Monday, July 20, 2020

That Infinite Cascade of Ripples Flowing Out from This Rare Gem Stone Soul Dropped into the Great Salt Sea of Our National Psyche (For John Lewis)



"You are the light. Never let anyone—any person or any force—dampen, dim or diminish your light. Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant. Lean toward the whispers of your own heart, discover the universal truth, and follow its dictates. […] Release the need to hate, to harbor division, and the enticement of revenge. Release all bitterness. Hold only love, only peace in your heart, knowing that the battle of good to overcome evil is already won. Choose confrontation wisely, but when it is your time don't be afraid to stand up, speak up, and speak out against injustice. And if you follow your truth down the road to peace and the affirmation of love, if you shine like a beacon for all to see, then the poetry of all the great dreamers and philosophers is yours to manifest in a nation, a world community, and a Beloved Community that is finally at peace with itself.” - John Lewis, Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America (2012)

John Lewis in Newly Unearthed Mugshots in the 1960s,
 (Nashville Police Department), Smithsonian Magazine, 12/1/16

I am not a sentimentalist. At least not about death. I have been around too much of it. I know what it is, I know what it isn't. I don't do obituaries. I don't write them, read them or post them. I get it, I understand the need. I understand the function, I just don't do obituaries. I am not a "rest in peace" person, I am not a "sorry for your loss" person. My relationship with death is seemingly paradoxical: On the terrestrial plane, I am an existentialist -- when someone falls, they fall, they're gone. I live with the living. I don't look back, I lean forward. But on the occult plane, I know with utter certainty that what the humans call "death" is not what they imagine it to be. The terrestrial life and work of a great being, whether in the arts, the sciences or in politics (yes, I said politics), it just the beginning in one sense, or the continuation in another sense, resulting in an infinite cascade of ripples through all time and space, i.e., all being. Death is death. Period. Full stop. Death is not death. Period. Full stop.
Can you embrace this divine paradox? Sooner or later, you will have to.
So this is is not an obituary for Rep. John Lewis, D-GA. This is a dispatch from the barricades where John Lewis stood, leaning forward on the terrestrial plane, advancing the front line with each forward step. He has fallen. We must hold the line, and advance the line. Step by step. But meanwhile, on the occult plane, that infinite cascade of ripples that flow out from this rare gem stone soul dropped into the great salt sea of the human psyche, that infinite cascade has only just begun ...
Any truthful dispatch from the front line of this forward movement cannot help but also be a call to non-violent action, the facts compel it, reality itself compels it, the narrative demands it, mass action on the streets, yes, but also court action, legislative action, social and cultural action within our own interpenetrating circles and holiest of all, electoral action (yes, the vote, your vote).
The terrestrial life of John Lewis embodied all of these actions, and the occult life of John Lewis, that infinite cascade of rippling Love Supreme (yes, I bow to the great Coltrane), the occult life of John Lewis' "good trouble" moves forward world without end ...
As a citizen, as a human being, I have spent almost all of my life on these barricades, one way or another, many of us have, whether for you that means a decade or two, or as for me too many decades ... But for as long as I have stood on this barricade and leaned forward, I could hear the voice of John Lewis somewhere along the line ...
A brave voice, a true voice, a voice that did not falter, a voice that always spoke from a place of adamantine love and determination ...
  • Civil rights icon and US Democratic Rep. John Lewis of Georgia made a surprise appearance at this year's "Bloody Sunday" commemorative march in Selma, Alabama, where he delivered an impassioned plea to voters to use the ballot box as "a nonviolent instrument or tool to redeem the soul of America." Lewis, who had his skull broken by white police officers during the 1965 march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in December ... "We were beaten, we were tear-gassed. I thought I was going to die on this bridge. But somehow and some way, God almighty helped me here," Lewis said in an emotional speech on Sunday at the apex of the bridge. "We must go out and vote like we never, ever voted before." "I'm not going to give up. I'm not going to give in. We're going to continue to fight. We need your prayers now more than ever before," he said. "We must use the vote as a nonviolent instrument or tool to redeem the soul of America." - John Lewis urges attendees of Selma's 'Bloody Sunday' commemorative march to 'redeem the soul of America' by voting, CNN, 3/1/20
I remember it all ... 

In 2000, the shell of a man formerly known as Ralph Nader declared that there was no difference between Bush and Gore, and there he was in the final days before the election, campaigning in Florida. Gore won, but Bush was sworn in. Not all of Al Gore's votes got counted, but enough of Nader's votes got counted to turn the electoral college, and the country, over to Cheney and Rove. Al Gore wouldn't have invaded Iraq or pulled out of the Kyoto Climate Accords or ...  

So, in 2016, tell me, in Moscow in December 2015, was Mike Flynn Dr. Stein's dinner date, or was she Vladimir Putin's dinner date? Or was it a dirty tricks menage a trois? Like the shell of a man formerly known as Ralph Nader before her, Jill Stein told you that there was not enough of a difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Clinton won, but Stein's votes (and her "recount efforts" in key battleground states turned the electoral college, and the country, over to Putin and put his weaponized clown in the White House. "I'm the last thing standing between you and the Apocalypse," Clinton warned, and she was right. 

In between, of course, Barack Obama held the high ground, setting the U.S. on an incremental but inexorable path to universal healthcare, signing the U.S. on to the Paris Climate Agreement, and not only avoiding war with Iran, but working successfully with the other world powers to arrive at a peace agreement. But throughout it all, even as Citizens United hollowed out our democratic institutions, some among us, those who had become toxic, those who had lost touch with reality, chose to spend the eight years carping at Obama and the "Democratic Establishment." They had learned nothing from 2000.

And, in 2000, in 2012, in 2020, do you know what I told those I knew who argued that there was no difference (or not enough) between the two major parties and who argued for a third party or just don't even bother to vote? I said, "I will leave the Democratic Party when John Lewis leaves it." If he felt it was worth fighting for, then so did I. None of them had any real response to that. It was inevitably the end of the argument. Oh, some of them went ahead and threw away their votes, but they had no answer to my reason for not throwing away mine. Because, well, John Lewis ...

Yes, for as long as I have stood on this barricade and leaned forward, I could hear the voice of John Lewis somewhere along the line ...

