By Kate Clinton on September 07, 2012

If Sarah Palin asks again, I’m doing pretty good with “that hopey changey thing.” I watched the Democratic Convention on CSPAN with USOpen breaks, except on opening night of football and that night there was some partisan bickering for clicker dominance.

The Dems threw a good convention. After the White Party the GOP threw in Tampa, it was a relief to see a rainbow of diversity on stage and in the house in Charlotte. The first night I was proud of MA guv Deval Patrick challenging the Dems to grow a backbone. San Antonio Mayor Castro shone, and was simultaneously outshone by his four-year old daughter checking her hair in the jumbo-trons. Michele Obama dazzled in brocade and performance. It was a pleasure to see how she has grown into her role.

On the second night the women shone – Planned Parenthood and NARAL were well-represented - and then former prez Bill Clinton, the S’plainer-in-Chief, took his sweet Bubba-Elvis time rebutting the GOP Tampons and rocked the house. I’m getting closer to forgiving him for DADT, DOMA and NAFTA. I’m not there yet.

Gabby Gifford opened the last night and VP Joe Biden and Prez Barack Obama again framed the choice we have on election day. All the balloons had been used in Tampa so there was just lots of confetti but I could still see that Timothy Cardinal Dolan giving the amen sendoff. Really? Why not Rick Warren again?

Mitt Romney says the party is over and today is the hangover.

He is such a prissy little buzzkill. Has he ever even had a hangover? Maybe he was over-served soft vanilla ice cream, but otherwise, no.

It’s sixty days to the election. Sixty days of Candy Crowley and Gwen Ifill patiently checking in with undecided voters. Ugh. I hate them more than beets. I’m not proud of it. Who are they? Rejects from Big Brother? Attention starved middle children? If I were Candy or Gwen, I’d put the squeeze on them, “Oh come on. Don’t be coy. I’ll say a name, you nod.”

Reminds me of David Sedaris’ hilarious analysis of undecideds. It would be as if you were on a plane and the flight attendant described your meal options as chicken or dog excrement. The undecided voter would ask, “Is the chicken boneless?”

I am a decided voter. I believe in change and hope and know, from my experience in the LGBT movement, that it takes time. We were well-represented in the Dem convention and in the platform. They forgot god, but they got us in! Coolio. In Tampa the GOP LGBTs thought it was progress that they didn’t get yelled at from the podium.

Count me in with Forward. As Clint Eastwood said in the GM ad, not to the empty chair, “It’s half-time in America. We’re about to start the second half.”

And it’s no time to switch quarterbacks. If you are somehow undecided, while you’re making up your mind, for hope and change, send money to Tammy Baldwin running for Senate in Wisconsin. Or to Elizabeth Warren in MA.

If you liked this article by Kate Clinton, a columnist for The Progressive magazine, check out some of her other pieces by clicking here.

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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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