Category Archives: Future Hope

It’s a New World?

I’m having very mixed feelings today. I have to admit that as relieved as I am that Biden/Harris are now running the country, as emotional as I couldn’t help but be watching, first, disgraced Trump leaving town and then the Presidential inauguration ceremony yesterday, I’m not getting my hopes up too high. My politics are Bernie Sanders-type politics, which at its core is a sharp critique of the massive and growing wealth inequality, the dominance of the obscenely-ultra-rich, in the US and the world, which is THE reason for so much of the suffering and unnecessary struggling of so many people, literally in the billions worldwide.

My politics are also those of the Christian church of the first century AD, as written in the book of Acts 2:44-45:  “All who believed were together and had all things in common, they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.” This was repeated in Acts 4:32: “Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they held in common.”

Those are radical words, fighting words if you’re a greedy capitalist who is determined to prevent any sharing of your wealth with the homeless, the poor, the least of these, working-class people.

These early Christian politics are not Joe Biden’s politics, for sure, but on the other hand, Joe Biden appears to be a person who takes his Christian religion very seriously, so maybe there’s something inside him that can be appealed to going forward over these next four years. And I mean that seriously.

Part of my mixed feelings today come from the new political world in which we now find ourselves. One aspect of that is a number of signs that it’s not just Trump’s time in the White House that has come to an end. It could well be that his disturbing hold on the hearts and minds of so many US Americans is rapidly eroding.

A very big example can be found in an article in today’s New York Times, “They Called Trump ‘Emperor.’ Now, He’s ‘Weak.’” The article reports on comments being made on a private internet channel by members of the Proud Boys, probably the most influential of the white supremacist militias who supported Trump. Here’s some of the quotes: “Trump will go down as a total failure”; “At least the incoming administration [Biden/Harris] is honest about their intentions”; “It really is important for us all to see how much Trump betrayed his supporters this week. We are nationalists 1st and always. Trump was just a man and as it turns out an extraordinarily weak one at the end.”

What about Biden reaching out to Republicans? In general that is understandable, but if achieving bipartisanship is more of a priority than taking action quickly to address the multiple crises of the pandemic, the economy, the climate and racial justice, that is a major problem. So far, through his Executive Actions, Biden seems to have his priorities straight.

It was so much simpler under Trump. We knew he was the enemy who had to be resisted in just about every single case, and he was such a terrible human being. Biden is a decent human being, and he is not the enemy. Biden is definitely an ally in many cases, but he is not going to be so across the board, particularly as far as militarism and the US empire with its 700 or so military bases around the world.

So is it a new world? Certainly not yet as far as on the ground realities. But it seems realistically possible that these four years could be the first part of the world-changing decade that it needs to be, that it absolutely must be for the health and survival of the planet and all of its creatures.

I believe if the Trump resistance stays in the game, doesn’t relax and “leave it to Joe and Kamala,” January 20th, 2021 will be the beginning of a new political world, a politics of justice and democracy and respect for the earth that keeps building and building until we truly have created, in full, a new world.

Ted Glick is the author of the recently-published “Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War.” More information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick

Revolution Around the Corner: a book review

From 1974 into the 1980’s I worked actively with the US Branch of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP) in support of the cause of independence for Puerto Rico. I have maintained connections to this should-be country ever since, primarily through a close friendship with a leading community activist in Vieques, a small island off the southeast coast of the main island.

Revolution Around the Corner is a special book. If you don’t know much about Puerto Rico and its relationship to the USA, there’s a lot to learn within this book. If you were active with the PSP back then this is definitely a book you should read. It’s the same if you are a progressive North American and understand that PR is a colony suffering for over 120 years under United States domination and that you have a responsibility to help free it.

But there’s another reason why this is such a valuable book. It’s one of the best books I’ve read that gives a sense of what it’s like to be part of a Left organization that has big successes for a number of years but then loses steam, members, energy and its sense of direction and ultimately disappears as an organization. Revolution Around the Corner includes the personal stories of people who were deeply affected by all of that and who, decades later, share their thinking about what went wrong.

