Which is more than I can say about Al Franken. Jack lost the DFL nomination yesterday, but I think he won the hearts of many people who are looking for a voice of compassion, reason, and hope, a voice that is missing in our current political milieu. I volunteered for Jack's campaign because I thought he could help create a better America. A better America has got to be the goal of our political system, not this run-of-the-mill baloney that is the current modus operandi of the entrenched majority of those operating in the our government's hallways. We need visionaries to carry us forward through times that are inevitably going to be tough, through periods of our history that will call for inspired, rational, and compassionate leadership. Meanwhile, we are surrounded by those who think tomorrow will be exactly the same as today, a tragic fallacy that will perhaps doom us to become a society that will not stop our consumption of all the resources of the planet until the last drop of clean water has kissed the lips of the aristocracy. So we continue on through this fog of general ignorance and try to make a difference, because otherwise we know the world will continue to worsen: people will continue to starve, wars will rage across devastated landscapes, species will become extinct, and our economic security blanket will turn to rags and all our current riches will be illuminated as garbage.
Jack has started and sustained a progressive movement that will become a network of strength throughout Minnesota in our troubled time. There is nothing stronger and more stable then a grassroots movement, and we must continue to talk about the issues and join together when we can to create a better country. We must weave our lives together to become a fabric of peace in this world, in order to sustain life itself, and not give in to the violent mindset that is overtaking our society. I'm always amused by the term "Peace Activist" because I feel like the media is describing some sort of strange creature covered in peace buttons and frothing at the mouth, but in all reality I feel that we all want peace to some degree, deep down inside us. As the Buddhist monk and "Peace Activist" Thich Nhat Hanh says, "Peace is every step" and we all certainly took a few steps toward peace in the last few months, and we can continue taking our small steps of peace every moment, and every day.
I am not a Chicken Little, I am just a little chicken. I could have done more. I could have talked to more people about why I support Jack. Mostly I just wondered about why people were supporting Franken. I now see that the problem is that most people vote their identity, most people vote for who they think supports their values. So someone like Franken, who is a rich and famous TV star, connects with the deep-seated desires of the populace who would also like to become rich and famous, and they look on wealth and fame as an indicator of worth, in that if you have wealth and fame you are a better person then other lesser people. Am I being cynical or just cutting to the heart of the beast? I stood next to people at the convention who cackled like morons at every little joke that Al made, and I felt like they must live on another planet, spend time in different dimensions then I. I wasn't about to elect a man that made me feel comfortable and relaxed in a phony sort of way, I wanted a candidate that understood the issues deeply and was going to make the world better. I supported Jack because he understood the issues better, he most closely aligned with my values, and I identified with him as a person, especially as a spiritual man who has grown up in Minnesota and understands the environment we live in and the people who live here. I did not agree with Al's stance on the issues, did not align myself with his values, nor did I identify with him as a New York celebrity who just recently moved to Minnesota to bitch about neo-cons on Air America.
So now the Republican, Neo-Cons, Religious Right, and so forth are going to go apeshit on Al's ass. I mean, this is the kind of election that will make you throw out your TV and move to the wilderness, because it isn't going to be pretty. The Republicans have as much bad material on a Democratic candidate as they have ever wanted, even if it is mostly fluff and stupid jokes. The more you see the fluff and stupid jokes in the media, the more you will wonder why you, Minnesota DFLers, endorsed Al for Senate.
In all reality, I saw Jack as my last hope as a reformer of a system that is corrupt, unfair, and unbalanced, and without him in the race I do not see positive change happening in the future. I am fed-up with people who do not use their minds to understand the world and how it works, and just go with their feelings and inclinations. Comfort and security only get you so far, and then you have to open your eyes and understand that everything you ever thought is nonsense, and after you awake from ignorance you have to fight for peace and justice. We need to create a Green Economy now, in order to sustain our lifestyles and the planet, and to give us the platform on which we can work toward peace in the world. But the platform on which we stand must be constructed now, because the land on which we walk and work is slowly sinking into a giant sinkhole, a sinkhole that has been created by us. When we can't afford to even fill our gas tank, or buy enough food to feed our families, or turn on the lights at night, by God we will have a hard time working for peace in the world, with empty bellies and darkness all around us.
Peace and Justice, Building a Green Economy, Universal Single-Payer Healthcare...these issues are definitely not side issues, Mr Franken, as you may or may not understand. These are the fundamental building blocks of our very lives, of life on this planet. I issue to you, Al Franken, on behalf of myself and any other progressive DFLers who feel disenfranchised with the way that the DFL endorsement went down ; the way that you used your insider contacts as a fundraiser and political talk-show host to gain a competitive edge over a more Wellstone-like opponent (you know, an underdog?), or the way that you appeared on the Letterman show and used that spot as a national showcase of your campaign ad; a challenge that must be met. You are the DFL candidate for Senate, and in essence you are representing all of the people who worked so hard on Jack's campaign because of their sincere hope that a Senator could actually work hard for peace and justice, a green economy, and universal healthcare, amongst other essential issues. I challenge you to really take on Wellstone's mantle and be a candidate like Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, who is passionate about the essential issues that will affect us all dramatically in the near future, and have been affecting people all over the world for a very long time. If you can do this, if you can get over your own fame and fortune, then maybe you can actually be a Senator from and for Minnesota.
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