In Memoriam: Our Dear Friend, bell hooks (1952-2021)

Yesterday (December 15, 2021) 
The world lost a great seer. 
My wife, Peggy, and I 
Lost a dear friend
And colleague
At Berea College
Too soon.

bell hooks was brilliant.
She lit up the world
And Jackson Street
No less 
Just down from our place
There in Central Kentucky.

Countless times 
She graced our kitchen table
Over 15 years together 
Just the 3 of us
Breaking Peggy’s French bread
Or at larger gatherings 
On special occasions.

bell introduced Berea
To Cornel West
In a living room soiree
I’ll not forget
And to Laverne Cox
And Emma Watson.
bell was a celebrity too
Beyond any of them
But you'd never know it.

Always up 
For deep conversation 
About issues,
Feminism for everyone 
And liberation,
The sprite in her
Found yet more energy 
For gossip and trash talk.
She was nothing
If not great fun.

“Let’s recite our favorite poems” 
She’d suggest.
Or “talk about 
Our romantic relationships,”
She’d grin
With that wicked twinkle
In her mischievous eyes.

And we’d obey.
We did!
Poems one after another.
And one night
At that kitchen table 
In darkness
Relieved by candlelight
Eight or so grave professors
Bared secrets
About just that
Our romances!
Can you imagine?
Extraordinary and memorable.
And so she was.

bell showed it 
In her books and lectures
That changed the world.
Didn’t they?
Didn't she?
They transformed
Berea College students,
And all who read and heard
Across the planet.
They changed me and Peggy.

More than anything however, 
bell hooks was a seeker
With infinite energy
For prayer and meditation
And the goddess
Understood as Pure Love
Absolutely forgiving
Creator of a world
With room for everyone
Feminist or not
..
So, rest in peace
Dear friend,
And sister
Dear teacher
And prophet.
Dear author
And speaker,
Dear fellow traveler
And seeker.
Diminutive giant of a woman,
We love you,
Dearest bell.
We are grateful
For your gifts
And most of all,
For your 
Rare goddess grace.

Forget the Democrats: Support the People’s Party

I’ve given up on the Democratic Party. For reasons that are listed below, I’ve drawn the conclusion that our country’s only hope is to support a 3rd party to contest the strangle hold the Democratic and White Party (aka the Republicans) have on a gridlocked national government.

Fact is, to this point I’ve cared more about getting Democrats elected than the Democrats themselves have. They currently control the White House, the Senate and the House, but still have allowed the White Party to rig elections (through gerrymandering and voter suppression laws) for at least the next decade. Democrats could stop this, but have decided not to.

I’ve had enough of that.

So, at this late stage of my life, I’ve decided to put my activist efforts into supporting The People’s Party. I’ve begun my campaign on its behalf by making the following proposal to a group of highly motivated seniors from New York and Connecticut whose company I’ve joined just recently.

See what you think. And if it makes sense to you, sign up for People’s Party membership and follow the suggestions below to get its candidates on the ballot where you live.

Proposal for Joining the People’s Party

GIVEN THAT:

The United States is a failed state.

Whose gridlocked political system daily shows itself incapable of the radical change demanded by rampant inequality, climate chaos and the threat of nuclear war,

Since practically speaking, it has become a single War Party state

Whose White Party and its almost indistinguishable “opposition” (the Democrats) have both been captured by Wall Street, the Military Industrial Complex, and by the health care, pharmaceutical, and fossil fuel industries – as well as by the gun lobby,

And whose corporate agendas (despite Democratic control of the presidency, House, and senate) have blocked legislation addressing issues touching the lives of ordinary people such as:

  • Medicare for all
  • $2000 stimulus checks (vs. Biden’s $1500)
  • $15 minimum wage
  • Cancellation of college debt
  • Free college tuition
  • Electoral reform
  • Passage of the PRO Act (protecting the right of workers to organize)
  • Immigration reform
  • Normalization of relations with Cuba
  • Stopping the war in Yemen
  • Etc., etc., etc.

All rendering the U.S. more fascist than democratic (i.e., a police state supporting corporate interests rather than those of “the people” while blaming national dysfunctions on the poor and powerless),   

AND GIVEN THAT:

Democrats simply ignore progressives because the latter have nowhere else to go

Despite existence of an unmistakable national hunger for profound political change

Evidenced by the fact that

  • 62% of Americans want a 3rd party (up from 57% just last September)
  • 50% of Americans now identify as “Independent” and therefore constitute a de facto 3rd party left without meaningful representation
  • With only 25% identifying as Republican and 25% as Democrat.

AND GIVEN THAT:

The members of our Men’s Group feel great urgency to leave the world a better place

By using our various skills (organizational, activist, administrative, academic, inspirational, journalistic, artistic . . ..)

And the wisdom gathered from long experience-packed lives

IT IS TIME FOR US TO:

Join thought-leaders and activists like Cornel West, Marianne Williamson, Nina Turner, Danny Glover, Mike Gravel, and Jimmy Dore

And stop voting Democrat

Instead, giving our support to the nascent People’s Party

WHOSE PROGRESSIVE, POPULIST PROGRAM INCLUDES:

Removing corporate money from politics

And a social justice agenda addressing:

  • Electoral reform (passing HR1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act)
  • Drastically reduced military spending
  • Climate change through a comprehensive Green New Deal
  • Closing the concentration camps now imprisoning asylum seekers and immigrant children
  • Medicare for all
  • Forgiving college debt
  • Free college for all
  • $15 minimum wage

Suggested Actions

  1. Work on petition drive to register the party in NY & CT (it’s already registered in Maine, California, and Colorado)
  2. Publicize in Op-eds
  3. Introduce topic in our faith communities
  4. Volunteer
  5. Donate