That overall story is very relevant to all of us on the Left. It is particularly important for young people new to the movement to learn from and appreciate so that they will be able to minimize, if not prevent, destructive internal organizational/personal dynamics going forward.

For example, here’s what Alfredo Lopez, one of the US branch’s top leaders for years, said about his role: “Several of our leaders [including me] suffered from the same baseless arrogance, and this style managed to glue together coalitions that had no business existing. While I was in the party’s leadership, I told myself that these means were justified by the end. Since that time, I have come to realize that when the means are sullied by undemocratic practice, the end is never a desirable one. The demise of the PSP in this country is as much my responsibility as anyone’s.” [This assessment is based on the testimony of Carmen Vivian Rivera, a PSP leader and co-editor of the book.]

Andres Torres writes of the PSP’s serious problems with sexism: “From the party’s beginnings the role of its women members was fraught with stereotype and tradition. Leadership was heavily male dominated. The companeras were typically assigned to supportive work areas—taking minutes at meetings, providing nourishment, and so forth. They were not expected to be spokespersons or ideological leaders. The sources of this discrepancy are found in the very structure of all societies; national liberation movements are not immune to the workings of patriarchy.”

Despite these weaknesses, which ultimately led to the PSP’s downfall, the book reports on the many successes of the PSP in the 1970’s: building a mass-based and activist, socialist and independista organization in the Puerto Rican community throughout the United States; filling Madison Square Garden with 20,000 members and supporters in the fall of 1974; leading a broad July 4th Coalition in 1976 which brought out 40,000 people on that day in Philadelphia and 10,000 more on the west coast; and giving leadership to a Coalition for a People’s Alternative in 1980 which organized a Peoples Convention of thousands on Charlotte Street in the South Bronx and a march of 15,000 people to the Democratic National Convention in Madison Square Garden.

The book is a collection of 15 histories and testimonies by a variety of authors. It was put together and edited by Jose E. Velazquez, Carmen V. Rivera and Andres Torres, all PSP leaders in the 70’s. It is well done, an excellent read, lots of interesting stories, good writers, and comprehensive information from different perspectives. Revolution Around the Corner can help us turn the corner as we build towards a 21st century revolution which learns from past weaknesses and errors, a necessity if it’s going to happen. Si, se puede!

Ted Glick is the author of the recently-published “Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War.” More information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick

Trump’s Mob: An End, or a New Beginning?

Was yesterday’s pre-planned, deliberate, violent attack on the US Capitol by rabid Trump supporters the last gasp, the end, the exclamation point to Mafioso Don’s four years of infamy or, God forbid, the beginning of an assertive ultra-rightist campaign of violence and terrorism?

The fact that in two weeks there will be a Biden/Harris Justice Department that should actively investigate how this terrorist action happened and should prosecute the leaders of this dangerous white supremacist network increases the chances that this was, indeed, a “last gasp.” There should be unrelenting pressure on the Biden/Harris team to make sure that happens.

In addition, they need to immediately move to get $2000 pandemic checks to low-income, working-class and small business people and take other actions to help those struggling at this difficult time.

What happens with the weakened Republicans, no longer in control of the Senate or the White House, will also be critical. The best thing to hope for is that the divisions between the militant Trumpists and the more moderate Trumpists and the much smaller group of Trump critics in the Republican Party will continue and widen. Better, if possible, would be the emergence of a bloc, almost certainly a small bloc, which openly and actively pushes for an open disassociation between the Republicans and the racist ultra-rightists.

Then there’s the progressive Left. What is our role?

Clearly, we should support in all the ways we can initiatives to pressure the new Democratic administration to be very serious about prosecuting those responsible for yesterday’s Capitol Hill criminality. Not just those who were there who were arrested but the people who planned and led it. Think Proud Boys and their ultra-rightist comrades.