Throughout his life, John Lewis not only put his shoulder to bending the arc of the moral universe toward justice, he also stood at the fulcrum of history.

Consider John Lewis in January 2009 and in January 2017 --
  • In an exclusive interview with NBC News' "Meet the Press," Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., said he does not believe Donald Trump is a "legitimate president," citing Russian interference in last year’s election ... When pressed to explain why, he cited allegations of Russian hacks during the campaign that led to the release of internal documents from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign co-chairman, John Podesta. “I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected. And they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton,” Lewis told NBC News. - Rep. John Lewis: 'I Don't See Trump as a Legitimate President', NBC News, 1/13/17
As a young man, John Lewis was arrested and beaten over and over again, in non-violent resistance, and as an elder statesman he often broke into dances of jubilation after speaking on the campaign trail. Whether surrounded by hate or love, John Lewis led. But now he has fallen.

And you and I are still here at this barricade, leaning forward, advancing the front line step by step. 

On the terrestrial plane, his dances of jubilation have ceased, but on the occult plane, that infinite cascade of ripples still flows out from this rare gem stone soul dropped into the great salt sea of our national psyche ...
This is the great battle of our time. This is it. All of the praying, the marching, the voting, the decades, it all comes down to this November, and to the dangerous time between this November and next January. The demographics are with us, the arc of the moral universe is accelerating, evolution has been grinding on relentlessly. The Death-Eater Overlords' stranglehold on the electoral college is  going to be broken. A second consecutive tsunami is building. A 2020 #BlackLivesMatter tsunami to follow on the 2018 #MeToo tsunami. A united front for sanity and decency is coalescing, Right, Left and Center. We must survive the pandemic and save the republic.

The forces of evil (yes, evil, it's a diagnosis not a moral judgment) have a ruthless grip on the levers of power, but if we take the Senate and topple #MoscowMitch, it's all over for them. In spite of the dirty tricks, the information warfare, the vote suppression, the dark money, the gerrymandering, the electoral college, in spite of all of it ... a new world is coming, the great shift is already underway ... we must not fail to show up for this moment ...

John Lewis died a few days ago at the age of 80. I found myself pondering the length of his life, how deep into it he had gone, and how the sands in the hourglass finally ran out. 80 years. And then it occurred to me, he was only fourteen years older than me. Fourteen years ...

Pull yourselves together. Make #GoodTrouble. Lean forward. Make #GoodTrouble. Vote. 

-- Richard Power is the Author of "I, the Dragon: Chronicles of An Epic Life Among the Humans" and "Wyrds of Power: New Language for A New Reality." Both are available from Amazon.com.

55th Anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," Selma, Alabama 3/1/20

President Barack Obama awards the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom to Congressman John Lewis in a ceremony in the East Room of the White House February 15, 2011



Sunday, June 21, 2020

For Those of Us Massing Here on the Other Side of the Event Horizon: 7 Verities for Aligning with Reality from Inside the Vortex, Including "Black Lives Matter"

Kadir Nelson, "Say Their Names," New Yorker Cover, 6/22/20
The ugliest claim made by John Bolton in the former national security adviser’s new “tell-all” book is that President Donald Trump encouraged Chinese leader Xi Jinping to continue rounding up Uighur Muslims into the concentration camps where they are tortured, separated from their families, and “reeducated" ... Throughout his presidency, nine current and former senior administration officials say, Trump has exhibited a callous indifference to what has been described as crimes against humanity and cultural genocide taking place in China’s western Xinjiang province. -- Asawin Suebsaeng, Erin Banco, Spencer Ackerman, Sam Brodey, Daily Beast, 6/18/20

American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it. -- James Baldwin

Our analysis shows that with the same actions actually taken by other nations large and small, from East and West, the U.S. could have prevented 70% to 99% of its Covid-19 deaths. This has been a needless tragedy. -- Stat News, 6/19/20

I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.
 -- Audre Lorde

Yesterday. 6/19/20. A profound celebration of Juneteenth.
  • In a city that has become known as a landmark to black pain, Friday was a day for black joy ... In any year, Juneteenth in Tulsa means something different than it does in other cities, according to black residents. The exuberance more palpable, the music more soulful, against the backdrop of the 1921 white riot that killed an estimated 300 black Tulsans and destroyed the area once known as “Black Wall Street.” “We’re celebrating the emancipation of slaves, but we’re really celebrating the idea of being black,” said Jacquelyn Simmons, who has lived in Tulsa for 45 years." -- Astead W. Herndon, New York Times, 6/19/20
Tonight, 6/20/20. The great wheel turns, turns with it.

Solstice. Feel the planetary polarity. Summer in the global North, Winter in the global South. And a New Moon, with her shadow sister Solar Eclipse. Immerse yourselves in the radiant darkness.

As this vast multitude of wounded healers and peaceful warriors prepares to exercise the sacred power of the vote, I present seven verities for aligning with reality from the inside the vortex.

1.  A Prescient Vision At 14th and L

During the Civil War, Walt Whitman moved from Brooklyn to Washington, D.C. to work as a nurse tending to injured Union army soldiers. He would stand at the corner of 14th and L, and wait for President Lincoln to pass by on his way between the White House and his summer cottage. Their eyes would meet, and Lincoln would give a slight bow to the stranger who would come to write Leaves of Grass. In his journal of those years, Whitman wrote of "the deep latent sadness" in Lincoln's countenance. Recently, I have been pondering the impersonally personal encounters of those two legendary beings, and I am certain that they shared a prescient vision of our time and saw much for which there were simply no words. And now it has fallen on us to finish this great battle.

The Confederacy was defeated in the year 1865; the Neo-Confederacy, ascendant since Nixon's "Southern Strategy," will be defeated in the year 2020.

