My Gedanken ExperimentsSinister Writings (from the left)
We discussed in a previous post how many of the individuals revered by people of our country were not worthy of such reverence, and what qualities would merit such respect. We also discussed the process of meditating on changing our national group mind to more closely reflect the values our country claims to be founded on. I would like to expound on that in the next several paragraphs. But before I do, I should apologize that I missed my posting last week. The events of the week were beyond astounding, and may reflect the beginnings of a change in our national consciousness. Our true sacred kings may indeed be putting their fingers on the scales. And now for this week’s letter.
Our country purports to be founded on three fundamental principles: equality, liberty, and the rule of law. These three principles are intertwined, and not one can be realized without the other two. It is impossible to conceive of a country operating under rule of law when people are not equal under the law. It is impossible to imagine liberty as long as some are subservient to others. And so on. These principles are interdependent and cannot be separated.
There are different schools of thought where sacred kings are concerned. First, the term “sacred king” can apply to either men or women. Some schools believe that the persons have to have died or been killed as a “sacrifice” in the performance of their sacred acts. Others believe that the persons need not have died a sacrificial death, that they may have instead lived a sacrificial life. Others still do not believe that the persons need to have died. I reject the last definition, as that person is still working out his or her sacrifice and making it worthy. In every case, it is not required that the sacred kings live a perfect life, for there would be non. It is that the lives they lived did not violate the principles in question, in this case, equality, liberty and the rule of law.
If we choose to go by the first definition, there are some potential sacred kings who have given their lives for the principles of this country. Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Joe Hill, and Emmett Till come to mind. There are certainly others who could qualify, but their names and deeds have been lost to our collective memory. These are people who bravely marched forward, knowing the danger, enduring the difficulties, and ended up killed by those opposed to these ideals.
I also like going by the second definition in addition to the first. I believe that it is as hard, and probably harder, to lay down a lifetime of service to the betterment of one’s people and collective consciousness. In the arena of equality, I look at John Lewis, Elijah Cummings, Dorothy Day, Frances Perkins, and many, many others. I include Dorothy Day and Frances Perkins here because equality implies that even when incomes are not the same, all humans deserve a certain dignity, including shelter and food (and today I would add health care). In the area of liberty, I include the freedom to work at a job that pays a living wage. I look at Harriet Tubman for the actual freedom, and Caesar Chavez for the dignity of work, and many others. I am sure Delores Huerta will be added to these luminaries upon her passing.In the arena of rule of law, I salute John Marshall, Thurgood Marshall, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
In fact, they all overlap, because, as I said before, they are all intertwined and cannot be separated. We see how they overlap when we look at what happens when one is attacked. They all begin to crumble. When equal access to the polls collapsed, when the wealthy were given better opportunity to promote their agenda through unlimited financial contributions that ordinary people cannot make, and large corporations were classified as persons with all attendant rights, when the rights of women were denied, we saw the rights of working people for a safe work environment, a comfortable retirement and living wage also crumble. Many of these things are in clear sight today. The fabric of the society is badly frayed. This is why we need sacred kings who gave their lives, either in sacrificial death or sacrificial life, as examples to meditate on.
My request for this week is that we take fifteen minutes a day to think on appropriate sacred kings. I imagine them gathering around a large round table in the capital rotunda. I visualize them talking about our country, what it has become, where it is going, what needs to be done. I listen to what they say. In my mind, I ask them to impress on the minds of my fellow countrymen what changes need to be made in our collective mind. I ask them to impress on the minds of my fellow countrymen what thoughts we should think to enhance the values we claim to hold. In my last post, I wrote how the meditation should take place. Please feel free to comment here on the thoughts your meditations bring to your minds.
To prepare this meditation, I contemplate how to invite archetypes to the round table. As mentioned earlier, I am not comfortable with including the founding fathers. They wrote and spoke such high sounding words that should certainly be admired. Their speeches and letters about liberty, equality, and the rule of law were inspiring. However, their actions did not line up with their words. While Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry both spoke of the evils of the institution of slavery, they were not sufficiently offended by that institution to free their own slaves. And George Washington was sufficiently comfortable with the notion of ownership of human beings that he made his set of dentures from the teeth of his slaves. These are not people who we can turn to in fashioning a new nation based on the values they preached.
To determine the values that should form our group mind and group soul, I look to Abraham Lincoln as well as our founding documents. From them I find that as a nation our soul is built on equality, liberty, and the rule of law. “Our fathers brought forth onto this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Here is where the contradiction with our founding fathers lies: there can be no liberty without the rule of law. And there can be no true rule of law without equality. For as soon as inequality is introduced, application of the law becomes erratic and capricious. When the law becomes capricious, there is no liberty, for those under the law are subjected to the whims of those who apply the law. This has been the experience of women and people of color since the founding of this country. This is the source of the divide today.