In addition, those of us on the Left who are anti-racist and of European ancestry need to resolve that we will step up our support of groups like Movement for Black Lives and, also important, step up our work within predominantly white communities and workplaces to speak out against white supremacy and other backwards thinking and actions. We should do so at the same time that we work to address economic justice and food insecurity and health care and other issues affecting white low-income and working-class people. We need to show day after day that we are concerned about all forms of inequality and injustice. Only in that way will we be able, over time, to undercut white folks’ support of people like Trump. Only then can we move white working-class people whose interests lie with working-class people of color in a progressive, time-to-take-on-the-1%-together, direction.

Ted Glick is the author of the recently-published “Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War.” More information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick

Thinking Beyond the Pandemic

Yesterday I spoke with one of my nieces and her 3 and 6 year old children via zoom. It was the first time we’ve seen each other and interacted in months. Talking about the difficulties she is having as a teacher with two young kids during the pandemic, I wondered how this pandemic will affect them and their generation, their consciousness, their view of the world, as we eventually get past it and they grow and evolve.

I don’t have any special ideas along those lines, but I do have some ideas about what can be and should be major priorities for humanity as a whole:

-A change in our relationship to the natural world: Many of us have learned that the increasing number of devastating viruses is related to the continued expansion of human society into natural areas where we have never been on a daily basis before. Doing so puts us in contact with animals which can pass on zoonotic viruses like AIDS, SARS and COVID 19. It also causes deforestation at a time when we need to be adding, not reducing, trees and natural vegetation because of the climate emergency.

A stronger and wider commitment to quality, affordable health care for all: It’s pretty basic. A healthy society is one which will make it harder for viruses to take root and spread. The US is not a very healthy society, overall, particularly for black, brown and Indigenous and low-income people, as well as in too many institutions providing elder care. Medicare for All isn’t a radical idea; it’s common sense, social defense, the logical next step once we’ve beaten this pandemic.

-Prioritizing a living wage jobs or income for all approach: Along the same lines, a healthy society is one where everyone gets enough income each year, via either a living wage job or adequate income support if unable to work, to have decent housing, healthy food, and programs that provide other needed support. And the creation of millions of new jobs building windmills and solar panels and plugging leaks in buildings is absolutely what is needed right now to solve the climate emergency.

Reforming our food system away from industrial agriculture: Tens of thousands of chickens, hogs, cattle or other animals kept together in one place is a recipe for serious problems, including increased risk of the development and spread of zoonotic viruses to humans. We need land reform that takes land away from corporate ag and distributes it to family and cooperative farms which use much healthier, environmentally sound food-growing practices.

International solidarity in support of improved lives for all: We live in an interconnected world and economy, which is why the pandemic has spread to all corners of it. There aren’t enough walls and other obstructions to prevent person-to-person contact. That is why the Covid 19 vaccine needs to be made available this year to every country for free, financed by wealth taxes, as a common sense measure. Conscious efforts need to be made to strengthen grassroots organizations that can raise people’s standards of living, including by taking on corporate profiteers trying to dominate local communities and economies for selfish and greedy purposes.

Action to slow, stop and reverse the earth’s growing population. The earth cannot provide a decent standard of living for everyone under our current system. Even under a new, people-oriented system it can’t unless there’s a reversal of the continual growth in human population. It has been shown that the best ways to reduce population are through a raising of living standards, the empowerment of women and the widespread availability of family planning services and reproductive health care.

Consciously, deliberately, and fiercely combating the Republican dogma that “government is the problem not the solution.” Ever since Reagan days over and over they’ve been repeating their official talking point: “The nine scariest words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government, I’m here to help you.'” If ever there was a right time to challenge that dogma, this pandemic crisis and the Republican/Trump failure to address it is the time to start pushing back against the ideology. (1)

We in the USA don’t need to wait for the pandemic to be defeated to begin advancing these approaches to avoiding future pandemics. Indeed, in all of these areas progressive organizations are working to advance them. The new Biden/Harris administration should support them, though they’re not going to do so as comprehensively and cleanly as they should without massive pressure from below.