Dalton Carper (@DBCarper): Another photo from tonight #GeorgeFloydprotest
#BlackLivesMatters #72ndAndDodge #Omaha #icantbreathe
2. Black Lives Matter

This time frame, from the murder of George Floyd to Election Day, this is our Berlin Wall moment. Well, it's either that or our Tiananmen Square moment. We all must choose sides. Yes, choose sides.
  • Mary Elizabeth Taylor, one of the highest-ranking African American officials in the Trump administration, resigned on Thursday over President Donald Trump’s response to racial tensions across the nation, The Washington Post reported. Taylor, 30, was the youngest person and first Black woman to serve as assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs in the State Department. In her resignation letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, obtained by the Post, Taylor said the president’s “comments and actions surrounding racial injustice and Black Americans” had “cut sharply against my core values and convictions.” “Moments of upheaval can change you, shift the trajectory of your life, and mold your character,” wrote Taylor, who has served with the Trump administration since its first day in January 2017. “I must follow the dictates of my conscience and resign as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs.” -- Huffington Post, 6/18/20
Appearing on MSNBC, the great Susan Rice shared some perspective on Taylor's resignation.
  • Former national security adviser Susan Rice slammed the Trump administration as “racist to its core” and said that supportive senators belong in the “trash heap of history.” “I'd say better late than never. You know, to serve an administration which has been racist to its core for the last three and a half years, from comparing the peaceful protesters at Charlottesville to white supremacists, calling white supremacists very fine people, all the way through to the recent weeks where the administration has disparaged the Black Lives Matter movement, disparaged the peaceful protesters, and basically made plain that they prefer to stand by a Confederate legacy than a modern America, it's been an administration whose record on race is just disgraceful ...” -- The Hill, 6/20/20
3. The Second Blue Tsunami

Earthquakes cause Tsunamis.

#MeToo led to the 2018 Blue Tsunami.

#BlackLivesMatter will lead to the 2020 Blue Tsunami.

Women, African Americans, and in particular, African American Women will be the vanguard.
  • Amy Klobuchar is removing her name from the pool of potential Democratic vice presidential candidates — instead calling on Joe Biden to pick a woman of color as a running mate. On Thursday, the U.S. Senator from Minnesota, 60, revealed to MSNBC that she officially withdrew her name from the shortlist of possible VPs. During the news appearance, Klobuchar said she thinks it's time for diversity on the ballot, given the current "historic moment" of pushing for racial justice. "America must seize on the moment, and I truly believe — as I actually told the VP last night when I called him — that I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket," she said. "And there are so many incredibly qualified women. ... If you want to heal this nation right now, my party yes, but our nation, this is a hell of a way to do it." -- People Magazine, 6/19/20
Patrisse Cullors, the performance artist and activist best known for co-founding Black Lives Matter in 2013, unveiled a new work on Saturday in collaboration with UCLA’s Fowler Museum. The performance piece, A Prayer for the Runner, honors the life of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old who was murdered in Georgia this year for the crime of jogging while black
4. Surviving the Pandemic

To save the Republic we must first survive the Pandemic.

Wear a mask. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands often. Shelter in place as much as possible. This is not nearly over. Many people are in deep denial. And the Bully Pulpit is being used to mislead many more. Plan for this to grind on through the rest of 2020 and on into 2021. Don't fear the Bat's Kiss, but make certain you R-E-S-P-E-C-T it. We are on our own.

May the Goddess bless the Blue State governors.

It didn't have to be this way, but it is ... 
  • To compare each country’s responses to the pandemic on a consistent basis, we turned to the work of an Oxford University team that has constructed a stringency index based on 13 policy responses (lockdowns, border closings, tests, etc.) to measure how strongly each country responded over time. The Oxford index shows that 14 days from the date of the 15th confirmed case in each country — a vital early window for action — the U.S. response to the outbreak lagged behind the others by miles. The U.S. stringency score of 5.7 at that point was 25% of Australia’s (23), 23% of Germany’s (25), 18% of Singapore’s (32), and only 15% of South Korea’s (38). Due to exponential viral spread, our delay in action was devastating. In the wake of the U.S. response, 117,858 Americans died in the four months following the first 15 confirmed cases. After an equivalent period, Germany suffered only 8,863 casualties. Scaling up the German population of 83.7 million to America’s 331 million, a U.S.-sized Germany would have suffered 35,049 Covid-19 deaths. So if the U.S. had acted as effectively as Germany, 70% of U.S. coronavirus deaths might have been prevented ... Our conclusions are strengthened by their consistency with the results from different methodologies. Two notable epidemiological projections, based on theoretical models of transmission and “idealized hypothetical assumptions,” have estimated that between 80% and 90% of American deaths could have been averted had lockdowns and social distancing begun two weeks earlier. -- Stat News, 6/19/20
  • Chauncey DeVega: For several years you have been one of the most prominent public voices warning the American people and the world about the dangers represented by Donald Trump. Now, facing the coronavirus pandemic, where are we as a country and people, relative to the events you predicted would result from Trump's presidency?
    Dr. Bandy Lee: This a real crisis, both in terms of Trump's presidency and in terms of his psyche. At first Trump tried to manage the coronavirus in his mind by pretending that it was nothing. It was something that would go away in no time; the virus would somehow magically disappear. That is Trump's fantasy world. When that wasn't happening, and the stock market was in crisis and tumult, Trump then tried to look like he was in charge by giving a speech to the whole country. Trump continues to have these televised speeches and press conferences to make it look like he is control of the coronavirus crisis, all while he has Mike Pence and other government officials praise him on TV. Trump is not in touch with reality. He cannot control the coronavirus with his mind and by living in a fantasy world, as he has done for most of the crisis. Mental health professionals have been warning for years that Trump's mental health issues would lead to such a dire situation. Trump is not showing just a lack of presidential leadership. What he is doing is so irresponsible and inept that having him as president is in some ways worse than having no leadership in the country at all. Trump is spreading disinformation, suppressing reality, and threatening those experts and other people who are telling him things about the coronavirus pandemic that he doesn't want to hear. Now we in America and around the world are living through the horrible results of Trump's behavior. His mental health issues are translating directly into deaths and widespread calamity. -- Chauncey DeVega interviews Dr. Bandy Lee, Salon, 3/23/20
5. Saving the Republic

Saving the Republic requires a United Front for Sanity and Decency. 

This is not a moment for ideological purity, this is the moment for a broad, popular action, embracing elements of the Left, Right and Center. Such a Front is actually coalescing.


On the Right, the brilliant media campaigns of The Lincoln Project (e.g., "Flag of Treason"), Republicans for the Rule of Law, (e.g., "GOP Governor: Trump Thinks He’s Above the Law") and Republican Voters Against Trump (e.g., "Justin, a retired Army Ranger, explains why he left the GOP over Donald Trump").