Almost all of our founding fathers were men with a sense of entitlement. They felt entitled to take land that belonged to others, and to force on those who had owned the land their own cultural norms. They felt entitled to own women as chattel. They felt entitled to own other human beings and treat them as livestock. While there are certain things human beings are entitled to – food, shelter, the ability to earn a living, the ability to access health care – no man is entitled to the aforementioned. The entitlement of taking land, owning humans and treating them as livestock became the basis of the original sins that have plagued our nation for its entire existence – greed, bigotry and misogyny. This disqualifies them from the round table (I except Samuel Adams, and most likely John Adams, as I see no indication that they shared in these entitlements.)
So first I look for suitable egregores. The first one I find is the statue of liberty, who we call Lady Liberty. We look at the poem on her base:
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
This is a call to liberty, to equality, and to rule of law. Lady Liberty is the first egregore I am calling forth. On this I will meditate over the coming week. As I do so, I will also meditate on inviting the appropriate sacred kings and archetypes to unite our national group soul.
So how is this meditation to occur? I draw heavily from the process of Dion Fortune, but it needs to be modified for our own time and group. She describes seven stages in a fifteen minute meditation.
Stage 1: The meditator is to sit in a quiet room, with the current message in hand and in mind. She asks her meditator to face London, obviously I am asking to face Washington DC. Breathe deeply, with no strain, sitting in a balanced posture.
Stage 2: Begin to think about the work of the week. Think only of the spiritual aspects, let go of the practical for now. Avoid distractions.
Stage 3: Place in your mind a visual representation of the work for the week. This week, for example, would be the Statue of Liberty. In weeks to come, it will include such sacred kings as Abraham Lincoln, John Lewis, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Martin Luther King, and so on. Visualize until you feel the representation, and are able to listen to it. Do this for a very short time, only a few minutes.
Stage 4: Dedicate your work and yourself to the All-good, in the service of the One life, relying on the Cosmic Law to adapt your energy to healing.
Stage 5: Think of yourself as a part of the Group-soul the nation; your life a part of its life, and its life the basis of yours. Invoking the Name of your God or higher power, open your mind as a channel for the work of the Masters of Wisdom.
Stage 6: Return to your visualization of the topic of the week, and meditate on it.
Stage 7: At the end, say, “It is finished.” See in your mind curtains drawn in front of your visualization, meeting in the middle. Rise from your seat, stamp your foot firmly on the ground and return to normal. Do not think of this again until you return the next day.
It is important to leave thoughts of the work after the meditation. One of the goals of the energies tearing apart our nation is to create fear and mental chaos in our national Group mind and Group soul. We must not allow that to happen in us. Try to do your meditation at the same time every day, to develop a habit energy about it. Please let us know how things progress and insights you have.
As mentioned in the previous post, I began studying Dion Fortune’s mind works in fighting the armies expected to be invading from Germany. One of her first orders of business was the definition of the British group mind and group soul. Here I will address our American group soul and group mind. The group soul is our sense of participation in a larger being, to which we are attached and which has a hand in our thoughts and actions. It is the understanding that we are all parts of a greater whole. The group mind is the common cumulative experience of our national history.
(At this point, I should point out that I am not including the true owners of our land, the Native Americans. There is a reason for this. The European settlers appropriated the land, massacred their people, and decimated their cultures. I am reluctant, then, to appropriate their respected ancestors for these purposes without explicit permission. If it is ever granted, I will add Native American Sacred Kings and Egregores. Meanwhile, being one of the guilty European descendants, I do not wish to add to the list of offenses.)
Ms. Fortune began her mind work with a meditation on the spiritual influences that are part of the British group mind and group soul. I began to ponder which elements of the American story I could use. Most of the history of the United States’ experience from European settlement to today is recorded history and the people are known to have actually lived. I began to think of those people we learn about in school and talk about in big speeches and rallies. As I did so, I came to a sad realization: many, many of our historical giants are men who brought to this country the very things that are now tearing it apart. She was calling on sacred kings and egregores from Britain, which would not be appropriate for us, but I saw that we would need to identify our own, and we need a new set.
In order to select national sacred kings and egregores, we need to know what these things are. I had read about sacred kings before. The most common understanding is that they are people who sacrifice themselves (martyrdom) for their people and land. Under this definition we would have people like Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, and I would certainly agree with both. However, a more subtle definition includes people who sacrifice their lives working until they day they die on the best interests of their people and land. Under this definition, John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg qualify.
