A Love Supreme

I’ve long made it a policy of this blog to avoid political discussions, believing that we needed to unify folks under a big tent of growing food, keeping livestock and learning to cook from scratch. But in recent years, all around the world, we have collectively slipped into a dangerous crisis I can not longer be silent about.

The neoliberal order has crumbled. Populist, authoritarian leaders such as Trump, Bolsonaro and Johnson have ascended to power. Here in the U.S., nearly everyone I know, including myself, can’t seem to turn our attention away from Trump’s siren call of attention getting antics and late night twitter screeds. Concurrently, interest in urban homesteading has waned. It’s almost as if you have to lash yourself to the mast not to wake up with Trump so much on your mind that you forget to let out the hens.

Over the Christmas break we joined 15,000 of our fellow Angelinos at a Bernie Sander’s rally at Venice Beach. It was a beautiful, cool and sunny winter day. We stood with the ocean at our back and a magnificent view of the mountains that surround our city. After a few warm-up speakers and music, surprise guest Dr. Cornell West ascended the stage. Quoting Sly and the Family Stone West said that it was time to take a stand, “You’ve been sitting much too long/There’s a permanent crease in your right and wrong.” Invoking a long list of brave Americans who took a stand, including Martin Luther King and Dorothy Day he noted that “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Then he introduced Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and, as the crowd went wild, I felt an energy and solidarity that I never thought I’d live to see.

As a long time attendee of lost-cause leftist events I’m used to a scattered message, marginal ideas, anger and disappointment. Not at this rally. Everyone was unified behind Dr. West’s message of a “love supreme.” There were people of all races and ages at the rally (though it skewed young). The rally looked like a cross-section of this diverse city. People were happy and positive. Ocasio-Cortez said “One of the things that makes this campaign different is that we know we can’t go back to the way things were before. Because the way things were before is how we got to where we are now.”

The rally, without exaggeration, was a life changing event for me. This is why I’m joining with our friend, climate scientist Peter Kalmus, in endorsing Bernie Sanders. I respectfully ask all of you who live in the U.S. to consider his policies and to vote for Bernie Sanders in your state. I believe that we all need to act on the household level and the community level and the national level and the global level. Yes we need to take personal actions, but those personal actions alone won’t get us out of the crisis we are in. Especially when it comes to climate change we need, radical, immediate action at the national and international level. The time for moderate, measured change has long since past. Electing Bernie Sanders is not an end but a beginning. If he gets into office the struggle will be even more difficult than taking on a few corrupt, corporate Democrats.

Be wary of the mainstream media’s treatment of Sanders. The Los Angeles Times did not even bother to show up to the Sanders rally. When Joe Biden came and spoke to less than 100 people at LA Trade Tech back in November the LA Times deemed it worthy of attention.

I struggled to find any wide shots of the Biden LA rally but couldn’t find any. It’s an exercise in how photographs lie. Frame a candidate tightly and it looks like there’s a lot of people. For contrast, here’s what the Sanders rally looked like from where Kelly and I stood:

In the coming months, as the oligarchs who run this country begin to freak out at the rise of a popular left, I predict that the mainstream media will throw everything they can at Sanders. They will call him an anti-Semite, a misogynist and worse. The Democratic party establishment and their friends in the media will do everything they can to prevent Sanders from winning. I’ve seen, at the local level, how this same establishment does the bidding of powerful interests–here in LA that’s Hollywood and real estate developers.

I’m also sticking my neck out because I’ve seen some in the urban homesteading movement drift towards what I’d call a fascist and/or alt-right adjacent ideology and I want to distance myself from that contingent. More on that in another post. I believe that the way we treat the environment, our bodies and our households is on a continuum with the way we take care of all people. Everyone has a right to health care, housing and education. For the sake of future generations we need to join with Dr. West, AOC and Bernie Sanders in seeking immediate and radical change based on love for each other and for all creation.

Leave a comment


  1. Bravo! Thanks for being bold and talking about the real problems. This has been a very troubling decade run by big corps/money and the fear they project. I just hope and pray that we can turn things around.

  2. Still feelin’ the BERN. I honestly think the combo of him and EW is what will beat Drumpf. He’s got my vote and I’m seeing what you are as well, people willing to stand up TOGETHER and save this country.