AND of course, most recently, there is this irrefutable, unimpeachable testimony --
  • ANGELA DAVIS: I’m not going to actually support either of the major candidates. But I do think we have to participate in the election. I mean, that isn’t to say that I won’t vote for the Democratic candidate. What I’m saying is that in our electoral system as it exists, neither party represents the future that we need in this country. Both parties remain connected to corporate capitalism. But the election will not so much be about who gets to lead the country to a better future, but rather how we can support ourselves and our own ability to continue to organize and place pressure on those in power. And I don’t think there’s a question about which candidate would allow that process to unfold. So I think that we’re going to have to translate some of the passion that has characterized these demonstrations into work within the electoral arena, recognizing that the electoral arena is not the best place for the expression of radical politics. But if we want to continue this work, we certainly need a person in office who will be more amenable to our mass pressure. And to me, that is the only thing that someone like a Joe Biden represents. But we have to persuade people to go out and vote to guarantee that the current occupant of the White House is forever ousted. -- Democracy Now, 6/12/20

6.  Trump's Truthful Tweet

According to the Washington Post, the pathologically ill man in the White House has lied over 18,000 times since his installation, nevertheless, on 6/7/20, he actually tweeted a truth:
  • If I wasn’t constantly harassed for three years by fake and illegal investigations, Russia, Russia, Russia, and the Impeachment Hoax, I’d be up by 25 points on Sleepy Joe and the Do Nothing Democrats. Very unfair, but it is what it is!!! -- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
Lol. Trump understands something that the toxic Left (e.g., @cornelwest @aaronjmate  @ggreenwald @MMFlint etc.) doesn't, i.e., Mueller and the Impeachment took a heavy toll on him.

As I have mentioned in previous Words of Power posts, the Resistance has three dimensions, there is the Progressive Resistance, there is the Conservative Resistance, led by Never-Trumper refugees from the Zombie Cult formerly known as the Republican Party, AND there is the Governmental Resistance, those career professionals in Federal law enforcement, intelligence, diplomatic services, judiciary, EPA, etc., who sustain the continuity, integrity and institutional memory of the Republic.

And yes, they have dealt Trump some mighty blows (e.g., the Mueller Report and the Impeachment), weakening him, harrying him, preoccupying him, keeping on the defensive since 2016.

We would not be in the position we are now if they had not dealt these mighty blows. Some have sacrificed their careers to stand against this abomination.

Well, they are not finished. They continue to resist. But they cannot hold out forever. We must come to their rescue in November. We must justify their confidence in the blessedness of the Constitution.
  • A former federal judge appointed to oppose the U.S. Justice Department’s bid to drop the case against Michael Flynn said Wednesday the trial court should reject the move and instead proceed with sentencing the former Trump national security adviser, who has twice pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. John Gleeson, now a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, was appointed last month to counter the Justice Department’s extraordinary retreat from the prosecution and also address whether Flynn’s judge should begin a perjury inquiry. Gleeson on Wednesday recommended against a stand-alone perjury investigation, instead advising the trial judge, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan of the District of Columbia, to consider Flynn’s statements at sentencing. “The government has engaged in highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the president. The facts of this case overcome the presumption of regularity,” Gleeson wrote in his 82-page friend-of-the-court brief. “The court should therefore deny the government’s motion to dismiss, adjudicate any remaining motions, and then sentence the defendant.” Gleeson called the Justice Department’s move to abandon the case a “gross abuse of prosecutorial power.” -- National Law Journal, 6/10/20
  • Trump was told in advance that Wikileaks would be releasing documents embarrassing to the Clinton campaign and subsequently informed advisors that he expected more releases would be coming, according to newly unredacted portions of special counsel Robert Mueller's report into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. In July 2016, political consultant Roger Stone told Trump as well as several campaign advisors that he had spoken with Julian Assange and that WikiLeaks would be publishing the documents in a matter of days. Stone told the then-candidate via speakerphone that he "did not know what the content of the materials was," according to the newly unveiled portions of the report, and Trump responded "oh good, alright" upon hearing the news. WikiLeaks published a trove of some 20,000 emails Russians hacked from the Democratic National Committee on July 22 of that year. Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen told federal investigators that he overheard the phone call between Stone and Trump. Agents were also told by former campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates that Stone had spoken several times in early June of something “big” coming from WikiLeaks. Assange first mentioned having emails related to Clinton on June 12. The new revelations are the strongest indication to date that Trump and his closest advisors were aware of outside efforts to hurt Clinton’s electoral chances, and that Stone played a direct role in communicating that situation to the Trump campaign. Trump has publicly denied being aware of any information being relayed between WikiLeaks and his advisors ... -- Jason Leopold, Anthony Cormier, Ken Bensinger, BuzzFeed News, 6/19/20
  • “I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was ‘stepping down’ as United States Attorney. I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position, to which I was appointed by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate. Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption. I cherish every day that I work with the men and women of this Office to pursue justice without fear or favor – and intend to ensure that this Office’s important cases continue unimpeded.” -- Statement of Geoffrey S. Berman, U.S. Attorney, SDNY, Full Text 
Audre Lorde, Austin Texas, 1980. Self-described "black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet"
Photo Credit: K. Kendall, CC BY 2.0
7. The Oath

On 6/1/20, with Black Lives Matter protesters engulfing Lafayette Park, Trump sought to indulge his authoritarian appetite for state violence. He ordered the U.S. military on to the streets of the nation's capitol. He wanted to use the 82nd Airborne to crush this peaceful demonstration.

Even though he did get an obscene photo op holding a Bible upside down in front of the neighboring church, he didn't get to order the bayonets wetted. Something went wrong for him. He didn't get what Stephen Colbert would call his "Tiny-Man Square."