I had not heard of an egregore. I looked it up, and here is what I found: an Egregore is defined as a kind of group mind which is created when people consciously come together for a common purpose (Gaetan Delaforge, Gnosis Magazine 1987). In other words, when a group of people with common interests pray and meditate collectively towards an objective, an energy of protection and blessing, an egregore, is sent forth, not unlike a circle of light that shields and safeguards the purpose of the those praying or meditating. If you look at it in terms of psychology, it is a personality that develops among groups independent of any of its members, a group energy. It is an energy that develops over a period of time as a result of focus. It might be referred to as a “vibe.”
As I meditated on our country and where we are headed, I realized that those most often recognized as our sacred kings were unworthy of the honor. If we truly believe that our country is created on freedom, liberty and equality, several of our revered founding fathers did not model those values, and in fact modeled quite the contrary. While we might admire certain qualities of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the fact that they owned slaves disqualifies them from the highest regard, that of sacred king. What is worse is the number of people who regard men as sacred kings who took up arms against the country in an attempt to prevent equality, that is the likes of Robert E Lee and Jefferson Davis.
I also realized we need to recreate (or create) our egregores. The ones we have now smack of entitlement, bigotry, misogyny, religious intolerance, and smug superiority. Too many of our monuments and heroes are glorifying war – and our nation has enjoyed far too few years when we were not in arms. There are the false notions of the self made man and rugged individualism, neither of which are valid or supportable, both of which cause us to lack empathy and fracture community.
For this week, I ask that we meditate on our sacred kings and egregores. What would we like to have as our egregores? Who are our rightful sacred kings? This is a time when we need to decide what is the soul of our nation and where we need to go from where we are today.
Our nation is in crisis and we may not have a lot of time to save it. It isn’t merely that the leadership is lacking in the qualities of humanity necessary for a nation this powerful and large, although that is certainly the case.
The Trump campaign and presidency have shown to us and to the world the nature of much of the national psyche and national soul. I was appalled at the fact that a person like Donald Trump could get close enough in an election in the United States that he was able to steal the election and the White House. And while I oppose everything he does with every fiber of my being, I recognize that he is not the illness in our country, he is merely a symptom. If our country was well, he would not have gotten near the nomination of his party, much less our presidency. I honestly believed that the moral character and patriotism of those who are called to provide a check and balance would win out and he would not survive more than a few months in office. I was wrong. I also believed that the decency and patriotism of my fellow citizens would remove those who failed to provide checks and balances in the midterm election and the new congress would remove him. Again, I was wrong. It is obvious that Donald Trump is not the source of our demise, but a symptom and a means. And while people will remind me that Trump lost the popular vote, the fact is that he is still in office and as a people we have not removed him.
I began pondering what could be done in the face of this national illness,and how to influence the cure. I once studied metaphysics, and one of my favorite authors was Dion Fortune. As I was pondering what could be done (perhaps a better word is stewing), I came across a Dion Fortune work that I had never encountered before. I honestly believe it was meant for me to find it now. And I was led to at least try an experiment.
Ms. Fortune’s book is entitled The Magical Battle of Britain. It occurred in 1939, when Hitler was preparing to attack the UK. He never did, and reasons are given for him not attacking. But the fact is that he did not. One of the things that was happening at that time that we won’t read about in history books is a number of people who believe in various types of esoteric thinking were engaged with Ms. Fortune in a mind work on the inner planes to protect their country.
One of the things that they did was call upon the symbols of their national psyche. These are archetypes that shape the psyche of people in our culture, not actual beings. They called on the likes of Elizabeth Tudor and King Arthur and Bran and Manowyden and others. So I began to think of the symbols of our own national psyche. Immediately I believed I had a hint of what was a problem. However the symbols of national psyche work (there is much that happens in the mind that I do not understand), too many of our heroes are exactly the kind to foster the division we see today. I decided that I would try to put together a mental cast of heroes that would serve to unite and uplift rather than divide.
While George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were indeed at the forefront of forming this country, the fact is that they built slavery right into it. They also built right into it misogyny and a sense of entitlement. We can tip our hats to the fact that they were founders, but I am not sure they deserve the stature of sacred kings. I am absolutely certain that Jefferson Davis and Robert E Lee not only do not deserve the stature of sacred kings, but they do not deserve honor of any kind. And so on.
My cadre of heroes needs to embrace what I want our nation to be. That means inclusive. So I wanted to ensure I had representation from all parts of what needs to be our national culture. (I confess here to not knowing whether to include Native American. We have stolen so much from them, I don’t know whether we should appropriate their heroes too, or whether that merely adds to the insult.) I asked my hive mind for a number of names to reflect the diversity of the nation we live in. They responded brilliantly, and many of their suggestions are being used to develop my list. In the end, I hope to have an American Round Table of national heroes worthy of meditating on as I meditate on rebuilding the national culture.
