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Showrunner

Let me process these developments
The arc of the story has changed
Gotta write a whole new narrative
The plot points got all rearranged

Let me run this by the writers
See if we can set up that shot
Let me run it by the sponsors
See if they’ll buy another spot

I’m the showrunner now
Ever since you spun me off
A full reboot, try another route
Get the fans back on the bus

We had a long run, but the plot got stale
The old chemistry was gone
In-universe, things turned for the worse
It was time for some one to move on

No way to go back for a prequel
Without finding a whole new cast
Change the locations, try a new style
Ratings were slipping fast

But I’m the showrunner now
Now that you’ve left the team
To pursue your solo projects
Now that you’ve split the scene

I’m the showrunner now
A new season in the works
Got some surprises up my sleeve
New cliffs to hang, new tears to jerk

Poem for Eustace St. Meeting

In this time of such turbulence and strife
We come into the Silence and here reclaim our life

The powers of the world outside may be deeply shaken
But here, within, the Spirit quietly awakens

And when the touch of Light has eased our pain
We can re-emerge to face the World again

(written at Eustace St. Friends Meeting, Dublin, 5 March 2017)

A Green Year – updated version available

Start by looking over the “Ten Key Values” and “Four Pillars” of the Green Movement. You might notice that the Key Values can be distributed under each of the Pillars in an almost symmetrical way…

As I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that with the addition of a couple of values, we could make four sets of three, and assign each Value to a month, and each Pillar to a season – thereby setting up a kind of canonical Green Year, that could then be used as a framework for Greens and Green groups.

So I added two, and tweaked some of the terminology a little bit. Here’s the result I came up with. Feel free to make your own adjustments – I know that not every Green will approve of some of my word choices (which is why I’m not submitting this for any kind of organizational imprimatur ;*).

Here’s a brochure version: GREEN YEAR brochure 3.5

For more information, see agreenyear.wordpress.com

WINTER
PILLAR: PEACE
First Month (January) – Nonviolence (Dr. King’s Birthday)
Second Month (February) – Restorative Justice (Black History Month)
Third Month (March) – Feminist Values (Women’s History Month)

SPRING
PILLAR: ECOLOGY
First Month (April) – Ecological Wisdom (Earth Day)
Second Month (May) – Future Focus/Sustainability
Third Month (June) – Personal & Global Responsibility

SUMMER
PILLAR: COMMUNITY
First Month (July) – Social Justice
Second Month (August) – Respect for Diversity
Third Month (September) – Community-Based Economics (Labor Day)

AUTUMN
PILLAR: DEMOCRACY
First Month (October) – Active Engagement
Second Month (November) – Grassroots Democracy (Election Day)
Third Month (December) – Decentralization

NOTES

  1. You can either count the months using the equinoxes and solstices as your starting points, or use the standard calendar months. (Alternatively, consider using the overlaps to reflect on the connections between these topics…!)
  2. I have included some key holidays and commemorations that relate to certain values – let me know if there are other special events that could be linked.
  3. Also let me know if you think the order of values within a season should be changed.
  4. Under “Restorative Justice” (the meaning of which can be found here) I also mean to include such notions as mercy and forgiveness.
  5. By “Active Engagement” I mean encouraging citizens to undertake ongoing participation in democracy – not just by voting, but staying informed, writing to elected officials, etc.  If you look back on the original 10KV statement, you’ll see that the “Grassroots Democracy” value is more about setting up systems that allow particpation – this value is about making sure that people use their power.

THE PEACE AND JUSTICE FILES: EVERY NEW BEGINNING

It’s not often that a rock song nails a deep philosophical truth in a single pithy lyric… but that’s just what the band Semisonic did back in 1998, with their anthemic hit “Closing Time,” which includes this great line:

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

In this case, 2009 was that “other beginning.” Barack Obama’s Inauguration was the crest of a wave, a flowering of post-Bush “si, se puede” optimism that unfortunately was quickly squelched (let us not say “betrayed”) by his own centrist pragmatism and the Republicans’ petty, partisan obstreperousness.

So now here we are, at that beginning’s end – and a new beginning. On January 20, we will see what I am calling the “Dysauguration” of Donald J. Trump – as massive a perversion of the democratic process as the planet has seen since the emperor Caligula supposedly named his horse Incitatus to the Roman Senate.

I plan to see this event from a different perspective. By the time Mr. Trump intones the words “So help me God,” I’ll be across the border, in Canada. (You might want to join me, even if just in spirit, or just for the day. See the article “Vote With Your Feet?” on my website, skipmendler.wordpress.com.)

I’m taking advantage of this “new beginning” to stage a new beginning of my own. I am headed to Europe for an indefinite period, with two goals in mind.

One is to get involved with refugee assistance over there. I am aiming for the Greek Isles, but I might find that I can be useful elsewhere along the route. Ideally, I’ll be able to use my performing experience by hooking up with one of the groups like Clowns Without Borders that has been doing shows to entertain the kids in the camps, but I’m willing to do whatever. (Look up “refugee clown circus” for a raft of articles about what some folks have been doing already, and why.)

The other is to get some opinions and suggestions from activists and academics over there regarding what can be done to fix our broken system, and our fractured society. I am particularly interested in how they make multiparty democracy work, and how we might bring the American system more in line with European democracies in this regard. (See my September column, “Two Parties Are Too Damn Few.”) I also plan to attend the 2017 Global Greens Congress in Liverpool at the end of March.

At present, I’m thinking I should be away for six months to a year, maybe more, depending on what happens (and how long the money holds out). In the meantime, I intend to continue this column, but I’ll be focusing primarily on my experiences along the way.

I remain an “apocaloptimist”: I believe that things are about to get quite rough, but I also believe they will work themselves out in the long run. This particular “new beginning,” this onslaught called Trumpism, will run its course and eventually end, hopefully sooner rather than later, but end it will.

And then there will be more – and better – new beginnings on the way.

 

Crawl from the Wreckage

 

Through the months and the years
The pressure just grows
& then in a moment
It seems everything blows

She drops the bombshell
The storm systems merge
Tectonic plates shift
As two lives diverge

And then when it’s over
You open your eyes
Surprised to discover
That you’re still alive

(chorus)
Crawl from the wreckage
Pull out of the debris
Take a good look around
At what you used to be

Destruction seems total
Nothing remains
But you still have your hands
And you still have your brain

(chorus 2)
Crawl through the wreckage
Sort through the debris
Try to find what’s still useful
In what you used to be

You feel so abandoned
You think you’re on your own
But just lift up your eyes
You’ll see you’re not alone

Hundreds and thousands
Millions and more
Who have known devastation
This has happened before

(chorus 3)
Pull them from the wreckage
Clear off the debris
Try to make yourself useful
What else is there to be

 

Some things of which I disapprove

… fundamentalism (of all stripes) … pessimism … cynicism … hoplophilia (worship of weapons) … belligerism … rhetorical deception … commercialization/exploitation/trivialization of sex … Puritanism … apostrophe abuse … militarism … “American exceptionalism” … bullies … authoritarianism/totalitarianism/fascism … torture … alpha-holes trickle-down economics … isolationism …

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Three Americas

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