Let’s make a commitment on this new year’s day that we will do all we can in the coming weeks and months to come out of this pandemic clearly pointed down this hopeful road.

(1) Thanks to Bruce Hartman for this additional point.

Ted Glick is the author of the recently-published “Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War.” More information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick

At Christmas Time, Howard Thurman and the ‘Inward Center’

This day before the worldwide celebration among Christians of Jesus of Nazareth’s birth has found me thinking about spiritual questions. I’m doing so not just because of that calendar reality; it’s because it just so happened that this was the day for me to do some work on an essay, “Does God Exist, Does It Matter,” in connection with a new book manuscript I’m in the process of finalizing.

In the latter parts of the essay, I quote from a very important but relatively unknown historical figure, Rev. Howard Thurman. Thurman was an African American minister, an author, a visionary and an active participant in the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s. He was close to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In one of his most popular books, Jesus and the Disinherited, Thurman sagely articulates how Jesus, preaching and teaching to the oppressed masses under Roman rule, “recognized fully that out of the heart are the issues of life and that no external force, however great and overwhelming, can at long last destroy a people if it does not first win the victory of the spirit against them. Jesus saw this with almighty clarity. Again and again he came back to the inner life of the individual. With increasing insight and startling accuracy he placed his finger on the ‘inward center’ as the crucial arena where the issues would determine the destiny of his people.”

In Jesus’ day, in Thurman’s time, and still today this holds true. Positive social change doesn’t happen unless growing numbers of individuals develop the inward clarity and strength to fight for justice day after day. Over time, all of this can add up to needed and even revolutionary change.

In a sermon preached in 1951 published in the book Sermons on the Parables, before the 50’s civil rights movement had burst forth, Thurman spoke very specifically to this “inward center” work in a way that all people, whether religious or not, can learn from:

“The restlessness of our age, the churning tumult of our times, the quiet frustrations and the riotous frustrations in the midst of which we live, all these surround us in the quietness, and yet we recognize the privilege of unhurried contemplation, of laying ourselves bare to the searching processes of singleness of mind, the privilege of becoming aware of needs of which we are scarcely conscious in our fevered rush, the privilege of hearing voices that need not speak above a whisper in our hearts, pointing us to the way that we should take in the midst of our own problems and responsibilities, our own hopes, and our own fears. The time of regaining of quiet. The time of searching of heart. The time of regaining of perspective. The time of lifting of hopes about ourselves and the world. The time of insight. The time of the renewal of courage.”  

Elsewhere in Sermons on the Parables he writes: “So many things of which we are not aware when we are living at a more superficial level, we become aware of in the stillness, when all the noises, the interior noises, are quieted.” 

I hope that at this special time for those who believe in the importance of the life of Jesus of Nazareth that everyone, Christian or not, will take time to reflect on Thurman’s wise and very relevant words.


Ted Glick is the author of the recently-published “Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War.” More information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick

Civil War?

I can’t remember ever hearing the two-word phrase, “civil war,” as much as I’ve heard it over the past year. Yesterday, at the latest, post-election, Trump-forever rally in downtown Washington, DC, the Washington Post reported that “podcaster David Harris, Jr. riled the crowd by suggesting if there were a civil war, ‘we’re the ones with all the guns.’”

This followed news reports that ultra-rightist Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio, the day before, “posted photos taken inside the White House gates on the conservative platform Parler, adding that he had received a ‘last minute invite to an undisclosed location.’” White House officials denied that he had met with Trump or anyone else.

Is it realistic that Trump would have such a meeting? I’d say yes, given his desperation after all of the Supreme Court justices, including the three he appointed, summarily dismissed his latest loser lawsuit, clearing the way for the Electoral College tomorrow to officially elect Biden/Harris.

