No matter the outcome of this “Super Tuesday”, I am inspired by the energy spent by youth voters on the Bernie Sanders campaign. The Democratic and Republican parties cannot and will not speak to the issues of the Millenial Generation, and Sander’s choice to run his campaign within the confines of the Democratic Party stifled his ability to end up on the presidential ballot. I realized the organizing power of the Millenial Generation during my participation in the “Occupy Maine” movement from 2011-2013, where I met many informed and passionate peers. Millenial issues such as economic and racial inequality, employment, student debt, and pollution will not be addressed by the status quo of the two major parties.
As a generation, we need to unite against “left and right”, and “conservative and progressive” labels. Conservative to what end? I want to conserve natural resources- our air and water- and believe in the power of self-determination. I want to bring our war dollars home to repair and improve our infrastructure through fixed roads and solar and wind technology built by Americans to make the United States energy independent. How are Millenial voters “progressive”? Are we progressing to a world run by drones and supercomputers, or are we progressing to a humanist future where we uplift other humans out of poverty and disease?
I am really excited to built coalitions of young people from all different backgrounds and opinions. For young people facing a bleak future, desire to act for the common good is better than apathy any day. The unification of the Millenial movement began with Occupy and continues through the Sanders campaign. Millenials will have to keep the activist momentum going through community organizing and local control to fill the void left (foolishly) by the Democratic Party.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking as a guest on Steve Woods’ Tidesmart Radio show. I love interviews, and hope to start appearing as a guest on more radio shows and podcasts. You can listen to the interview here:
Let me know what you think!
Click here to read the article
With the success of the Tuesday, June 11 “Yes on One” vote in Portland, my commitment to improving and expanding public parks has been affirmed. I first understood the need to maintain and utilize our parks during the Occupy Maine movement in Portland in 2011. I remembered when Occupy Maine started hosting “General Assembly” meetings at Congress Square Park in early 2012 when the rumor circulated that the park could be sold to Rockbridge Capital and the Westin.
After Occupy, I decided to run for Portland School Board and was elected to represent district two. To my delight, this year I was appointed onto the “Mayor’s Initiative for Healthy Sustainable Food Systems Committee”. During one recent meeting, it was mentioned that the waiting list for a community garden plot in Portland was about three years long!
While walking through Boston a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon over 500 community garden plots which were originally “Victory Gardens” started during WWII. While no one can deny that our precious parks are neglected and often underutilized, it occurred to me while visiting the Fenway gardens that Portland needs “Victory Gardens” too. Instead of relying upon the City and our dissolved Parks department, we could have our own citizenry growing more food and flowers and spending time with their families in our parks.
Despite the June 11 vote, the future of Congress Square Park is still uncertain. We need stewardship of our parks by the people, and radically expanding our community garden plots and creating “Victory Gardens” is an economical and common sense way to instantly beautify and sustain our community spaces.
As a recent article in “The Nation” suggests, Mainers are ready for a real challenge against Susan Collins as she faces her third reelection (“Senator Collins is the Barrier to Transparency, Accountability on Drones” http://www.thenation.com/blog/177342/senator-susan-collins-barrier-transparency-accountability-drones#).
Two women are vying for a Maine seat in the U.S. Congress, and both have very different opinions about drone warfare. Women in politics are often accused of being “too soft”, and like Susan Collins and Hilary Clinton, decide to take a “hawkish” attitude toward all military actions. Collins has continually voted to keep troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. While Americans are struggling in the “Great Recession”, half of our FY budget is approved for the Pentagon every year.
Holding the seat in Congress since 1997, incumbent Susan Collins has supported several ongoing wars, surveillance of Americans, and drone strikes upon our own people. Collins has continually supported the “Patriot Act”, which goes down as one of the most embarrassing and undemocratic acts passed in US history. More recently, she has come under pressure after she voted against legislation that would require the government to report on the number of civilians killed by drone strikes. For years now, the US has been launching drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and other countries around the world.
While with the ACLU, Shenna Bellows worked to support legislation in Maine that would have banned law enforcement agencies from using drones for surveillance unless they had a search warrant. If Bellows wishes to win the seat from Collins in 2014, her campaign must rail against Collins’ strong support of the Military Industrial Complex. Bellows’ history in the ACLU is in perfect contrast to Collins’ support of never-ending wars and the deaths of innocent children to US drone strikes. Challenging a long-time incumbent can be difficult. To defeat Collins, the Bellows campaign needs look no further than to expose Collins’ unbridled support of all things war.