I am not yet sure exactly how this works. One thing I know is that regardless of who wins the election, there will be years of work to do. I am going to do some essays here and add letters on the order of what Dion Fortune did during the war. And then see where it goes. I am thankful for everybody who contributed names for my round table of sacred kings.
The past few weeks, I have been doing protests on the corner. As a result, I have been asked a lot of questions about my protests. I originally called them claim a corner, then occupy a corner, then random acts of protest. I have been asked where it came from, if it is in coordination with anybody, and a lot of other things. So, I am going to try to explain.
First, where did it come from. I spent half a year screaming for people to be in the streets protesting, then I took a year off to run for office, then I spent 6 months screaming for people to be on the streets protesting. I found out that if 3.5% of the population were on the streets regularly, any government will fall. So, I screamed as loud as I could on social media. Lots of other people were doing the same. “We should be in the streets.” “We have to protest. This is awful.” I even created a hashtag, #FeetToStreet. And some people tried to organize protests. But nothing came of them. And lots of people gave me lots of reasons why they couldn’t protest, but everybody else should. And there was precious little I could say, because I wasn’t in the streets myself. When my grandchildren ask me after our country has fallen to these autocrats, what did I do to stop it, I had no answer.
I looked at the protests going on at the detention center, and even attended a couple. But I had a basic problem with that. One is it was so far away, and at night, when I hate driving and parking was hard. The other is that all the protests I saw were in areas where most of the people are known to be progressive. Or at least not conservative. And it wasn’t my community. I have always believed that to be effective, you have to go into the lion’s den. And Douglas County is the lion’s den.
I asked myself, why not organize a big protest in Douglas County? And the answer was obvious. Organizing big protests is not one of my skills. I can organize a big aerospace program. I can move data. But people are not data. And big protests require permits. Not my skill set. But you know what? Standing on a corner with a sign, that I can do. I saw this group called Stand in Every Corner, and I thought, I can do that. But when I tried to sign up on their website, it wouldn’t take my information. But the idea worked for me.
Originally, I called it Occupy a Corner. But then I decided to call it Random Acts of Protest. I checked, and just showing up on a corner, not getting on anybody’s property, not having throngs there, did not require a permit. You can just show up. So I decided, I would just show up. And I would invite people to join me. I was going to do Thursdays, but Eiko said she could and would do Tuesdays, and showing up on a corner with someone was less intimidating than showing up alone, so I decided to do Tuesdays. As I was pondering this, I was going to protest kids in cages. Then as we were pleading with Jason to come out in favor of impeachment, my sign was going to say, Impeach Trump (or something to that affect). But then Jason came out for impeachment hearings and Gilroy happened, and as I was still processing Gilroy we had El Paso and Dayton, and I knew I had to protest guns. I saw a meme on line that GOP = Guns Over People and I knew my sign had to say No More Guns Over People. I was protesting the proliferation of guns, and Douglas County is the place to do that.
So at the first RAOP (shorter than always typing Random Acts of Protest) there were, at the peak, 8 people. I was floored and delighted. And Katrina said she would get some started in Parker. The Sunday after my first protest, there was a protest in Parker. And at my second protest, there were 5 people. In both cases, there was response from people driving by. People honk, raise a thumb, shout, wave. And some disagree or disapprove. That is ok. Those are the people I most want to see us.
At the last occupation, a young woman came up to us with tears in her eyes, saying thank you for doing this. She said she had given up on anybody doing anything or even caring. Kathy (the archetypical you could only dream of having a mother like this mother) took her back to her car and gave her information on how to contact the Democratic party and Young Dems. Another young man came up, and we talked, and he told me he had some bills he wished would get passed. I told him about our commissioner candidate and our house candidate and told him to look into their campaigns. He said he would. So we can do outreach standing on a corner.
The next question is am I organizing this? The answer is not exactly. Or sort of. I decided to occupy a corner and invited anybody who wanted to join to do so. I will continue to do that. I also encourage anybody else who wants to occupy a corner to do so and invite people to join. My dream is to have 5 or more people occupying at some time or another 20 corners. I have been asked if I can do another day, because Tuesday does not work. I will continue to do Tuesdays, but I would be happy to do another day as well. Because my time is not as important as making a statement. Let me know a day that works and let’s pick a corner.
I have been asked aren’t you taking a risk? At first I thought I might be, then I realized that in our community, I probably am not. Yes, when I first get there and am the only person there, I feel like I am either a fool or an idiot, but not like I am in danger. But even if I am, it has to be done, and I am the one who has to do it. My children are grown, my career is behind me, and now the contribution I can make is what eensy weensy thing I can do to save this country I worked an entire career to protect.
