|Photograph by Helen Stubblefield|
This past Friday, for the first and only time in my life, I finally got to see - up close and in person - two politicians I really do love. Bernie Sanders and Zephyr Teachout came to New Paltz, New York.
For my intents and purposes, New Paltz is the perfect place. Located just thirty-one miles due north of where I live, it's a thriving little college town packed to the rafters with head shops, vegan restaurants, book shops and art stores. You can even buy vinyl records in New Paltz; In other words, it's a place after my own hippie heart. I received the word from my friend, Jessica Koock that Bernie was going to be coming to town to put in an appearance with a congressional candidate from New York's 19th district, an inspiring young woman named, Zephyr Teachout. Bernie referred to Zephyr's campaign as one of the most important in America. He wasn't exaggerating. She told the assembled masses: "When I go to Washington as your representative, you're all coming along with me!" I'm tempted to take her up on that offer. I'm just crazy 'bout that gal. Really I am!
Think about this: The average contribution to Ms. Teachout's campaign is nineteen dollars - eight dollars less than Bernie Sanders' average. Her opponent in this contest is a lobbyist named John Faso. A significant majority of his fundraising comes from two hedge-fund billionaires. Guess whose side he'll be on if elected on November 8? While Zephyr and Bernie were kicking out the jams on one side of New Paltz, Faso was appearing on the other side of town at a much smaller gathering at the local firehouse. He told a reporter from the Times Herald-Record that Zephyr Teachout a "far-left radical" and a "redistributionist".
By the standards of the times in which we live, I guess she could be properly judged as being to the extreme left, much in the same way that Richard Nixon, were he to arise from the dead tonight (What a revolting thought!) would never be able to get the GOP nomination. As conservative as The Trickster was, his policies wouldn't have been extreme enough for the modern-day Republican Party agenda. If she had been alive eighty years ago, there might very well had been two women in the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt: Frances Perkins and Zephyr Teachout. She is just what the times require.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: FDR was a radical left-winger. His administration was literally oozing with radical left-wingers. Historians generally regard him as being one of the greatest president in the history of this republic. That's not a coincidence.
|Bernie and Zephyr|
The 19th congressional district just happens to cover parts of Orange County where I live. In fact, twelve years ago I was the Green Party's candidate for state senate for that very same neck of the woods. As you might imagine, I got stomped pretty badly on Election Day 2004. It's a different world in 2016. Zephyr can win this thing. You cannot dismiss this brilliant, visionary woman as being on the fringes of our national political conversation (as John Saso is vainly attempting to do). All over the land (with the typical exception of the deep South - of course) people are beginning to wake up to the GOP's scam. That's not a political party. That's an organized criminal enterprise. And just when I am tempted to completely lose faith in the Democrats, along comes Zephyr Teachout. Go figure.
"Zephyr understands that something is profoundly wrong when a handful of wealthy and powerful corporations write trade agreements which work for CEOs of multinational corporations but cost Americans millions of decent-paying jobs."
New Paltz, NY,
16 September 2016
I will be doing everything humanly possible to make sure that Ms. Teachout Goes To Washington this January. I won't defy the law of God, but I'll defy the law of gravity if need be. We need this woman in Congress. I don't casually make political endorsements. Zephyr Teachout is as good as it's ever going to get for New York's 19th District. A tip of the hat and a heartfelt thanks to Senator Bernie Sanders for reminding us.
Isn't this a time?
I would have written this piece days ago, but I was laid low by the unexpected passing, on September 18, of my beloved, twenty-three year old goddaughter, Maeve Cullen. She was the daughter of my cousin Michael and his wife, Norma Brady Cullen. I always called her "Maeve the Rave". She was such a bright, kind and funny girl. This is nearly impossible to comprehend, and twice as hard to accept. There ought to be an ecclesiastical law against parents burying their children. They have yet to invent the words to adequately describe a tragedy such as this; I'm not even going to attempt it.
|"Maeve the Rave"|
Almost three years ago, I lost another brilliant and lovely young lady whom I also loved more than my own life. What I wrote about Meghan Marie Sager then now applies to Maeve Mary Cullen:
"She was the personification of a shooting star.
It appears upon the horizon,
rapidly making its way across the night sky,
illuminating the heavens in a brilliant and beautiful light.
Then, in an instant, it's gone."
I've said for years that if I could only bring one child into this world, it would have been a little girl. It's too late for that. Maeve Cullen was the closest I ever came to that dream.
Mike, Norma, Matthew and Kieron: I'm sorry that I could not be there this morning for Maeve's funeral. Travel has become increasingly difficult for me with the passing of each year. Please know that I can't get any of you out of my mind, and that all of you are loved more than you know.
It just keeps getting darker.
by Eric Clapton
"But I miss you most of all, my darling,
when autumn leaves start to fall."