So, if you’ve managed to find this page. I’m going to assume that you’re one of the those who know me or at least knows of me. If, through some miracle of cyberspace, you landed on this page by accident, here is a brief biography. My name is brother terry. I am a crime writer of dubious talent, a poet who can’t memorize my own poems and an activist for social justice. You can find my books elsewhere on this page. I am also what you might call a seeker.
I have been seeking since I joined the Marine Corps through an accident of boredom many years ago. Back then I had no real knowledge of people, politics or government. I believe in freedom of choice. I don’t like the choices we have been given.
I am a community organizer. That is what I do. A lot of people scoffed and jeered when President Obama’s resume was flashed before the 2008 election. It made me angry. Community organizing is hard work. The vast majority of people out there do not want to be bothered. They would much rather go about their lives wondering where that extra one hundred dollars is going to come from to pay for the medication or buy the presents at Christmas. They would much rather watch their Fox News or their MSNBC or CNN and get their ideals colored through red or blue-tinted lenses. There is no real unbiased news any more. Even the ideas that I am distilling at the door are colored by the organization that I represent. With that being said, here is the list of things that drive me to this work.
1. The end of all wars. There is no justification for taking another human life. Ever.
2. Affordable health care for all. A person should never be forced to make a decision between going to the doctor, paying for their medication or buying groceries. The single payer system is ideal. It takes the onus off of the employer and is far more affordable across the board. You will not see a citizen paying as much as half of their salary for coverage. I see that every night in my travels.
3. A quality education for all kids. America is faltering and falling behind countries that have far fewer resources. I believe that we have some of the finest minds in the world and that we should be applying them to come up with educational solutions that don’t break the bank. Example: every single elementary school in America should have a functioning garden and an energy lab at their disposal. (Energy lab = a working example of the wonders of natural renewable energy. Think wind, sun and water in one outdoor lab.)
4. Equality. All persons in America should be afforded equal rights under the law. Common Law Marriage should become an option for all people with corresponding rights for all benefits currently guaranteed to “married couples.” Reminder: All marriages are civil unions in the eyes of the government. That’s why you have to get a license.
5. Abolishing the Electoral College. It was a great idea in 1811. Not so much in 2011. Democracy = 1 citizen, 1 vote.
6. Create an energy policy that doesn’t destroy the planet. This is the partisan battle that really paints the picture of our bi-polar country. I am in the middle on this one. I believe in renewable energy resources, but I understand that most are not cost-effective at this time. I understand the perceived necessity of “drill, baby, drill” but see the dangers of super-polluting our planet with hydro-fracking and tar sand removal. If energy companies want to use these resources they should first find a way to clean up after themselves. They should be held accountable for every gallon of pollution that they willfully create. The common argument of the far right is “I don’t want my grandkids saddled with this debt.” My answer is, “But you do want to saddle them with vast ranges of land that are ruined and unlivable?” As long as we insist on tax policies that create no new revenue, this is the choice that we are making.
7. Fixing the tax code. It is obvious to everyone that the tax code is broken. I support a change to the fair-tax or consumer tax systems. Neither of these is likely any time soon. In the meantime, the common sense solution is to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire and raise the corporate tax rate. Then we can can attach tax relief for creating American jobs and buying American Products. By doing so, the rich and the corporations will be incentivized to pour these tax dollars back into their businesses in the form of hiring and infrastructure. After all, would you rather pay a million dollars in taxes or use that million dollars to create new wages and facilities? I know what I would do.
8. Food justice. I have a challenge for you. Take a trip to wherever you local downtown is and do some people watching. Do you notice anything? I’ll bet you notice that we are fat. It is because we are being force-fed a variety of unhealthy foods almost from birth. Over the last forty years food processing has become big business. The family farm has vanished. Seed companies have monopolized land, resources and shelf space in our local markets. Additives like high fructose corn syrup and monosodium glutamate have become the addictions of out generation. We need to get back to growing and cooking real food that is nutritious and non-toxic. Not only will we be healthier, but maybe we can bring back the family meal. Who is hungry? I know I am.