  3. I hear you, and I’m almost convinced. My only real concerns about Bernie are his age and health, given his recent heart problems. Of course, several of the other Democratic candidates would also qualify for Social Security–not to mention Voldemort in the White House. (Personally, I keep hoping DJT will eat one Big Mac too many one of these days. And no one has ever satisfactorily explained that recent visit of his to Walter Reed a while back.)

  4. I like Bernie, too. And I hope the primary skews way left (for America. Just for reference, Elizabeth Warren would be a centrist here in Europe.) But please, please people, in November… get out and vote for whoever gets the Democratic nomination. I don’t care if the nominee is an actual primate. It’d still do better than Trump. (3 monkeys banging on keyboards, and all that…)

    • I agree. To be clear I will vote for whichever Democrat gets the nomination. Elizabeth Warren is my second choice and if Sanders doesn’t win I hope she is the one who gets the nomination.

    • I’m certainly not going to turn Root Simple into a political blog as that’s not my specialty and there are plenty of other places to hear about politics. But I won’t go out of my way to avoid saying what I feel needs to be said especially when it comes to climate change, which intersects with so many of the issues we cover on this platform.

  5. Please do reconsider not talking about politics. And especially about love. Your comment about the “knuckle-draggers in flyover country” in your section on quick breads is highly offensive. It’s been there for years. Not much loving going on there. I chose to overlook it until now. Friendly reminder: We have internet connections out here.

    If this blog is headed down the politics and culture wars rabbit hole, this regular reader is gone.

    • Ditto ditto here from Ohio. Also, I am confused about the comment referring to the fascist/alt-right ideology you say you’re seeing in the homesteading movement. Does this mean that anyone who is not with you (and Bernie) is against you? Please, please leave these contentious comments out of your otherwise excellent blog.

    • The ideology I’ve seen does not have anything to do with Sanders. I’ll elaborate in another post or, perhaps, on a podcast. I’ll just say that a misanthropic ideology, coming out of a valid concern about resource limits, sometimes evolves into a search for scapegoats. More, when I have more time to think about what needs to be said.

    • In the early days of this blog I did mention politics but in a way that was snarky and offensive. As to that stupid post of mine from 2007 I’ve decided to leave it in place and post this apology: This is an incredibly offensive and stupid remark. I apologize. It’s the worst kind of cheap humor. It’s a humor not based on experience but, instead, just making fun of other people based on where they live. It smacks of classism and elitism. Know that I have evolved and am truly sorry.

  6. Amen! An important read is — On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, by Timothy Snyder.

    Although Longfellow took liberties with history in his poem, Paul Revere’s Ride, the last six lines in the last stanza of the poem hold an important message for today.

    Keep up the good work!

    • Thank you Cindy for pointing out these lines from the poem:

      So through the night rode Paul Revere;
      And so through the night went his cry of alarm
      To every Middlesex village and farm,—
      A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
      A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
      And a word that shall echo forevermore!
      For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
      Through all our history, to the last,
      In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
      The people will waken and listen to hear
      The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
      And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

  7. I’m glad to see more people standing up and voting for Bernie Sanders is the only candidate with a positive message and a great moral compass we should all strive to be as just as he is. By the way my entire family is voting for Bernie Sanders and so will millions of other Americans.

  8. I’ve always understood that many of the posts / topics on this blog are political. “growing food, keeping livestock and learning to cook from scratch” (not to mention bicycling) are all political acts in my mind. These are all ways to resist or at least propose alternatives to the current politics influencing the way we feed ourselves (or get around town, in the case of bicycling). posting support for someone seeking political office is just a more common or explicit way to be political.

    keep being political. it’s what is bringing everyone here, whether they know it or not.

  9. I’m done reading your blog. I’m for Trump all the way despite voting democrat my entire adult life. The fact you are going down this road, well, that’s your free choice. Now address how Bernie is going to pay for all of his fantasies and yours. Guess you and the rest of the liberals don’t care to address that you all have more money in your pockets now since Trump has been in office and aren’t any closer to giving up living on the grid so you don’t need any money.

    See ya.

    • I don’t understand why after reading this blog for a long time, five years for Louisiana Lady, you’d drop off after one article that you don’t agree with. Why not stay and be part of a discussion? I think a lot of our problems communicating come from people not bothering with civil conversation. I don’t understand why we can’t disagree about some things and still work together for the betterment of society. We’ll never get anything done if we just refuse to talk with anyone who doesn’t share our point of view.

