Dear Bernie and Hillary: Transform the Democratic Party

Throughout society, Americans are held back, beaten down, and suppressed. To counter that oppression, we urge you to call on your supporters to transform the Democratic Party into an activist organization whose members fight for the Party’s platform and build precinct-based communities that serve local, unmet needs year-round.

Our society is run by individuals at all levels who aim to get as much money and power for themselves, their families, and their organizations as they can, regardless of consequences.

Most Americans struggle to survive financially and focus on trying to gain some economic security. Many live so close to the edge, one emergency can push them over. Millions who want to work can’t find a job. Millions more work but still go hungry or become homeless.

Citizens don‘t have enough voice with their government. Workers don’t have enough voice in their workplace. Students and parents don‘t have enough voice in their schools. Worshippers don‘t have enough voice in their religious institutions. Clients don’t have enough voice in their social services. Victims of police brutality don‘t have enough voice in the criminal justice system. Consumers are manipulated by incessant advertising.

Far too many people are abandoned, forsaken, locked up, or isolated with no close friends with whom they can confide about personal problems. Large numbers dull their pain with drugs or alcohol. Many are running faster without getting anywhere, taking in more information and processing it more quickly, without taking the time to listen to and understand one another. Some feel trapped. Others are drifting. Almost everyone seeks deeper meaning, wanting to make a significant difference in the world and help relieve suffering.

Afflicted with economic anxiety, people become angry and take it out on scapegoats. We indulge in personal attacks and judge others based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or some other arbitrary characteristic. We impose labels that distort reality. We fall into either/or thinking. We become dogmatic and want to win ideological battles.

Oppression damages the human spirit. The glorification of “winners” undermines the self-confidence, self-worth, self-acceptance, and self-empowerment of everyone else, who are considered “losers.” The competitive pressure to climb the social ladder weakens the ability to collaborate as equals.

The result is a divided society with divided selves who do not have the personal and collective power to threaten the status quo.

To make this nation more democratic, we need a bottom up, grassroots organization whose members help one another be all they can be and help this country live up to its ideals. The Democratic Party could be that organization, a grand coalition.

Registered Democrats elect Party leaders to local and statewide bodies, whose members elect leaders of the national Party. As such, it is democratic. But the Party focuses on elections, and merely electing Democrats is not sufficient.

Between elections the Party does little to advance its platform and engages in little or no year-round precinct organizing. Party activists who are elected to positions of power within the Party tend to defer to elected officials. Many of those activists are ambitious themselves and want to gain favor with elected leaders. Party leaders reduce members to functionaries who fit into the electoral machine.

Given the will and discipline, a unified grassroots effort can change those patterns. Staying involved with the Democratic Party throughout the year, we can empower one another in our daily lives. We can nurture vibrant, compassionate communities by getting to know our neighbors and engaging in activities like peer learning, public forums, registering voters, social events, house parties, mutual support, and environmental cleanup, as well as get-out-the-vote during elections. Party members who share that commitment might create and join a new Party caucus to advance this project. Elected officials could use their office and their campaigns as organizing tools to grow community. And in primary campaigns, Democrats could back candidates who support this effort.

So we ask you, Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders, to endorse this statement and urge your supporters to help transform the Democratic Party and this nation into compassionate communities dedicated to promoting the general welfare. When we do, all Americans will benefit.

Wade Hudson
Michael Larsen
Larry Walker

What Next, Bernie?

look downstairs into stairwell whirlThe following is the latest draft of an email that I plan to circulate widely soon. Your comments are welcome.



SUBJECT: What Next, Bernie?

To Whomever It May Concern:

You are invited to send me your ideas for “An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders” that begins:


Dear Bernie,

I urge you to make the following speech describing further steps we can take to promote the “political revolution,” whether or not you receive the nomination.