My next occupation is next Tuesday at the post office corner. I would love to see anybody there who is willing and able. When I say able, you do not have to be able to stand in the heat for 2 hours. I bring a chair and sit a lot, because the hot sun affects me. I would also love to see someone organize something in other locations. I would love to see someone involve the high school students who were so passionate at the Never Again rally last year. I would love to see weekend rallies for people who are driving home during rush hour and can’t be on a street corner.
I thank everybody who has been so supportive. I especially thank the people who show up and join me. I welcome anybody who has an inclination to be there.
It was an emergency. It was Sunday, two days before Christmas. She was in excruciating pain. My son took her to urgent/emergency room care. The urgent care doctors said she needed to have her gall bladder removed right away, because they were afraid infection was setting in. As a Type 1 brittle diabetic, she cannot handle this kind of disruption to her system. The Urgent Care doctor made arrangements for her to be seen at the nearest hospital and sent my son and her there immediately.
She did not have time to think about the network, nor had the insurance company provide her a list of network providers. The hospital accepted her insurance, which she believed meant they were ok. It wasn’t as if she had a choice. She did not have the option of getting it approved by her insurance in advance. She needed surgery now. Within a few hours, she was home, missing a gall bladder. She did not even spend the night at the hospital.
Days and weeks went by. She got the urgent care bills, that were paid for by the insurance, so she owed nothing. Emergency care covered. Certain other bills, covered. Then, a full month after her surgery, she got a bill from the hospital. The insurance company, Anthem, denied her claim. The person who denied her claim is not a doctor, does not realize that diabetics do not take surgery of any kind lightly. Amount due – $21,000. Payable immediately.
She doesn’t make that much money in a year. She is in school. She has monthly insulin costs. She has to take other medications to make her body accept the insulin. She has costs associated with making her pump work. She has to have regular doctor visits to check her numbers, to check her body, to check her pump. There are visits to her GP, to her diabetes doctor, to her eye doctor, and so on and so on. To cover all these costs, she would have to make $4,000 a month after taxes before buying a mouthful of food or paying a nickel for a place to live.
Anthem claimed the surgery was elective. As if she woke up two days before Christmas on a Sunday and decided, hey, I think I’ll get my gall bladder removed today. Except that serious diabetics don’t do elective surgery on a whim. They have to spend days ensuring their numbers are stable enough to have the kind of jolt to the system that surgery causes. And then, after the surgery is scheduled, they check again. If the numbers are off, the surgery is postponed until the numbers are acceptable.
She will have to appeal the denial. This will require more time and expense, and may even require a lawyer. She is working with the patient advocate at the hospital, but there are no guarantees. The last thing she needs is to be fighting this claim while she is going to school.
They say that diabetes is a manageable disease, and that is true. But that doesn’t mean management is easy or inexpensive. Diabetes doesn’t just mean you take a couple shots a day, management is expensive, in terms of both time and money. Time is expended to make regular trips to the doctor to get the body checked, to recalibrate pumps, to recalculate the right doses of insulin to keep the body under control. Money is expended in ways I never imagined before I had a diabetic in my home. The pump costs money (thankfully, because of ACA, it was paid for) to the tune of $44,000. Then there is the insulin. There are drugs needed to help the insulin. The pump requires new sensors every few months. There are copays to the doctor every visit (without ACA, those copays are really high). And the diabetic still has to carry insurance (without ACA, that insurance is really expensive).
The management of the disease does not mean that it is not taking a toll on the body. She needs to check on that body a few times a year. Currently she is taking shots in her eyes to keep diabetes from stealing her sight. Diabetes is also causing neuropathy in her feet. The constant ups and downs in her sugar levels has cost her her gall bladder and her pancreas. It impacts the functioning of the kidneys, to the point where it can shut down the kidneys and put the diabetic on dialysis(thus another expensive drug and a machine to keep the kidneys working). It also causes fits with her teeth, which then get infected and cause problems with her sugars, and becomes a vicious cycle. Yes, the disease is manageable, but it is a full time job that requires hours and dollars.
Here is the thing: she is a smart woman with a lot to offer our society. Keeping her healthy is difficult and expensive, but her contribution will be worth every penny. She is a prime example of why we need regular, complete medical care for every citizen – because the only untapped resource left in this world is the human potential. I talk about diabetes because that is what I know, but there are many diseases that are “manageable,” but require access to health care. And we can’t allow a lack of medical care to prevent us from tapping the human potential.
I haven’t written anything here for over a year. I was campaigning for state senate. I hadn’t planned to do this. I hoped some young, dynamic person would step up and run, and would become part of a new bench for our county. You can’t build a bench on people of certain age. State Senate is a bench-building position, and our county is in dire need of a strong bench. But nobody else stepped up, so there I was. I knew our county party really didn’t have an infrastructure, and I figured that at least I could use my race to help build one.