A desperate, anti-democratic, authoritarian, narcissistic, emotionally-depressed would-be dictator, with nowhere else to turn, could turn to extra-legal, extra-parliamentary action.

After all, in the months leading up to the November 3 election, he repeatedly and consistently declared that the elections were rigged. He called upon his supporters on election day to jam up polling sites. At the September 29th Presidential debate he said, “I am urging my supporters to go into the polls and watch very carefully, because that’s what has to happen. I am urging them to do it.”

Did any of this happen on November 3? Apparently very little, if any. If it did it sure hasn’t been reported anywhere that I’ve seen, and you’d think it would be.

The fact is that for all of Trump’s bluster and bombast, for all the tens of millions of people who voted for him, the fact is that the November 3 election, held during pandemic times, was possibly the fairest, most transparent and most successful Presidential election ever. Masses of people were willing to vote for Trump, and to turn out for his rallies, but the evidence so far indicates that the percentage of those supporters willing to go beyond that is very small.

This is a critical point when it comes to the question of “civil war.”

Is the country very divided ideologically? Yes, although there’s a definite majority of voters, 51-47%, who support a center-left orientation.

Has Trump inflamed and hardened those divisions? Yes.

Is it therefore more possible than in the past that those divisions could lead to increased physical attacks on the Left and others by ultra-rightist, armed militias? Yes, but what the new Biden/Harris administration does about them is very key. If the federal government, acting via the FBI and the Justice Department, is willing to investigate and prosecute groups doing so, similar to what was done this summer when a plot to kidnap and kill Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was discovered, it seems to me that this will definitely tamp down the domestic terrorism threat.

But more than this is necessary. What is needed is for a Biden/Harris administration to move to seriously enact policies on a wide range of issues that clearly and unmistakably are intended to improve the lives of working class people of all races and nationalities, urban, suburban and rural. There must be a willingness to take on the billionaire class and the deep-seated economic inequality that disproportionately affects people of color but affects people of all colors and cultures. We need Green New Deal-type initiatives and just transition policies that create jobs in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors for the currently un- and underemployed and for workers displaced from a shrinking fossil fuel industry. We need a wealth tax on the 1% and shifting money from the military budget to programs that benefit working people.

In many ways, this is the harder work, given Biden’s historic ties to transnational corporations and the influence of the 1% over the dominant forces in the Democratic Party.

The Left must work with the Biden/Harris administration, but it must also be willing to speak up and bring pressure, including public pressure via action in the streets, nonviolent direct action, hunger strikes and more for a genuine people’s program. It is not an extreme statement to say that to the extent this does not happen, to that extent will popular disillusionment grow, the Trumpublicans be given political openings and the armed rightist militias be empowered and grow.

Let’s work to support Democrats Warnock and Ossoff in Georgia January 5 as we keep building a unified, grassroots-based, issue-oriented people’s movement, the prerequisite for forward progress after our historic defeat of Trump.

Ted Glick is the author of the recently-published “Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War.” More information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick

FERC Into FREC

There are many aspects to a successful energy revolution that moves human society off of fossil fuels and onto a genuinely clean, just, and jobs-creating renewable energy path. But there’s at least one indispensable aspect: the electrification of our energy system.

We can’t keep burning polluting coal, oil and/or gas to access the power which fuels our transportation vehicles, provides for heat in the winter and cooler air in the summer, and allows us to use electricity for all of our many devices, appliances and other power-using inventions. We must make a shift to getting all, or almost all, of that power from electricity generated by non-polluting energy sources like wind and solar.

Fortunately, the world is clearly on this path, if still with a ways to go on the journey. Unfortunately, as we have seen over the past four years in the USA, if people like Trump are in charge, this transition can be slowed down and gummed up. It can’t be stopped; there’s too much momentum, and for not just environmental but for economic reasons. Wind and solar and possibly other clean technologies are a better deal economically than fossil fuels. But the transition can be slowed down, and that is a huge problem since we’re already so far behind where we need to be because of the fossil fuel industry’s continuing, if decreasing, political power.

