spineless politician.
The following quote from Simone de Beauvoir sounds like Green Party values, and I plan to use it as part of my signature block for now.
State Party Co-Chair, 2023 – 2025
Green Party of Tennessee
“One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation, and compassion.” – Simone de Beauvoir