Running for office is a strange experience. People you think will be excited about your run and totally behind you aren’t, and people you never heard of are totally there and working on your behalf. I met the most amazing people who are doing incredible work for their communities. I learned about struggles of families in our supposedly comfortable community, I learned about the needs of education, I heard stories about the difficulties of young people getting started in life. But, funny thing, I never met my opponent. Every time I expected to meet him face to face he bugged out.
I was running against an incumbent. In his last run, four years earlier, he had won by 30 points. We only lost by 11 points, running against an incumbent. I think this seat can be flipped next time, maybe by a comfortable margin. Winning requires getting started. I hope next time, a dynamic younger person will step up and take this seat.
I learned about how hard it is to get your name out there, especially when the local media are friends of the incumbent. I learned that fundraising is really hard and needs to be done a whole lot earlier than people expect. Lots of funds come in too late to be used if you aren’t doing quick media buys, and the groundwork to do those media buys is nearly impossible if you can’t predict the funds.
I knew I was entering the race a bit late, but I delayed while trying to work through the protocol. I also knew that I had a huge mountain to climb, and the chances of scaling it were slim. But I knew that if I could use my candidacy to build an infrastructure, future candidates would have a better chance of winning.
The biggest thing I learned is that labeling is what is dividing this country. Time and time again, I was asked, Are you a moderate? A liberal? A progressive? And I learned that that is one question a candidate should never answer directly. So I began to instead ask the questioner about issues. I said, “I am not sure how to label me. I believe that our children should be able to get a great education, and begin their careers without facing a pile of debt. Is that liberal, progressive or conservative?” And usually, they said it was not any of those things, but a practical concern. I said, “I have a future daughter in law who is a brittle type 1 diabetic. Without ACA, her insulin and uptake medications cost $2000 a month, plus another $2000 a month for insurance. That means that she has to earn $4000 after taxes just to take care of her diabetes. That means a salary of $60.000 a year just for her diabetes, before she even buys a mouthful of food, to say nothing of lodging, clothing and transportation. I think we need to fix that. Is that conservative, liberal, or progressive?” And I got the same answer. In addition, I got to engage in some fascinating conversations. The same with the light rail we have been paying for for 10 years and still don’t have. I asked, “Is it liberal, progressive or conservative to want to have what I have been paying for?” Same thing. We have to get beneath the labels to discuss the real issues.
I will have more to say about the campaign in the days ahead. But for now, just know that I am back.
My husband and I arrived about 2 hours before the march was to begin. We did this to ensure that we could find parking at the light rail stop. As it turns out, this was a really good idea, because when we got back from the march, the parking lot was full, even on the unpaved part, unusual for a Saturday. Another reason we there early was so we could walk through the crowds, taking pictures of signs we found interesting. There is no way we could take pictures of all the unique and expressive signs, and there were many we did not photograph, as they were not totally family friendly. Below are a few of our favorites (I should note that we asked all people in the photos for permission both to take their pictures and to publish them on line and all agreed).
When we first got to the civic center, it wasn’t very crowded, and we were afraid the newscasts were correct. I was worried, because that would mean that the energy of the resistance had waned considerably, and that we were beginning to accept the outrage that is happening to our country. But as the first hour passed, more and more people started coming in. At one point, my husband got to a high point to try to take a photo, and he saw waves of people coming from all directions. We both laughed out loud in joy. They were coming in, all around. It reminded me of the Ents on the way to Isengard. Too bad our Saruman was hiding away in his castle in DC. It would have been so satisfying to see him peering out the window cowering in fear.There were signs for almost every issue you can imagine, from environment to DACA to war. There were lots and lots of signs demanding equal rights for women, for immigrants, for minorities, for the disabled. There were signs about outrage. Participants ranged in age from infants to elderly, of all ethnic backgrounds, men and women. (It was surprising how few, however, we saw from the Generation X age group, especially men.) There were pink hats everywhere, some knitted, some crocheted, some fleece, some regular hats died pink. There were also rainbow hats. There were vendors who had pink hats of all varieties who were doing brisk business. And it wasn’t all signs. There were opinions expressed on people’s clothing as well. The march began with a Navaho blessing, and Navaho drums led the procession. It seems only fitting to me that a march against this administration should be led by those who were here first, whose land we confiscated and whose lifestyle we destroyed. I can only hope that the message got through. Now for some pictures of people with signs: Some signs were just funny: Some were about our children: Many were about issues: Many were about voting: Some were about our situation: My Outrage Won’t Fit On This Sign Many were about our “President It was a wonderful, exciting, uplifting day. We spoke to many people even from our very red district where I am running. It almost gives me hope that a miracle can happen. If you would like to help my campaign, please go to my act blue account or see my website at https://juliaforcostatesenate30.com
So I’ve gone and done it. I have filed to run for office. Specifically, I am running for Colorado State Senate in District 30. District 30 includes Highlands Ranch, Parker and Roxborough. While it may not be the reddest district in the country, or perhaps even in the state, it is really red. This district hasn’t been represented by a Democrat in the 29 years I have lived here, and I seem to remember it always being Republican all the years I was growing up.