That is why the campaign to transform FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, into FREC, our Federal Renewable Energy Commission, is so timely and strategic.

This campaign was initiated last year by Beyond Extreme Energy and has been signed onto so far by 236 organizations, Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and others. A 13 minute, well-received video, FERC Into FREC, was produced and released earlier this year, and this fall BXE began to circulate a nine-page Legislative Proposal to House and Senate offices with specific ideas on what a new FREC would look like and how it would function. We’ve been pleased by the response we’re getting.

There is historic precedent for Congress taking this step. In 1935 Congress transformed the Federal Power Commission, created in the 1920’s, into an independent regulatory agency. It was authorized to regulate both hydropower and interstate electricity. In 1977 the FPC was renamed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as an independent agency within the newly-created Department of Energy. Its primary mandate was to regulate the electricity grid. Since then its responsibilities have expanded, including that of making decisions about the expansion of the “natural” gas industry, today a primarily fracked gas industry.

Today, in 2020, its time for the former FPC, now FERC, to be transformed into the 21st century, renewables first, transparent and community-involving electricity regulatory agency we need. As part of the Green New Deal, we need a new FREC.

BXE has identified five central points that we see as essential for a new FREC to be what the times call for:

-Commissioners of FREC must be champions of renewable energy and free of conflicts of interest.
-FREC would be funded through appropriations, not industry fees which encourage corruption.
-FREC would actively seek input and involvement from environmental justice communities, Indigenous, people of color and low-income, which have historically and disproportionately suffered most from fossil fuel operations
-FREC would actively promote community involvement in decision-making as a new electrical grid is built based on renewables with storage
-There would no longer be any eminent domain for private gain, no tolling, no forcing landowners into court as standard operating policy.

There is little doubt that changes are coming for FERC. It is no longer an out-of-the-public-eye, industry-controlled agency rubber-stamping virtually every single gas industry permit for expansion the industry applies for. Earlier this year the House Committee on Oversight and Reform released a report revealing that over the last 20 years, FERC has approved 1,021 gas industry permit applications and rejected no more than six. And the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, set up by Nancy Pelosi last year, put forward 40 pages of proposals for FERC reform in its 547 page document released this summer.

BXE believes that many of these reforms would be an improvement, but the fact is that FERC’s historic connections to the fossil fuel industry are wide and deep. News stories have reported on the revolving door for FERC staff and leadership with industry. We just cannot trust it.

This is true even if, under Joe Biden’s Presidency, he appoints, as is likely, the sole, current Democratic commissioner, Richard Glick, as a new Chairperson. It will be true even if, come next summer, it will be possible for there to be three Democratic and two Republican commissioners, as distinct from the Republican numerical dominance that has been the case under Trump. Over those 20 years of gas industry permit rubber stamping by FERC, there were many years when Democratic commissioners were in the majority.

But what if a Richard Glick-led Democratic majority takes a different course, makes a genuine effort to change FERC from the inside? That would be an improvement, but as long as FERC’s mission in relation to renewable energy is ambiguous, as is true right now; as long as FERC leadership can be deeply immersed in fossil fuel industry connections; and as long as, come 2024, a new Republican President could be elected who can jam things up the way that Trump did, we cannot expect FERC to be what is needed. We need a new FREC with a clear, Congressionally mandated mission to give leadership in the urgent, fossil-fuels-to-renewables transition and a FREC leadership that is actually committed to doing that. We need to dismantle FERC and replace it with a Federal Renewable Energy Commission.


Ted Glick is a volunteer organizer with Beyond Extreme Energy, He is the author of the recently-published “Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War.” More information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick

Want USA Unity? Go Solar and Wind!

