Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Re: Greening the DFL?

Bernie Sanders carried Senate District 32 (Chisago & Isanti Counties) last night, including our local precinct. There were quite a few who showed up, did their presidential preference ballot and left. When those who stuck around got to the resolution part, they kindly listened to me propose (read through) each of these priority resolutions brought to my attention by the DFL Environmental Caucus.

not just "overburden"
not just "overburden"
Photo by J. Harrington

Each passed with no opposition. I don't know, but suspect I was the only caucus goer in my precinct who knew about these resolutions. (Does the DFL Environmental Caucus need more outreach?) I do know that I'll be watching carefully how the Dayton Administration handles the permitting of the proposed PolyMet NorthMet mine and several other environmental issues, such as clean water. I started to loose my faith in the Democrats years ago, when President Clinton pushed for ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

not just "water supply"
not just "water supply"
Photo by J. Harrington

Some of my more committed DLF friends think I'm too harsh with my judgement that NAFTA severely undermined two of the Democrats longest constituencies, labor and environmentalists. The "side accords" on environment and labor, I believe, are grossly insufficient safeguards. The Sierra Club has noted the environmental problems. Do a quick Google search on growing US economic inequality and tell me that NAFTA benefited most of us. As I watch this rest of this presidential election play out, I'm not enthused that either of the current leaders of the pack will do a damn thing to actually improve our lot. I'm joining the Millenials or the Greens unless the DFL returns to its roots. Bernie Sanders won the popular vote in Minnesota. Let's watch how the parties MN Superdelegates vote at the convention to see if they follow our lead or try to lead us astray again.

Instead of a poem today, try this excerpt from the essay The Politics of Poetry by David Orr. It includes two quotes I think are relevant:

The first is from Shelley:
The most unfailing herald, companion, or follower of the awakening of a great people to work a beneficial change in opinion or institution, is poetry. . . . [Poets] measure the circumference and sound the depths of human nature with a comprehensive and all-penetrating spirit, and they are themselves perhaps the most sincerely astonished at its manifestations; for it is less their spirit than the spirit of the age. Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.

And the second quote is from Auden:
All poets adore explosions, thunderstorms, tornadoes, conflagrations, ruins, scenes of spectacular carnage. The poetic imagination is not at all a desirable quality in a statesman. In a war or revolution, a poet may do very well as a guerrilla fighter or a spy, but it is unlikely that he will make a good regular soldier, or, in peacetime, a conscientious member of a parliamentary committee.

If it's not clear, I think the Democrats need more socialists, greens, poets and assorted other "troublemakers" to be successful. Anyone remember Gene McCarthy?

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