We are living in a time of miracles and wonder
Don’t cry baby, don’t cry
It was a dry wind and it swept across the desert and it curled into the circle of birth
and the dead sand falling on the children and the mothers and the fathers
— Paul Simon
Our world is being shaken by protest, resistance, and repression that we have not experienced since 1968 or 1936, or the late 19th century. It is too much for any of us to assimilate at once, so I recommend that everyone set aside their pre-existing assumptions, and for starters, read every story in The New York Times everyday, or I might say read between the lines. Facebook and Twitter are not enough. I have read the daily Times for 50 years, from the days when it promoted the Vietnam War to its disclosure of the Pentagon Papers in 1971, from its catering to climate deniers to its virtual war against them in recent years. If you have time, read Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein, but start your day by carefully reading through the Times.
This is the new generation’s moment in history.
We are entering a tumbling vortex. We are entering the pre-post-Obama era with the president having about 400 days left in office. We are entering the pre-post-Jerry Brown era, with a new governor’s election already underway. Pope Francis, at the height of his power, is 79 years old. In Latin American many oligarchs and generals are passing from their pedestals as we enter the pre-post-Castro era with President Raul Castro departing in 2018.
We must calculate how best to lock in and build on the achievements of our movements over the last decade, including the historic decision by Shell to end its Arctic drilling. We cannot afford any loss to the gas-guzzling Republicans or servile, faltering Democrats, as happened when Reagan took office after Jimmy Carter and installed a right-wing fundamentalist, James Watt, as secretary of the interior, or when the Republican party drove Al Gore out of office on the fifth Supreme Court vote by Sandra Day O’Connor. It’s good to see more boldness and more unity among Senate Democrats these days, including Senator Maria Cantwell up in Washington state. Senate seats can be won in 2016 if we avoid repeating the debacle of division that happened in Colorado last time.
My heart is with Bernie Sanders at this point, and especially with the growth of a progressive bloc of Democrats led by the Elizabeth Warren, Sherrod Brown and Bill de Blasio. I can say that Joe Biden’s team is certainly planning to run. I worry about Hillary’s chances.
In California, the next governor and state senate must follow the positive historic precedents set by Jerry Brown and Senator Kevin de León on carbon reductions and environmental justice. In California the oil companies remain extremely powerful by funding opportunistic candidates claiming to create jobs—in Kern County where there already are 62,000 immigrant workers, where poverty and pollution and cancer and birth defects continue to be the legacy of exploitation.