Looking back on what didn't happen that night, future herstorians, chronicling the fall of pathological patriarchy, may well determine that this was a pivotal moment. And ironically, the U.S. military which bent but did not break, may yet prove to be the final bulwark of the Republic ... If ...
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday predicted President Donald Trump will “try to steal” the general election in November by limiting Americans’ access to voting ... “I was so damn proud. You have four [chairman of the Joint] Chiefs of Staff coming out and ripping the skin off of Trump, and you have so many rank-and-file military personnel saying, ‘Whoa, we’re not a military state. This is not who we are,’” Biden said. “I promise you, I’m absolutely convinced they will escort him from the White House with great dispatch.” - Politico, 6/11/20
  • IN UNION THERE IS STRENGTH. I have watched this week's unfolding events, angry and appalled. The words "Equal Justice Under Law" are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand — one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values — our values as people and our values as a nation. When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens — much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside. We must reject any thinking of our cities as a "battlespace" that our uniformed military is called upon to "dominate." At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict — a false conflict — between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them. James Madison wrote in Federalist 14 that "America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat." We do not need to militarize our response to protests. We need to unite around a common purpose. And it starts by guaranteeing that all of us are equal before the law. Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that "The Nazi slogan for destroying us ... was 'Divide and Conquer.' Our American answer is 'In Union there is Strength.'" We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis — confident that we are better than our politics. Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children. We can come through this trying time stronger, and with a renewed sense of purpose and respect for one another. The pandemic has shown us that it is not only our troops who are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of the community. Americans in hospitals, grocery stores, post offices, and elsewhere have put their lives on the line in order to serve their fellow citizens and their country. We know that we are better than the abuse of executive authority that we witnessed in Lafayette Square. We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution. At the same time, we must remember Lincoln's "better angels," and listen to them, as we work to unite. Only by adopting a new path — which means, in truth, returning to the original path of our founding ideals — will we again be a country admired and respected at home and abroad. -- Statement by Jim Mattis, 6/4/20, Full Text, The Atlantic
James Baldwin - Fire Next Time (First Edition Cover, 1963)

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Pandemic 2020: Dreamtime Dweller, A Treatise on Laying Down and Leaning Forward



Preamble

From the nineteen nineties, through the twenty-aughts, and into the twenty-teens, I traveled the world, I briefed officials of allied governments and executives of major corporations. I shared what I saw as I looked into the future: I was one of those few who warned of the ways in which cybercrime and information warfare would be used to undermine elections, I was one of those few who warned that the Climate Crisis was the greatest global and national security threat of all, and that it threatened civilization itself, I was one of those few who warned that Russian organized crime, rising from the elements of the former KGB, posed a greater danger to the West than Al Qaeda or any other Islamic terrorist group, and yes, I was one of those who warned that we must prepare better for the inevitability of a major pandemic in the years ahead, I saw it all, I prophesied it all, and over the years, before walking away in 2016, I realized that my warnings were not going to thwart any of it. And now that all of it has indeed befallen us, and all at once, well, there are no words to articulate how it feels ...  

Introduction

In January, February and early March of 2020, I was driving for Uber, I was the Ubermensch, I had been driving for over a year, and I was actually ramping up, increasing my hours, I had a plan for the rest of this year, I loved driving for Uber, in some ways, it was my favorite job ever. Yes, even though I had traveled the world, and had been a global services passenger and a million-mile flyer on United, even though I had been quoted extensively in mainstream press, even though I had appeared numerous times on CNN and the BBC, even though had testified in historic U.S. Senate hearings on cyber security, even though I spent the last seven years of that life working as a “Distinguished Fellow” for a major university from my office inside of NASA AMES Research Park, in a very real way, driving for Uber had become my favorite work experience … 

But then the spread of Covid-19 intensified. Mayor Breed declared a state of emergency. Governor Newsome declared a state of emergency. The populace was urged to shelter in place. On 3/12/20, the day after the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic, I just knew I had to stop driving … 

Most of us fall into one of four categories:

The essential workers, those of us who have to keep working outside of our homes, regardless of the threat, including those who worked for very little pay, in markets, in the fields, meat packers, truck drivers, those who are keeping the food distribution system from collapsing, and at the other end of the spectrum, those professionals who have sworn an oath to run toward the danger, instead of away from it, our police officers and fire fighters, our first responders, our nurses, doctors and hospital workers …

Those whose work allows them to continue work while sheltered in place.

Those who have lost their income but nevertheless remain sheltered in place.

And yes, those who live in denial, refusing to modify their behavior, telling themselves that this is a “hoax,” and obsessing over conspiracy theories about Bill Gates, micro-chips, 5G, “forced vaccinations,” etcI am in that third category, i.e., those who have lost their income but must remain sheltered in place. Still, I count myself among the fortunate, and pray for all of us, even those in deep denial …

Our current circumstances are grave. And although I am very optimistic about our future, it is vital to start here. Our current circumstances are grave.

  
Pandemic Dreamtime

On 3/14/29, just after I stopped driving and started to shelter in place, there were 58 reported U.S. Covid-19 deaths. Two months later, on 5/14/20, there were 85,886 Over 85,000 dead AND over 36 million jobless in LESS THAN THREE MONTHS. CDC now projects at least 100,000 deaths nationally by 6/1/20. 

It didn't have to be this way.

Laying down and leaning forward, simultaneously, this is what we are called to.

Two dominant images from the Dreamtime paintings of the Australian Aborigines call to me in the liminal space of the pandemic timeline, this laying down, this pass over, this alternate spiraling through the three times. 

One of the image is the Rainbow Serpent, the primordial energy which birthed the world from the cosmic egg at Uluru, this Rainbow Serpent is always coiling, creating, destroying, a creating that is destroying, a destroying that is creating. 

The Rainbow Serpent coils within each of us. It is as accessible as your next in-drawn breath. It strikes in the space between thoughts. It is your life force itself.

The other image is that of Pleiades. Yes, the Seven Sisters, the Matrika, the Mothers of the Wyrd. They are an omnipresent, omnipotent source. They radiate clarity and hope. And they are shining over us. But you will only feel their light if you open yourself to the night sky. Don’t look for them. Listen for them. Breath into them. They are watching, and their blessing pours on us ceaselessly.


It is vital to respect the COVD-19 pandemic. It is not a “hoax.” The science of its origins is real. The science of how to mitigate its dangers is real.

Pandemics change the world. Pandemics alter the course of history. And in this instance, hopefully, it will end “history” and hasten HERSTORY, i.e. the Great Shift.
  • Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could. Our minds are still racing back and forth, longing for a return to “normality”, trying to stitch our future to our past and refusing to acknowledge the rupture. But the rupture exists. And in the midst of this terrible despair, it offers us a chance to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it. -- Arundhati Roy, Financial Times (4/3/20): 
This talk is about BOTH laying down while this plague passes over, AND leaning forward to reassert the rule of law and save the Republic.


