Intentions for the Next Decade

Years ago, firmly settled into my evening routine among the stones in Sierra Leone, I painted the words providence in the wilderness on my bedroom wall. Not much an artist, I used words and phrases plucked from anywhere to decorate and inspire me. A mix of something in Malcolm X’s autobiography and Robinson Crusoe, I thought I was being philosophical.

I thought it represented my past-self’s idealized trajectory; starting with being a young, confused, but lively person in the world and maturing into someone confident, more focused, spiritually satiated, sure of things. I naïvely thought age and interestingly curated living arrangements would help me with finding that providence. The years pass and I count more grey hairs in my beard, but I feel no closer to that mythical providence in the wilderness than all those years ago.

Which isn’t to say things are bad. Things are great for me, actually. But maybe it is this dual thinking that grinds on me occasionally; that I take on too many externalities, like the state of U.S. domestic politics or global opinion on the existence of a dying biosphere, that are very much out in the wilderness for me.

So, enough with resolutions or promises. I know myself. I need better habits and routines. But since I have rarely had those, I feel more comfortable bringing a few intentions to the coming ten years.

  • Read more for pleasure, less for knowledge
  • Don’t be afraid to show yourself
  • Be mindful of spreading your general positivity too thin
  • Create something
  • Cut out distractions

Happy 2020.

Bernie Is Running, Thank God

Bernie Sanders finally announced his run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. Even in a crowded field, I think he is the right person for the task of taking down Trump.

Meagan Day had a good article on his announcement and why we should support Sanders over at Jacobin:

Some progressive voters may want to gravitate toward another candidate in the crowded field. But don’t be fooled — if you seek economic and social justice, you should support Bernie Sanders for president.

Why? Because there’s a class war raging, and Sanders is the only one running who sees it, and who wants to build working-class forces to fight back.

Day also addresses this liberal desire to endorse someone plays more identity politics:

In a race where progressivism is in vogue, his platform will be hard to run against without changing the conversation. Other candidates and their proxies will argue that Sanders can’t represent the interests of women and people of color because he’s an old white guy. But whatever the importance of symbolic representation, the social-democratic reforms Sanders proposes would do incomparably more to materially transform the lives of hundreds of millions of ordinary women and people of color.

Yes, he’s old and white. He’s also been using the same language on class, corruption, and inequality for decades. We don’t need a symbol; we need a movement. With Bernie, the vestiges of 2016 and the enthusiasm around bold progressive ideas of this election cycle can leverage his campaign to be that movement’s electoral foundation. In a video announcing his run, he asks for one million volunteers. I think the Democratic Socialists of America will endorse him sometime, and there are ~50,000 members with real grassroots organizing power.

Go, Bernie, Go.