March 4, 2018

Poem/Song: Highway 9

This morning in church we read the story of Jesus chasing the merchants and moneychangers out of the temple from John (John 2:13-22). The reading reminded me of the second half of a song I wrote several years ago. Chances are slim to none I'll ever get around to recording it (ask me to sing it for you next time I see you though). But song lyrics are a kind of poetry, so I thought I'd share them here. I particularly like the sense of place and time this song evokes for me.

photo illustration by S. King, photos from Ponderosa Lodge '88 and '89

Highway 9

We drove down Highway 9
From Ashton to Rocketown
The sun was up
Our defenses were down
You drove so fast
We didn’t care
About the day & the time
In the rest of the world
We just wanted to be there
On Highway 9
Between Ashton & Rocketown
The radio is loud
There’s enough to go around
Sand in your shoes
Leaves in my hair
We’re in the mountains
And at the beach
We are everywhere
On Highway 9
Between Ashton & Rocketown

If you had told me then
How my life would be today
I’d have told you that’s
Impossible, I will never stray
From Highway 9
Between Ashton & Rocketown
The road’s still there
But it has a new sound
Traffic and noise
Billboards everywhere
I have to make
My own way now
I don’t belong there
On Highway 9
Between Ashton & Rocketown

December 7, 2017

Poem: Protest

digital collage by S. King, using a photo
by Brad Spiess
The rock is in my way;
I have to move it.
When I push against
This obstacle,
I uncover all
The nasty things
Living beneath.
"Why did you move that rock?"
People ask me.
They blame me for
The hidden creatures
Lurking below it.
They tell me,
As if it's
My fault they see
Something ugly
Crawling out from
Underneath that rock.
The rock is in my way,
And I will move it.

December 1, 2017

What Democrats Believe

My take on a summary for the Democratic Party's agenda.
In the wake of last year's election, there's been a lot of soul-searching among members of the Democratic Party. One point I see raised often is that Democrats don't have a clear message or statement of beliefs. I recall a local Democratic Party meeting back in February where we scoured the state party web site for such a statement, and found nothing. The problem, of course, is not that Democrats don't have a clear set of beliefs, but rather that we're not very good at articulating them.

Earlier this year, the party tried to improve their messaging with the proposal "A Better Deal." I can understand the thought behind this: the New Deal is still the gold standard of Democratic legislative accomplishments, what we're offering is better than what the Republicans have, put the two together and voila! Unfortunately, the message fell flat. "A Better Deal" sounds hesitant and timid, and the proposal itself is heavily detailed and more practical than progressive - criticisms which reinforce the stereotype of the Democratic Party as out of touch with the needs of America today.

This week, The Takeaway radio show has been asking various people inside the Democratic Party about what they think its direction should be as part of their series The Road Ahead. I've heard a lot of good ideas, and at their core is the belief in democracy: that government should be of the people, by the people, and for the people. From Keith Ellison to Howard Dean, the people interviewed all said that the future of the party is coming from the grassroots up, not the top down. Like any good manager, the job of the people in charge is to facilitate the best ideas, remove roadblocks, and make it easier for everyone to get involved.

So, while the people who are good at meeting and facilitating and administrating are doing their jobs (God bless them! It ain't easy.), I'd like to submit my ideas for consideration. This is my take on a succinct statement of beliefs for the Democratic Party.  Here's a PDF you can download, too.

Please note this is not (yet) officially endorsed by the Democratic Party

I used the language that Democrats I know have already been using this year. "Resist" cropped up immediately after Trump's election, and hasn't diminished in the year since. "Reclaim" entered the conversation thanks to Representative Maxine Waters, who refused to allow others to ignore her questions or talk over her. "Rebuild" isn't a meme, it's just a simple statement of the work we have ahead of us to fix what's been broken and neglected.

My goal was to craft a statement of beliefs that can inspire those both within and outside the Party. I wanted something general enough that most of the Party's goals and values would be included, without getting bogged down in details, as we so often do. 

In the spirit of democracy, I would like to hear your feedback on this statement of beliefs. What would you change? What would you add? I'd like to continue the conversation to let America know what the Democratic Party believes, and hopefully inspire a few more people to say, "I want to be a part of that."