I’ll post those proposed speeches at LINK and invite everyone who’s interested to discuss what to do with them. Possibilities include:

  1. Ranking or rating the proposals.
  2. Rewriting one or more proposals.
  3. Posting a petition in support of one or more proposals.
  4. Publishing a booklet prior to the June California primary that includes one or more proposals and, perhaps, additional commentary.

The deadline for submissions is April 25, 2016. Please send submissions to <wadeATwadehudsonDOTnet>.


Wade Hudson

Daily Reflection (7)

Danger Zone

If you saw a child drowning and there was a 10% chance both of you would die if you tried to rescue the child, would you try? What if the risk were 1%? If someone were throwing children into the water one after the other, would you stop him if you could even though doing so would sacrifice the children already in the water? What if he were stronger than you and you only had a 10% chance of being able to stop him? Would you still try? What if the only way to stop him would be to kill him with a hand grenade? What if killing him also resulted in the death of two innocent bystanders?….. Concerning the Open Letter to Bernie Sanders, I’m inclined to delete any reference to building a organization and leave the question of means more open-ended. So it would read:

An Invitation to Write “An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders”

You are invited to submit to [insert recipient] by May 1, 2016 “An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders” that begins:


Dear Bernie,

Once the nominating process is resolved, whether or not you win, we, the undersigned, urge you to promote the political revolution you’ve been advocating by making the following speech.

Jason A. Samfield via / CC BY-NC-SA

Daily Reflection (6)

BernieI’m working on an invitation, which I may circulate widely, to submit an Open Letter to Bernie Sanders. The idea is that numerous such statements might be published in a booklet prior to the California primary. Also, some authors might collaborate to combine their statements into a joint communication.

I’ve already begun writing my Open Letter. The latest draft of the invitation reads:

An Invitation to Write “An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders”

You are invited to submit to [insert recipient] by May 1, 2016 “An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders” that begins:


Dear Bernie,

You’ve put important issues on the table. Now, whether or not you win the nomination, we need to organize the political revolution you’ve been promoting — that is, we need to build an organization that can stay together over time to transform this nation. Toward that end, we, the undersigned, urge you to make the following speech.

Daily Reflection (5)

jpbigmeal-articleLarge“The Director’s Note,” by Ryan Guzzo Purcell, for The Big Meal by Dan LeFranc, as produced by the American Conservatory Theater Master of Fine Arts Program of 2016 at the new Strand Theater reads:

In Molloy, Samuel Beckett says, “I begin to think, that is to say to listen harder.” It is this link between the depth of our thinking and the depth of our listening that is at the heart of Dan LeFranc’s The Big Meal. We can’t solve our problems without better thinking, and for that we need better listening.

We are being trained to listen more shallowly, to take in more information and process it as quickly as possible. Understand the sound bite and get to the point. But there’s a message behind the words that is screaming out for connection. Onstage, the difference between a character and a caricature is depth, and the same is true in life. But it’s not that people are shallow, it’s that we often don’t listen well enough to really know them. And until we really know, how can we help or change anything?

So I invite you to listen, and to enjoy the show.

Daily Reflection (4)

Julia CameronI learned early morning journal writing from Julia Cameron and her wonderful book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. She recommended spontaneous, uncsensored writing, not even worrying about spelling and grammar. With this journal, hoping that it will be of interest to readers (I do after all cherish connecting with others, for I do often feel isolated), I censor myself somewhat and review it before posting. But otherwise, I plan for it to be very spontaneous. Having recently learned that medallions are selling more slowly than I expected, I once again face the prospect of having to drive taxi until I am 80. So I really need to take care of my body, lose more weight, and lower my glucose level, which is currently 116. My doctor, who is adverse to drugs, is threatening to recommend that I take a drug if I don’t. So, on her advice, I’m switching from hot cereal for breakfast to eggs, eliminating one of my two daily fruits and substituting it with carrots, and eating garbonzo beans rather than eggs with my salad. And I’ll continue to tweak my schedule. Now that I’m driving days as I prepare to develop my Tours by Taxi business,for the first time in decades I’m setting my alarm clock daily so I can make more money. And tonight I hope to work on the treadmill at night rather than the morning. Yesterday I turned in my cover letter and resume for a job as Assistant Manager at Yellow Cab. Though I am confident I could do an excellent job, I don’t expect to get it, in which case I may send my resume to everyone on my Bay Area email list and tell them to let me know if they hear of any job openings. Hillary swept last night. Alas. I still suspect Bernie would be stronger against Trump. But who knows? If anyone is confident about such matters at this time, they likely are afflicted with arrogance. And if the Republican Party splits, even Hillary can win. But Trump is still a real threat. So I’ve begun writing “A Letter to Young Activists,” in which I plan to share my story with regard to political activism in case some young people can glean some useful lessons from it that could help them in what may prove to be a decisive moment in our history.