The Koch Brothers started exerting their influence in this area in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. I was a Republican then (old style, a la Rockefeller, pro choice et al.). I remember hearing them spoken of in awe by the party honchos back then. And I watched the Koch minions select, interview, train and fund those who would adopt the Koch agenda fully. I watched them push aside anybody who disagreed with any of the Koch talking points. Soon it became clear that anybody with a moral compass was not welcome. I was told more than once that I probably should change parties, and eventually I did. Once I did, and opened myself up to what the Democrats were talking about, I discovered that I had probably always been a Democrat.
The person I am running against is a Koch favorite, and I have heard that he is being groomed for higher office, like governor or US Congress. He has $20K left over from his last campaign. He won in 2014 by nearly a 2-1 margin. I am starting from $0, and I don’t have a lot of name recognition. I feel like Don Quixote tilting at Koch machines. But there was nobody else who stepped up, and I refuse to give the Koch brothers a free seat. And I have other reasons to fight this battle.
The first reason I am ready is because of issues. I have issues with the Koch agenda. For example:
- I am a firm believer in public education, and I believe tax dollars should not go to religious entities. I not only believe in public education, but I believe in the teacher’s union. There is also something insidious about the voucher-to-private-or-religious-school thing that bothers me. Back when I was young, people were proud of neighborhood schools. Yes, people sent their kids to parochial school, but they had no problem with the idea of paying for it. You never heard anybody disparaging our public schools and asking for vouchers until Brown vs Board of Education. I recall that schools like the one that was being set up in the 60s by Jerry Falwell stated in their charters that they were for white students only. I honestly believe the voucher movement gained traction because there were a lot of parents who didn’t want their lily white darlings to have to sit next to brown and black students. I think that is shameful.
- I am a firm believer in science, and thus, in climate change. Our family has done all we can to minimize our carbon footprint. We have excellent insulation, high efficiency appliances, top of the line windows and solar. Our experience with solar has made me an advocate. The Koch brothers and others are fighting renewable energy. They have a reason to do that, because when the country turns to renewable energy, the Koch fortune is threatened. They have pushed through laws in several states, and have tried to do so in Colorado, that curtail renewables or make the cost prohibitive. I want to stop them from passing those laws here. I also support the EPA and public transportation.
- I support DACA. I do not understand why that is not universal. Republicans keep saying they want to deport lawbreakers, but most dreamers have not broken any laws. There is NO LAW against children staying with their parents. Dreamers were not of age when their parents came over. They do not know any other home. They have to be allowed to stay. Same for TPS and refugees. They need our support.
- I support gun safety. I see no use for any person to own a bump stock. If they like the feeling of shooting a whole lot of bullets at a range, they can rent a bump stock from the range. There is no use for large magazines, automatic or semiautomatic rifles or bump stocks outside of a range except for killing people. It is time for the killing to stop.
- I support health care for all. I don’t are if we get there through ACA or medicare expansion to all citizens. I have a future daughter in law who is a type 1 brittle diabetic. I worry about what the Republican agenda will do to her ability to live and to thrive. I worry about what happens to the disabled, the millions with preexisting conditions, the poor or even middle class who face bankruptcy if they get ill or get in an accident.
- I support legalized marijuana. There is evidence that marijuana is a safer substance than alcohol. The marijuana laws are not evenly enforced, but are used to oppress minorities.
- I oppose the death penalty. To me it is nothing but government sponsored murder. It is another law that is unevenly applied.
There is another big reason I am running. The odds against me winning are huge. But every voter I get to the polls will be a vote for a democrat for governor, for treasurer, for attorney general and for secretary of state. While we have a Democratic governor now, he is term limited. We have republicans in the other seats. This is a bad time for especially the attorney general and secretary of state to be republicans. In addition, District 30 is divided between US Congressional districts 6 and 4. That is Mike Coffman and Ken Buck. A big Democratic turnout in State Senate District 30 could go a long way toward dumping those two. They would be good guys to dump.
I do understand the odds. I hope you will support me in this crazy venture. If you are interested, you can go to my candidate web site, and if you are so inclined, donate. I would be so appreciative. And I could use any words of encouragement between now and November. Thank you.