How I Live

As I laid down in Dreamtime, in the course of my contemplation, four books that I had intended to write at different times in my life presented themselves. These books will not be written, their purpose has been eclipsed, and subsumed, but they asked me to include them in this treatise, sort of like cave paintings in this Dreamtime talk, dormant seeds that were dialed in to blossom here, in this moment, time-release capsules, for this pandemic portal …

The first of the four is simply a raw notebook I kept for myself, exhaustive, technical, I called it How I Live, it was a project with which I kept the thread of my sanity in the Death Planet years, the premise was to distill, and condense, everything essential that I had studied in my time with my Yoda, and in my own studies in the years after his death, the premise was what if I did not have access to my shelf of the most hallowed texts, the ones from Kashmir and Tibet, what if all I had was my own notes, what would I need to include …

It started with the Four Great Samaya, which I had extracted from the Nang Jang:
  • Non-Existence
  • Oneness
  • Uniform Pervasiveness
  • Spontaneous Presence
Here is an excerpt of what I wrote about the Four Great Samaya in Wyrds:

The Four Great Samayas aren't something you adopt, or something that is designated for a certain realm of existence or a certain dimension or a certain strata of consciousness or something. The Four Great Samayas cover everything and everyone everywhere.
And it says to understand non-existence, the truth of the great samaya of non-existence, you have to relentlessly inquire into the nature of the self and the world. Sound familiar? And that if you -- and the way to inquire relentlessly into the nature of the self and the world, the place to start is the root of the idea of I. It's Ramana Maharshi's teaching, but in a Tibetan text. And then -- so they kind of unfold into each other. So if you say, "Who am I?" and you realize that as resilient and ever-present, and as tenaciously assumed as that premise of “I” is, you really can't place it anywhere.
Once you get beyond that false premise -- then you can open up to the idea that it's all a oneness. Everything exists, but it does not exist as separate from anything else. It's non-existence in the sense of non-existence as separate from anything else. And then if you can open up to that, you can open up to how everything and everyone, everywhere really are all oneness. Although everyone and everything everywhere are unique, it is still all and only oneness.
And then if one's opened up to that oneness, then one can see how the truth of non-existence and oneness is uniformly pervasive. If everything is non-existent, i.e., not separate and everything is the oneness, then it's uniformly pervasive. There's nowhere where it cannot be.
And then if you have opened up to the idea -- it's not even an idea. It can't be an idea … If you open to the drift, if you will, of non-existence, oneness, and uniform pervasiveness, then it also becomes clear that it must be spontaneously present, always and everywhere, in everything and everyone, for all time – it is spontaneously present, not past, not present, not future. Spontaneously present. Not a cause or an effect. Not a beginning or an end. Spontaneously present, uniformly pervasive, oneness that has no separate existence within it, and yet, each reflection of itself is utterly unique ... (Richard Power, Wyrds of Power: New Language for A New Reality, 2017)

The Four Great Samaya are omnipresent, but I feel compelled to share them anew with you in the context of our present circumstances. 


The Other Side of the Razor's Edge

The second book seed, time-release capsule, that belongs in this dreamtime talk is my intended sequel to Somerset Maugham’s 1944 novel The Razor’s Edge, it’s a story of the  Lost Generation. The protagonist Larry Darrell launches on a spiritual quest after his experiences as a pilot in WWI leave him a stranger in a strange land upon his return "home." So he travels to India and encounters a true master of Jnani yoga. Although not named in the book, it was Sri Ramana Maharshi. Maugham had sat in satsang with Ramana on his own travels in India. Ramana Maharshi was, of course, very important in inner journey of my Yoda, as well as my own. (And coincidently, there’s another curious resonance, in the 1946 Hollywood film, Larry Darrell was portrayed by Tyrone Power, yes, my father’s cousin.) Anyway, in the story, Larry returns from India a changed man, an awakened being, a mystic. He is not who he was before. And, of course, he can’t save his circle of friends from themselves. No one can "save" anyone else. So he leaves for America, to disappear into the crowd, to lead the life of a common worker, in obscurity, and anonymity … The premise of my sequel was that Darrell becomes a taxi cab driver in New York City …To live as an undercover bodhisattva. I wrote a short story which I included in Between Shadow and Night, but did not include in Wyrds, my compilation of the Primal Reality series)  ... Anyway, I had always assumed that I too would drive a taxi cab someday, it turned out that I would drive for Uber in the end …

Why did I choose the role of cab driver for Darrell in my proposed sequel?

It seems to me the perfect accommodation for the cultivation of Bodhisattvaship. And what are the elements of Bodhisattvaship, beyond the prerequisite of unconditional love for all life? What are the true Bodhisattvic functions?
  • Abiding Presence
  • Bearing Witness
  • Holding Up A Mirror
  • Delivering Oracular Messages
  • Experiential Insight
That’s not Buddhist canon. It’s just my own synthesis. Hopefully it will be useful to you. It is nothing more or less than what we can offer each other as friends, the deeper we go into our inner life, the deeper we go into our practices.



True Romance of Arthur

The third never to be written book that finds its mooring in this talk from within the pandemic dreamtime is what I called “The True Romance of Arthur.”

Of course, there have been hundreds of versions of the Arthurian legend over many centuries, in numerous European languages, and thousands more exploring the myth from historical, psychological, mystical and occult perspectives.

