Day 10: The tools to speak

In a bit of serendipity — or whatever we’re calling it nowadays — an editorial about impeachment I’d composed several days ago ran in our town paper today. The text is below.

Any citizen, including you, can start the resolution process in your city or town: here is a guide. 

Today, added obstruction of justice to its resolution text. Read about it here, then please sign the petition (currently at over 900K signatures. We’d like to get a million).

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Forever young


Today is my birthday. I’m fifty-one years old. That’s the kind of age that sounds really, really old when you’re young.

Of course I don’t feel old, and especially not lately, when I’m on such a steep learning curve. I’m a baby organizer, an infant activist. Recently, I discovered Marshall Ganz, an iconic longtime organizer (first through this excellent interview and then this one and then Resistance School). He makes extraordinarily exciting (to me) connections between narrative, faith, and politics–basically, my sweet spot. Continue reading

Because Bernie

via The Atlantic

Still feeling the Bern? Then let us be perfectly clear: a President Trump would be disastrous for Senator Sanders.

I love Bernie Sanders. I think he’s the candidate of a lifetime. I co-founded Writers for Bernie, and wrote pieces supporting him throughout the primary. I desperately wish he were the Democratic nominee, and I believe he would have been, if not for the near-complete media bias against him and the documented favoritism of the DNC.

But he’s not. He is, however, poised to have tremendous power in the Senateif Hillary Clinton becomes president.

Some people, even though they, too, love Bernie, or because they love Bernie, think they can’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary. They’re voting third party, sitting the election out — or, amazingly, voting for Trump, enamored of the idea that he’s a disrupter. Many think that even if Trump is elected, Bernie will still be their champion.

I’m astonished at the number of people I’ve encountered who think progressive policies have any chance of being enacted under a President Trump. They don’t. This isn’t defeatist thinking.

It’s simply civics and math.

Here’s what would, and wouldn’t, happen in a Trump administration:

— Bernie would not be a committee chair. There’s much excitement about the prospect of Bernie heading either Budget or HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions), two powerful committees. (The right, in fact, is freaking out at the prospect.) But that’ll happen only if the Democrats win back the Senate. At present, most projections make it a 50–50 split — which means if we have a Democratic president, we have a Democratic Senate majority, since the Vice President is the tiebreaker vote.

And if we have a Republican president, we don’t.

Further, the Vice President is also the tiebreaker vote for chairmanships. So: if Mike Pence is VP, no chair for Bernie.

All the talk of Dems taking the Senate, and Bernie being a committee chair, is dependent on Clinton winning the White House.

— It will be virtually impossible for progressive legislation to reach the President’s desk for final approval. The House will be held by Republicans. The Senate will be held by Republicans (given the VP tiebreaker). There will be no Democratic committee chairs to push legislation through. There will be no Democratic president to do backroom deals or twist arms (legislation is won vote by agonizing vote: watch Lincoln).

— If, by some miracle, a progressive bill makes it to President Trump’s desk, he’ll veto it. Self-explanatory.

— Progressives would not have the votes to override a veto. You need 60 Senate votes to override a presidential veto. There won’t be 10 Republicans who’ll break ranks to vote with the Democrats.

A President Trump would torpedo Bernie’s chances of enacting any of the progressive policies we care about.

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What still matters


This piece originally appeared on Medium.

One of the most difficult tasks I face as a novelist is one that seems the simplest: explaining what my books are about. It’s almost always the first question I get in a casual conversation. Quickly outlining the plot feels reductive, but it’s hard sometimes to see my own larger themes and motivations, especially when I’ve just finished a book: the world I’ve created still seems too large and the people too complex to pull out one-sentence, much less one-word, explanations.

But distance helps. I’ve had a little time now (my first book came out in 2010, the second in 2015), and with it more insight — which, believe it or not, has come at least partly by way of Bernie Sanders. I was trying to figure out why my feelings about his campaign are so strong, why they resonate with me, as they do with so many others, so deeply, and I realized that the driving ideas — necessities — of both my fiction and my activism are the same: truth and courage. Or, to state them negatively (but in a way that lends itself much more to plot-making, as well as politics): lies and fear.

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