  10. Does anyone here remember the scene in the movie “Cabaret” where two older ladies, after talking about all the chaos in 1933 Germany, sigh and say to each other, “I wish the Kaiser were still in power.” I wish George H.W. Bush were still in office. Heck, after all the rancor and incivility these days, I wish Dubya were still in office! Peace out and keep on biking.

  11. Socialism is not what this country needs. Please do your research, Socialism in a nutshell is government ownership of all goods. You own nothing and get only what the government says you can have. There is NO private property, again you cannot own anything of your own including property .And ANY means of production are owned by the state, you cannot own your own land or grow your own crops, this also belongs to the government. The government owns, and is in charge of distributing anything and everything you work for.

    Definition of socialism

    1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods

    2a : a system of society or group living in which there is no private property

    b : a system or condition of society in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the state

    • Bernie Sanders in not REALLY a Socialist. What he, and Warren, advocate is more properly called Social Democracy, and the Social Democrats are the center RIGHT party in much of Europe. It’s just the default system here. And of course it’s not perfect, but it does significantle improve some of the problems America is struggling with, like health care, early childhood education and prime working age labour participation.

  12. Regardless of political affiliation, I can’t think of a more poignant comment to wholeheartedly support – “I believe that the way we treat the environment, our bodies and our households is on a continuum with the way we take care of all people.”

    When did taking care of the planet we ALL inhabit and caring for our fellow man become a political statement and a debate topic? It’s at the core of our humanity.

  13. I am always walking the tightrope of “avoiding the topic of politics”. We are approaching a time where we need to take a stand for the future. There is a war on truth raging. Facts and science are increasingly and terrifyingly taking a back seat to hateful tweets and misinformation.

    I too see the religious right predominantly represented in many homestead blogs/vlogs. While I think they misplace their ire, I do understand their concern. If they only realized that it is the rise of corporate rule that is to blame.

    Thank you for raising a voice for truth and reason.

    • Let me clarify that I agree with this Root Simple article.
      We have to care for our neighbors as we would ourselves.

      For those who want to leave the table of discussion, we need to build more bridges of understanding and cooperation, not walls.

  14. Since the discussion has turned to building bridges, I highly recommend Bill Staines’ song “Bridges.” It’s on YouTube. I don’t know his reasons for writing the song, but the lyrics sure do apply at this time.

  15. We are living in sad times when a person will stop talking to you because you voice a disagreement with them. Intelligent discussion seems to have flown out the window. At least here I am seeing some thoughtful people speaking.

  16. Bernie is my U.S. senator. I don’t vote for him when he runs for re-election in Vermont and I’d never vote for him for president.

  17. I’m totally enthused by Bernie, but I wish the Democrats would stop fighting amongst themselves and put just One Candidate forward. I support Elizabeth Warren too, but she and Bernie are so angry (as I am, and they have every right to be) about Agent Orange, that I am concerned about their impression on all the rest of America who voted for the 45th President.
    I wish they would all work together instead of against each other so that we could elect someone nice, young, attractive & positive like Kamila Harris with Elizabeth and Bernie advising her and writing her speeches. Obama had that popularity because he was good looking, and everyone was proud to look up to the example he set with family and advisors who kept him on the real citizen’s problems that need solving.
    We need someone with bipartisan appeal, backed by the most angry liberal’s ideals who doesn’t approach the job of President of The United States like they are being asked to sanitize a Frat house bathroom.
    And for God’s sake, Democrats, don’t divide the opposition by submitting TWO viable candidates like Hillary and Sanders did in 2016.
    For help on this matter, I recommend all you Root Simple people take look at http://www.changeroots.com

  18. It’s really cool to find out people you’ve respected and appreciated for many years have arrived at the same conclusions: Bernie 2020! If we are going to have an enriching and livable world in the near future it’s going to take a movement of everyday people coming together in solidarity. Tweaking the rows and columns on the financiers’ spreadsheets ain’t gonna’ work.

    I absolutely understand the frustration with much of the broader “homesteading” community verging into fascist ideology and appreciate you putting that out there. Just wanted to make sure I left this note so you know you’re not alone.

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