“When asked about whether the US should prioritize developing wind and solar energy or expanding oil, natural gas, and coal, 79 percent chose renewables. That’s considerably higher than Pew’s polls from just a few years ago. That number is partly due to strengthening support among Democrats, but it’s also the result of growth among Republicans in the last few years—65 percent of whom chose renewables.”    https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/06/us-poll-shows-broad-support-for-renewables-climate-measures/

Many political commentators on TV are talking about the need for President-Elect Joe Biden to unify Americans after four years of deliberately-created disunity by Donald Trump. Biden himself made this one of his main closing arguments down the stretch. And there’s no question that this is something desirable and desired by a majority of the country.

I see two major issues around which unity in action can be built right now. One is the pandemic. The other is renewable energy, particularly wind and solar.

I’ve been a climate activist since 2003. Over that time, I’ve consistently seen polling showing wind and solar having broad tri-partisan support, from Democrats (the most), Independents (next) and Republicans (over 50%). Looking through my email files, I found a Center for American Progress report from 2009, soon after Obama and Biden were elected President and Vice-President, which said that “76 percent of respondents agreed that ‘America’s economic future requires a transformation away from oil, gas and coal to renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.’”

A rapid acceleration of wind and solar isn’t just good for our destabilizing climate. It’s also a job creator, millions of socially-valuable, potentially union jobs. And it is also good for people’s health, reducing and ultimately removing the dirty pollution of our air, water and land that comes with fossil fuel production and burning. This is particularly good for low-income and people of color communities, which are disproportionately the location of the infrastructure of those polluting industries.

I’m a big supporter of a Green New Deal, a mix of pieces of legislation that can do great things for the people of this country, particularly those in most need of steady work at a living wage as well as those working in the fossil fuel industry who can transition into good jobs in the renewables and energy efficiency sectors. A Biden/Harris/Democratic initiative right out of the gate in January for a massive investment to accelerate the expansion of wind and solar energy would be just what we need to unite the country and point the way forward.

Ted Glick just completed a month-long Fast to Defeat Trump from October 3 to November 3. He is the author of the recently-published “Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War.” More information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick

Day 31 of Fast to Defeat Trump

About three weeks ago, around day 10 of my current fast, I was interviewed by Josh Fox for his show on The Young Turks network. At one point he asked me what the difference was between a hunger strike and a fast, after I had used them pretty much interchangeably. I said that a hunger strike was more political, issue-oriented; a fast had more of a spiritual dimension to it, even if it was also political.

I’ve increasingly called this “Fast to Defeat Trump” a hunger strike as it has gone on, now in its next to last day. I’ve called it that in large part because it has not been a very “spiritual” experience for me, as distinct from most of the other long fasts I’ve done. I remember, for example, while fasting in Brooklyn, NY back in the 70’s feeling a real sense of connection to other people and to other living things in what can only be described as a “spiritual” way. I really could identify with Gandhi’s statement that “fasting is the sincerest form of prayer.”

Yesterday, while making get-out-the-vote phone calls to Georgia and Florida, I spoke to someone in Georgia who choked me up and made me think about this issue. He was an elderly African American man, a military veteran. When I asked him if he had voted for Biden he said yes, and when I asked him if he was talking up voting with other people he said, yes, that he lived in a retirement community and he and others had gone on buses to do early voting, and they were always talking about the election. He went on to say, “I’ve voted and talked to people and as far as myself, all I can do is pray and put it in God’s hands.”

I sputtered my thanks and appreciation through my choked-up voice and hung up, and then shed some tears. I think in part it was an emotional release from all the anxiety and tension that it is impossible not to feel right now. But maybe it was more. If I believed in such things, I’d wonder if this man was an angel telling me to “relax, God is in charge.”

I believe in a higher power in the universe, what I call The Great, Unknown, Creative Force That Rules the Universe, or the Great Spirit in short. I very much identify with the Native American approach to spirituality. On my wall I have a sentence I once read referencing that approach: “Every step was a prayer of thanksgiving.”

It is difficult to comprehend a loving “God” foisting devil Trump upon the world for another four years as President. Of course, “God” doesn’t work like that. The Great Spirit works through human beings and all of the various mysterious and unknown processes that keep the universe evolving and the world spinning on its axis, creating and sustaining life, advancing humanity, hopefully, toward a world truly based upon love in all of its best manifestations.