I will only mention four, the most important to me:
  • T.H. White’s charming Once and Future King (in which Merlin lives life backwards)
  • The Mabinogion, the original source material, a 12th to 13th century collection of Welsh tales, from which the later romances develop
  • And above all, two versions written by 20th Century women, Mary Stewart’s Merlin Trilogyand above all others, Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Mists of Avalon.”
In my “True Romance of Arthur,” I wanted to pick up with Zimmer Bradley left off, and in the process, I wanted to leverage some of the raw richness of the Mabinogian, I would have told the same story, but from deeper into the Celtic, deeper into Pagan, deeper into the Wild … A few fragments of this work remain. But time, circumstance, life lessons, karma, overtook the project … And I didn’t yet understand in fullness what I was reaching for …

Arthurian legend is not simply steeped in the Magic of the Deep Feminine, it is predicated upon it, framed upon it, built upon its foundations: 
  • Lady of the Lake, who gives Excalibur to Arthur and to whom it is returned by one of Arthur’s knights after his final battle. The Lake is Psyche, the Lady of the Lake is Intuition and Excalibur is Discernment.
  • Avalon. The blessed hidden island of the sorceresses. Where Lancelot was raised. Where Arthur was taken to die in peace.
  • San Graal. Its magic pre-existed the blood of Christ, it is the Shakti Yantra
  • Morgan Le Fey. Vilified, defamed, demonized throughout the white male patriarchal retellings of the legend, truly a sorceress, a powerful woman of the Shadow, perhaps the most important, most powerful character of all.
  • The Magic Sow and Ceridwen’s Cauldron. The primal origins of the Graal myth, and so much more
Drifting in Dreamtime, looking back, I realize now that inspiration to write the “True Romance of Arthur” was my psyche reaching forward, groping forward, on a quest for the head waters of the Deep Feminine … Now, of course, three decades later, and on the other side of a long healing journey, I have written at length, in both “Wyrds” and “Dragon,” about the Ascendancy of the Feminine as a spiritual and existential imperative, about Ardhanari as the Avatar of the 21st Century and about what I called the “dazzling permutations of gender.”

And then after the publication of these two books, I advanced the theme further in my talk “Dragon Bone Broth,” by addressing what I call “The Problem with Men,” and offering a short list of radical remedies …

We are process of an evolutionary leap which will subsume patriarchy, matriarchy and all of the gender identity and expression buckets. We are moving forward into a new reality, in which, each individual comes from the whole of their psyche-soma, i.e., with both energy signatures of their essence fully integrated and activated, yes, the yin and the yang, and the yang within the yin, and the yin within the yang. In this new reality, there will be no more “men” and “women” as defined in patriarchal times, there will simply be human beings, and therefore, no more “sons” and “daughters,” only children. And then each individual will look into the mirror of their own beings, in the frame of their life experience, and discover for themselves who and what they are, and so there will no more buckets, and each person’s “gender” will be as unique as their fingerprints, AND ALL, whatever what their unique gender fingerprint, will be living, moving, and choosing, from their WHOLE psyche-soma, with both its energies intact, the yin and the yang, and the yin within the yang, and the yang within the yin, all of it healthy, activated, fully integrated. What it means to be human will no longer be predicated on a separateness from half of one’s own nature …  But this evolutionary leap only advances through the great portal of the Deep Feminine. The patriarchy must be smashed. Women must rise to power in all realms of human endeavor: government, science, business, culture, religion, all of it. Hence, I say that the Ascendancy of the Feminine is a spiritual and existential imperative, it is essential to both our inner growth and to our very survival.



Fire and Ice

The fourth unwritten book I want to share with you in the context of this talk was called "Fire and Ice." The title of my would-be dystopia alluded to a delusional pseudo-scientific theory, a kind of alternate cosmogony, promoted by Nazi SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler. The premise of my would-be dystopia was that Germany and Japan had defeated the Allies and America was under occupation. World War II was a struggle against evil, against authoritarianism, fascism, sociopathy as a philosophy of governance. So what would civilization, or what passed for it, look like if the Nazis and their Axis Allies had triumphed? 

The inspiration for "Fire and Ice" came to me in the late 1960s, as I read "Morning of the Magicians" by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier. Wikipedia aptly described this cult classic as "a collection of 'raw material for speculation of the most outlandish order,' covering topics like cryptohistory, ufology, occultism in Nazism, alchemy and spiritual philosophy." I drew maps. I made lists of what would change and how. I pondered the nature of the resistance that would arise. I didn't get beyond a book outlines and some notes. But the idea stayed with me over the years, as an occasional exercise in creative imagination. I didn't know to much later in life that the great Phillip K. Dick had actually had the same inspiration some years before me, he titled his work "The Man in the High Castle." 

Oh, the dark goddess' hand moves upon the waters of the collective psyche.

Lo and behold, on 1/15/15, a year before the rise of Trump, Amazon Prime debuted a powerful TV version of "Man in the High Castle."
  • In the parallel universe, Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan have divided the United States into the Greater Nazi Reich in the east, with New York City as its regional capital, and the Japanese Pacific States to the west, with San Francisco as the capital. These territories are separated by a neutral zone that encompasses the Rocky Mountains. The series starts in 1962 and follows characters whose destinies intertwine when they come into contact with newsreels and home movies that show Germany and Japan losing the war. The title of the series refers to the mysterious figure believed to have created the footage. (Wikipedia)
Two years later, on 4/26/17, Hulu debuted a powerful TV version of Margaret Atwood's Handmaid’s Tale.
  • In a world where fertility rates have collapsed as a result of sexually transmitted diseases and environmental pollution, the totalitarian, theonomic government of Gilead establishes rule in the former United States in the aftermath of a civil war. Society is organized by power-hungry leaders along with a new, militarized, hierarchical regime of fanaticism and newly created social classes, in which women are brutally subjugated. By law, women in Gilead are forced to work in very limited roles, including some as natal slaves, and they are not allowed to own property, handle money, or read. (Wikipedia)
Both series provide a tour de force exposition of the fascist mentality, what fuels it, how it takes shape, what leads people to lose their souls in it. Both series have run for multiple seasons. Both are excellent for pandemic shelter-in-place binge watching. They are primers on the nature of "evil" and how to resist it.

Like the film versions of the J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter tales, like Peter Jackson's film versions of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, like nine episodes of the Star Wars saga, these two dystopian epics, Man in the High Castle and Handmaid's Tale, arrived just in time, produced and launched just in time, to enlighten, exhort and empower the resistance.

“Live” spelled backwards is “Evil.” And that says it all. “Evil” is ANTI-WOMAN, ANTI-NATURE, ANTI-SCIENCE, ANTI-LIFE. "Live” spelled backwards is “Evil.” Blowback in reaction to the Great Shift already underway. Backlash for the Great Shift already underway. Misogyny, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, anti-semitism. Hatred, demonization, objectification of the "Other" ... 