Daily Reflection (3)

heather_digby_parton_squareToday I am more fearful that Trump could be President.

Yesterday, Heather Digby Parton, also known as “Digby,” who won the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism, in Donald Trump is now weaponizing the conservative id: Why the escalating violence of his campaign is so frightening concluded:

It may seem obvious at the moment that Trump is creating this violent atmosphere with his incendiary rhetoric and his policies of hate and division. But if he plays his cards right, a few months down the line he might very have succeeded in muddying that reality enough to have most Republicans blaming Democrats for what he started.

On March 12, Ann Coulter tweeted: “Reagan on violent protesters, April 7, 1970: ‘If it takes a bloodbath, let’s get it over with. No more appeasement.’ Hello Ted? Mario?”

And Reagan, with that approach, won re-election as Governor of California. Should protesters move beyond, “Shut It Down,” and adopt a more nonviolent tone? I think so.

Daily Reflection (2)

DSC02030Pulling back from taxi politics and instead returning to Fellowship Church has felt good. In the face of the Trump madness and the proto-fascist threat that he represents, it is heartening to connect with my Kingian roots. Rev. Blake and I had a good discussion about the mixed bag that the “shut it down” approach presents, the service was soothing, and we had a good dialog after the Social Hour film, “Forks Over Knives,” which addresses the health problems created by a meat-based diet. The Facebook dialog I had over the weekend with Karen Dolan and her Friends after she posted a comment about the demonstrations at the Trump Chicago rally venue was also reassuring. Though initially it seemed that most of the participants there were reluctant to criticize the demonstrators who allowed themselves to be provoked to violent actions, eventually a strong consensus seemed to form that we need to cultivate greater self-discipline. One commenter called for another “Freedom Summer” focused on fostering more nonviolence, which I seconded. And today, I am reassured that the Sunday talk show hosts and participants, including Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich, all criticized Trump strongly for his incitements, while Trump refused to apologize. That refusal will probably hurt him in November if he gets the nomination. And prospects for the Republican Party to split are now even greater, which relieves my anxiety about a possible Trump presidency.

Daily Reflection

Limits to GrowthMy plan is to post here once a day by spontaneously writing for 15 minutes, quickly editing what I write, and finding a photo that reflects my mood to include in the post.  I feel a tectonic shift occurring in this country precipitated by the Trump and Sanders campaigns. That shift may well lead to an earthquake. It seems like the late 60s all over again, with one difference. This time the Mainstream Media (MSM) is giving more voice to my opinions, especially as reflected in the fact that Van Jones is a prominent commentator on CNN. Leonard Frank’s death leaves me marooned. I could always call him or get together for lunch when I needed to connect with a like-minded spirit. No one has filled the vacuum left by his death. So I write here to overcome my isolation, hoping to engage with comrades at least from time to time. My thought is to approach it like an AA meeting, with no cross-talk. I don’t expect others to respond by posting a comment and I don’t plan to respond to every comment. But feel free to post comments to share with others. Later, I may invite others to share 15-minute reflections like this.