The Great Mystery of life unfolds through the thoughts and actions of each of us as individuals, no other way. And it will do so no matter what the results of this critical, oh so critical, election. I pray that we, the people, the multi-racial rainbow people, will see the victory the world needs so, so much.

Ted Glick is currently on a month-long Fast to Defeat Trump until November 3. He is the author of the recently-published “Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War.” More information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick

Historic Voter Turnout, Historic Trump Defeat?

I’ve decided to switch from a water-only to a liquids fast. Here’s why:

In national elections past, the key to Democrats defeating Republicans has been voter turnout. If there is a big one, Democrats are likely to win, overall, whether it be for President and Congressional seats or, in off year elections, just for Congress.

Is there any reason to think it will be any different this year? It doesn’t seem likely to me.

All indications are that Trump’s hard-core base of about a third of the population is very enthusiastic about returning Super-Spreader Don to the White House, and the Trump campaign has registered hundreds of thousands of new voters, perhaps more. Those are two things in Trump’s favor as far as turnout.

But Trump has been doing all he can to depress voting by mail, something which is much more widespread this year because of the pandemic, So when it is reported that just about 70 million people, as of this morning, have early voted nationally, either by mail or in person, which is more than half of the 139 million people voting in 2016, and there’s still six days until election day, it’s reasonable to expect that many of these early voters are Democrats. And they are, with the biggest news being what’s happening in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania. There, more than three times as many of the early voters are Democrats as compared to Republicans.

According to the Washington Post, in 16 of the 19 states that provide data, Democrats are ahead.

Then there’s the Institute of Politics at Harvard’s Kennedy School poll which found that 63% of voters 18 to 29 intend to vote. If true, that would be 16 percentage points higher than the youth vote in 2016. And that poll found that Biden was favored among that constituency by a 63 to 25 percent margin.

And finally, there’s Black voter turnout, which is big, as this CNN story reports: “By Tuesday, more than 601,000 Black Americans had voted early in Georgia compared with about 286,240 two weeks before the 2016 election. In Maryland, about 192,775 had voted compared with 18,430. And California had over 303,145 — up from more than 106,360 two weeks before the election four years ago. That’s according to Catalist, a data company that provides analytics to Democrats, academics and progressive advocacy organizations.”

These are absolutely huge developments. The best defense against attempted voter suppression and Trump election-stealing before, during and after November 3 is exactly what is happening, a massive turnout of people of color, women, young people, progressives, workers and the majority of the population who reject what Trump and the Trumpublicans are all about.

But we can’t let up. The larger the vote for Biden, the stronger the mandate will be post-election for the kinds of progressive action so desperately needed right now. And a big turnout means more down-ballot victories for progressives and liberals, from the Senate down to very local races.

If you’re not already involved in voter turnout work in the battleground states, there’s still time to take part in these last six days. Some of the national groups I know which are doing good work are the Biden campaign, Indivisible, Our Revolution and Peoples Action.

After doing this work in September, I had to stop once I began my month-long, water-only Fast to Defeat Trump on October 3, not having the energy for phone-calling or writing letters/post cards. But I’ve decided that the best contribution I can make in these last six days is to get personally involved in the phone calling, so later today I will shift from water-only to a liquid fast, drinking fruit and vegetable liquids. I’ll begin getting the nourishment I need for the last six days ‘til election day, the last six days of my fast, to keep building the turnout momentum.

The people are rising, and there ain’t no power like the power of the people in motion and standing up. Let’s defeat Trump bad!

Ted Glick is currently on a month-long Fast to Defeat Trump until November 3. He is the author of the recently-published “Burglar for Peace: Lessons Learned in the Catholic Left’s Resistance to the Vietnam War.” More information can be found at https://tedglick.com, and he can be followed on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jtglick