I don’t use the word "Evil" cavalierly. I don’t use it as a moral judgment. I don't use it to dehumanize or demonize our adversaries. But I don't shy away from it either. I use it to signify the diagnosis of a spiritual disease, a psychological disease. 

We are fighting a disease in the body politic, just a surely as we are fighting Covid-19. We seek to contain the disease, i.e., limit its spread. And if possible, we seek to mitigate the suffering of those who have succumb to it. But most important, yes, we seek to metaphorically vaccinate the populace against it (particularly the children). No good at all to pretend mental illness isn't mental illness. No good at all to pretend that there are no sides to choose. No good at all to pretend that there is no baseline of sanity to insist upon.

We are waging spiritual war, a psychological war, a political war, against sociopathy as a philosophy of governance. Corporations are not people, and money is not speech. The madness of Citizens United and related court decisions made it possible for Trump to debase the White House, and for Mitch McConnell to debase the Senate. The money pouring into the coffers of the Republican Party turned it into a Zombie Cult, controlled by Death-Eater Overlords. That's how we got here over these last two decades.  Just as a crack addict deteriorates rapidly, the Zombie Cult and its Death-Eater Overlords soon found themselves bending over for Trump and his master Putin. Just as some crack addicts have sold their children for another fix, just so some men, yes, mostly white men, have sold their country to stay high on power and greed for another term.   



"Last Battle on Earth"

A powerful multi-dimensional resistance has fought the abomination of Trump since that grim day he was sworn into office in January 2017. I say "multi-dimensional" because it isn't just an ideological resistance, a partisan resistance, although as I always say "partisan" is a beautiful word, not a pejorative word at all, it comes from WWII, the resistance fighters battling the Nazi occupation in France, Yugoslavia, etc., self-identified as "partisan." It's a beautiful word. Anyway, the resistance to Trump has not just been a partisan one, there is also an institutional resistance among non-partisan, non-ideological career professionals in the Intelligence community, in the DoJ, in the State Department, etc., patriots who honor the rule of law and take their oaths to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic" quite seriously. (Trump, of course, is represents "enemies" both "foreign and domestic.") There is also a third resistance to Trump among those on the Right who did not drink the Kool-Aid, i.e., the Never Trumpers, embodied, e.g., in The Lincoln Project. All three dimensions of this resistance are vital to saving the republic.

The arc of the narrative from 2017 to 2020 flows through the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Putin's interference in the 2016 election and the degree to which the Trump campaign coordinated with Putin's black ops, and then on into the Blue Tsunami that returned control of the U.S. House of Representatives to the Democrats, and then on into the Impeachment of Trump for his "high crimes and misdemeanors" re: the Ukraine and Biden, and then on into the early months of the 2020 presidential campaign, and then on into this Covid-19 pandemic and the lethal negligence of the Trump administration's "response." 

All along the arc of this narrative, my friends have been asking me for my view on how it was going? Invariably, I would say, "It's going very well, and so, we are all in grave danger." Now, with Trump's cratering in almost all polling for weeks, and almost ninety thousand deaths, and almost forty million jobs lost, and the electoral system itself in jeopardy, maybe you can see what I meant. "It's going very well, and so, we are all in grave danger."

What is required of us in these dire circumstances is a united front, not an ideological united front, no, a united front for sanity and decency, one which allows for all three dimensions of resistance to move forward together and produce a second consecutive blue tsunami, which will not only hold the House of Representatives, but either take the White House and/or the Senate. This united front is actually coalescing. On the Left, Sen. Bernie Sanders has said that it would be “irresponsible” not to get behind former Vice President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. And re: the #NeverBiden movement, Noam Chomsky himself has said “You can debate a lot of things, but not arithmetic. Failure to vote for Biden in this election in a swing state amounts to voting for Trump.” On the Right, outspoken conservatives like David Frum, Tom Nichols and Joe Walsh had all declared they would even have voted for Bernie Sanders against Trump, so they will certainly vote for and enthusiastically champion the centrist Biden in November.

This is where we are here and now.

How many times over the last two or three decades have you been told that this is "the most important election of your lifetime"? Well, you know, each time it was the truth. Because this has really been just one long struggle against the Neo-Confederacy. The conflict started in 1968, when Nixon introduced the "Southern Strategy," and has raged on ever since, with the stakes getting higher, and more desperate, with each election. This election, the 2020 election, isn't simply "the most important election of your lifetime," it could be THE LAST ELECTION of your lifetime.

Yes, we must lean forward together, left, right and center, in a vast united front for sanity and decency, but let's be real, it will be the Women, the African-Americans, and especially the African-American Women who will be the vanguard of this vast united front.

Pull yourselves together, brothers and sisters.

Approach this next 171 days as if it were your "Last Battle on Earth." 

Don Juan, the Yaqui man of knowledge explains:

  • “Focus your attention on the link between you and your death, without remorse or sadness or worrying. Focus your attention on the fact that you don’t have time and let your acts flow accordingly. Let each of your acts be your last battle on earth. Only under these conditions will your acts have their rightful power. Otherwise, they will be, for as long as you live, the acts of a timid man.” – Carlos Castaneda, Journey To Ixtlan (1972)
  • “The spirit of a warrior is not geared to indulging and complaining, nor is it geared to winning or losing. The spirit of a warrior is geared only to struggle, and every struggle is a warrior's last battle on earth. Thus the outcome matters very little to him. In his last battle on earth a warrior lets his spirit flow free and clear. And as he wages his battle, knowing that his intent is impeccable, a warrior laughs and laughs.” ― Carlos Castaneda, A Separate Reality: Teachings of Don Juan (1971)
Laying down to let the pandemic pass over us, leaving us untouched, while simultaneously leaning forward into the gauntlet of the 2020 election, to save the republic. Survive the pandemic and vote in the November election.

This is our charge. This is our mission. To survive, and to vote. 

In conclusion, I want to remind you once again of what Lando Calrission said to Poe in "Rise of Skywalker," at the moment of the Resistance's deepest despair, when all is seemingly lost in the final battle against the Galactic Emperor Darth Sidious' seemingly invisible forces: "There are more of us." 

That's what I want you to remember, "There are more of us." 

This is the Power of NOTHING. It is moving among us. This is the Force.

It is flowing through you.