Fred Koch was born in 1900 in Quanah Texas. His parents were Dutch immigrants. After attending Rice University and MIT and graduating with a degree in Chemical Engineering Practice, he started working for Texas Company, and then became chief engineer with Medway Oil and Storage in Kent, England. He moved to Wichita, Kansas, where he joined an engineering firm, later becoming a principle.
He developed a new method for turning crude oil into gasoline. After a series of lawsuits (which he won), he was broke. Thus he went to work in the Soviet Union setting up oil refineries. He also built refineries in Europe. Notably, he built the third largest refinery for the Third Reich, project personally approved by Adolf Hitler.
After the war, Fred returned to Wichita and created Koch industries, which he turned over to Charles Koch in 1966.
In 1958, Fred became a founding member of the John Birch Society, and also worked to make Kansas a Right to Work state. These two items are important to recognize in the thought processes of the to favorite sons, Charles and David.
One of the tenets of the John Birch Society is that “Their (liberal conspirators against the United States) tactics include bribing the people with their own money, employing the use of force, deception and fear, and using every other trick they can think of to acquire total government power over the lives and well-being of the American people….Totalitarian government was to be established in this nation, claimed Robert Welch, not as a result of lightning quick leaps, but through a campaign of patient gradualism designed to persuade a once-free people to vote themselves into tyranny and their nation into an all-powerful world government. The goal of the conspirators has always called for the eventual merger of all peoples and all nations into a diabolically conceived “new world order.” source: own Birch Blue Book This group opposed such things as membership in the United Nations. Sound familiar?
It is important to note that this was their basis for opposing any transfer payments to the poor, through anti-poverty programs, social security, medicare/medicaid, etc. Some was a reaction to the New Deal put forward by FDR. It was all based on a conspiracy theory that there were “insiders” in the seats of power. These programs were, they claimed, instituted to obtain control over all the people, strip them of their freedom by making them dependent on the government, and result in a totalitarian world order.
By the 60’s, the John Birch Society had between 60,000-100,000 members and had been condemned by both William F. Buckley Jr, and Barry Goldwater as a fringe group “removed from common sense.” However, their tenets remained with David and Charles Koch. The John Birch Society was a co-sponsor of the Conservative Political Action Conference.
David and Charles Koch remained active in politics. In 1980, he ran as the Vice Presidential candidate for the Libertarian party, thinking that their party could be molded into his views. When that ticket failed to catch on, the brothers began working with the power structure in the Republican party. They provided significant funding to a number of right wing think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation. They sponsored political donor meetings at high end resorts, such as the Freedom Partners seminars. They provided much of the funding for PACs, like American Crossroads. In addition, they recruited other business moguls to join their efforts. They also supported a number of political candidates, from the school board races in Douglas County, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, to commissioners, to state legislatures, to national offices. Among their favored political figures are Scott Walker, Mike Pence, Sam Brownbeck, Snyder, Rauner, and at one time, Kasich. Newt Gingrich was one of their golden boys until his resignation. More interesting is that they also blocked or blackballed potential candidates who would not support their agenda. They also invested in Chris Jankowski’s REDMAP, to take over state legislators in time for the post 2010 redistricting. They also developed a significant voter database that they would share with their selected candidates that could target communities and even individuals with pleas that appealed to specific voters. The information in that database is coincidentally similar to information known to be in the Cambridge Analytica database that was used by the Trump campaign after Trump won the primaries.
When the Soviet Union fell in 1991 after Desert Storm and Boris Yeltsin replaced Mikhail Gorbachev as President, the Kochs decided that with that event the Soviet Union was no longer Communist and they could do business with the new administration. In 1996, Yeltsin was reelected democratically as the head of what was now Russia, and commenced on democratic reforms. His administration was a disaster. Under his watch, many former KGB agents looted the Russian economy and cornered the assets. By 1999, Yeltsin was extremely unpopular and unwell. He resigned and personally appointed Vladimir Putin as his successor. Putin, over a short time, took control of all of the Russian assets, or gave them to his oligarch friends. One of those assets was the fossil fuel industry. Both Exxon and the Kochs began discussions of worldwide control of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels became their shared interest.
The Koch brothers, through the think tanks they support and through donations, have continued to work on down ticket issues and races. We have seen legislation in many states that restricts or makes more expensive any investment by the state or individuals in fossil fuels. We have seen the whole Koch agenda enacted in Kansas and significant parts of it in Michigan and Wisconsin, and select issues in Colorado, Arizona, Florida, and Illinois. At all levels of government from county commissioner and school board up to US Congress, candidates are beholden to Koch donations and support. The Republican Party is, to a large extent, a reflection of the Koch Brothers. However, not entirely, as I investigate in my next article, The Evangelicals.