Thursday, September 22, 2016

Bernie and Zephyr Come To Town

Photograph by Helen Stubblefield
Jessica Koock
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!
Bernie and Zephyr
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 presidents in the history of this republic. That's not a coincidence.
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."
Bernie Sanders
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?
Tom Degan
Goshen, NY
Maeve Cullen
"Maeve the Rave"
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.
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.
Autumn Leaves
by Eric Clapton
"But I miss you most of all, my darling,
when autumn leaves start to fall."


At 12:34 PM, Blogger Yiskah said...

Tom, I'm wondering if Hyde Park is in the 19th district? I know that since the redistricting a couple of years ago that brought us congressman Chris Gibson the only Republican I've ever voted for LOL Poughkeepsie was also included in the district. Now I must go research.

At 12:39 PM, Blogger Yiskah said...

Wow! I just learned that Hyde Park, home of FDR, the place where he is buried, is in fact in the 19th congressional district! Now how about them apples :-)

At 1:34 PM, Blogger Mycue23 said...

Really sorry for your loss, Tom. I know that you don't care, but you lost me as a reader today. I'm fairly sure you know why, but it doesn't really matter. Good luck with everything going forward. You are an extremely talented guy. I wish more people had your passion and ability. God speed, my friend.

At 9:58 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

I don't know why - and I am quite curious:

How did I lose you as a reader?



At 2:21 AM, Blogger Lydia said...

Tom, I am mystified about your losing any reader over this post. Perhaps someone who couldn't get on board with Bernie. But. I loved your thought about Zephyr Teachout (and I love her name).

I also love Maeve's name and what you have shared about her, and hate that you are suffering another loss of one so young, another who blessed your life so. Please take care as you grieve.

At 7:44 AM, Blogger Mozart1220 said...

I see nothing in your post that would offend ANYONE enough to stop following you. So sorry for your loss. Another far too young. Be strong and keep your thoughts of her positive. Don't obsess on the grief as hard as it is. Think about times you laughed together.

I lost my Brother in law to complications from alcohol abuse last year, and ALL my wife could say was "Dumbass". That was funny enough until we got to the funeral and her entire family said it as they looked into the casket. That made everyone laugh.

I am a third generation Bears fan, but I'm pulling for the Vikings this year because he was such a fan. He was buried in his Randy Moss Jersey and all the flowers were Viking colors.

Stay Strong.

At 6:04 PM, Blogger Majormajor said...

Sorry for your loss, Tom you have become a man of sorrows.

At 8:55 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Mozart, I now realize your naïveté and surface understanding of politics and the Democratic Party. The author of the play called Satire X referred to it as panem et circenses -- Latin for "bread and circuses".

Perhaps it would have made no difference whether "dumbass" were entombed in a clown suit instead. The desensitizing circuses of distraction have remained the same -- only the costumes have changed.

At 2:36 PM, Blogger Elle Clancy said...

So sorry, Tom, to read of the loss of your beautiful goddaughter and friend. Heartbreaking; you wrote lovely tributes to them both.

I read your blog often. I used to live in Warwick (we're now in Ohio). I always enjoy your stories of the area.

At 4:05 PM, Blogger Luke said...

To bad we don't see Bernie out on the road campaigning for Hillary. Especially since the polls are so close now.

At 10:27 AM, Blogger Mozart1220 said...

JG, maybe you should provide more than just condescending attitude and conservative talking points.

BTW, I watched the debates last night. Is Trump on cocaine? We all knew Hillary would hand him his lunch, and she did, but what's with all the sniffing and snarfing, sweating and constant guzzling of water?

Hillary was PREPARED. Trump just looked uncomfortable and deflected instead of answering direct questions. I thought it was particularly funny how he maintains that he's "not allowed" to release his tax returns because of an "audit" even though the IRS has said he is free to do so anytime.

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Jefferson's Guardian said...

Mozart1220: "JG, maybe you should provide more than just condescending attitude and conservative talking points."

Mozart, you left me no choice. You provided the exact likeness of the apathy, ignorance and unawareness that allowed this nation to get to this point.

As far as "conservative talking points", you're just another corporatist -- not me. I reject the neoliberalism warmongering that you obviously embrace.

At one time I would have blamed the political and geopolitical isolation of Iowa. With the advent of the Internet, and the availability of online books and publications, and through online ordering, there's no longer an excuse. Yours is wanton ignorance. That's the worst kind.


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