A Return to Love
Who watched the four hours of Democratic Presidential Debates on June 26 and 27?
Don’t worry if you missed it because you have another chance on July 30 and 31. Then 10 more after that!
For many viewers, there were candidates on the stage that no one had heard of. The unknowns, it was assumed, were current or former political office holders or successful entrepreneurs.
But what about Marianne Williamson?
Contrary to the buzz, California Senator Kamala Harris was not the most Google searched candidate after the debates. It was Ms. Williamson.
Only 20 of the 24 official presidential candidates qualified to participate in the first debates. So how did a spiritual adviser bump off Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton from the debate stage?
There were two paths to qualify. A candidate had to register 1% or more voter support in three polls 14 days prior to the debate. Or they could qualify by demonstrating that their campaign had received donations from at least 65,000 unique donors and a minimum of 200 unique donors per state in at least 20 states.
Since the debate Ms. Williamson occasionally polls at 1% or more. But before the debate she polled at 0%.
Where Ms. Williamson excels are the donations. She is a four time, number 1, best –selling New York Times author and adviser to the stars. Quotes from her books are like anthems to seekers.
A quote from her fist best seller A Return to Love states, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…”
So it’s understandable from where the 65,000-plus unique donors came.
On top of that, it turns out there are donations and then there are donations. On Ms. Williamson’s campaign website next to her pink donate button is a link to her “store.”
Buying campaign booty counts the same as giving a donation. Go figure. The reasoning is that there’s no way on the Federal Election Committee to discern the difference between a cash donation or purchasing a bumper sticker.
As it turns out, all the candidates have a “store” button at the top of their campaign website
So who has the coolest swag?
Ms. Harris has a pretty hip tote and iron-on patches. Bernie Sanders has a head-scratching t-shirt that says “Not me.” Joe Biden wins for best mug saying “Cup O’ Joe.” Pete Buttigieg comes in second for his “BOOT – EDGE – EDGE mug and “Chasten for First Gentleman” t- shirt.
And Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren? Her website doesn’t even have a store. I thought she was a candidate “for the people.” What’s up Liz?
Ms. Williamson has conveniently just written a New York Times best seller “A Politics of Love, A Handbook for a new American Revolution.” Mr. Sanders’ three books are in his store so does buying her book count as a donation? I’m not sure but her hats are kind of cool.
The candidates who qualify for the next debate will be shuffled around to reflect new polling and fundraising numbers and it will not include all of the original 20. Ms. Williamson has already qualified.
Ms. Williamson may have qualified for the debates because of her donations. But she is rising in the polls because of her message in these contentious times and may be around a lot longer than people anticipate. In her closing statement in the debate she told President Trump,
“You have harnessed fear for political purposes and only love can cast that out,…So I, sir, I have a feeling you know what you’re doing. I’m going to harness love for political purposes. I will meet you on that field. And, sir, love will win.”
Millennials Ruined Pot
Remember a joint?
Joint, doobie, spliff, blunt, a bowl, have all gone the way of landlines and maps. Smoking a hand rolled joint used to be how most people consumed pot. Now it’s considered “artisanal.”
Looking back on it, there was a sort of ceremony around smoking pot, not that we saw it that way at the time. There was the bag of bud, papers, roach clip, and most important, perfecting ones technique in rolling a joint.
When Baby Boomers and Gen Xers voted to legalize marijuana that’s how we envisioned it and thought it silly anyone would get arrested for selling or consuming pot. We had no idea that a bag of weed was going to give way to vape pens, cartridges and gummy bears that could land someone in the hospital.
The romance is definitely gone.
I never was a pot smoker but it was part of the fabric of our culture. It was a rite of passage for my husband. At Berkeley, the smell of pot wafting from the windows of frat houses and co-ops was a party staple. It was how our neighbors in Cabo San Lucas paid us back for favors in the 1990’s. I can still see the glass jar of joints sitting on the kitchen counter and recall it was just a given that our neighbors would sit on their porch and get stoned on the weekends.
I remember Hawaii, 1978, sitting in a park with my girlfriend at Flemmings Beach where I perfected my skills at body surfing. Completely oblivious to how beautiful we were, because of course we were too fat, we attracted the attention of a group of similarly aged guys.
We sat and talked at a picnic bench while a joint being passed around burned to a roach. (Note to Millennials – a roach is not a gross bug but the end of a joint.) My friend and I looked on in shock as one of our more stoned bench mates took the burning end of the joint between his index finger and thumb and without flinching sucked hot embers down his lungs. The joint reached me and it was all I could do to be Miss Cool and pass it to the guy next to me without screaming.
That’s a scene that will never play out again. Now someone who wants a hit just pulls a vape pen from their pocket. And it’s not happening at a picnic table or a park. It’s while driving, before walking into the gym, or going grocery shopping – all undetected because the pen leaves little smell.
Can you see “The Dude” from the Big Lebowski smoking a vape pen?
It’s with much irony that I point out that since legalization, Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke could not have been made.
I’m happy for Woodlake that they got their ducks in order and have the only pot dispensary in the Central Valley. Farmersville will be next. Small towns need an economic windfall and not many opportunities come around that bring in tax revenue.
So I hope Visalia leaves the dispensaries to the small towns. If people want to buy pot all power to them. Just go somewhere else. Visalia has the luxury now, unlike many midsize towns, to bill itself as a pot free tourist destination and family friendly location for businesses to open.
Case in point, Hanford just lost BarrelHouse Brewing, a family friendly business that has been hugely successful in Visalia. They were going to buy the Bastille but because of the city’s new ordinance allowing pot dispensaries they recently pulled out of the deal. According to The Sun, “the city’s plans for marijuana dispensaries differed from BarrelHouse’s vision, and ultimately the two sides couldn’t come together.”
My bikini-clad days hanging out on a beach and passing a joint are long gone. But some things don’t change in our new digital age. I read the paper every morning with a cup of coffee. Joseph and I still watch TV. I still take pictures with a camera and then put the best ones in a photo album.
Am I irrationally clinging to my analogue life?
All the kids were here last summer so it’s our turn to visit them and their significant others in Oregon. Joseph, I and our two youngest decided to make it a road trip. Joseph and I still use maps. Our car does not have a “port” so we will listen to the radio and CDs. I’ve already packed Beatles1, ABBA Gold, The Beach Boys, and Buddy Holly and other family faves.
Will a vape pen make an appearance? Sure, maybe. Our kids are all adults now. But I’ve always been too Scottish to sign up for a data plan and never had the experience of young or adult kids’ noses in their phones.
So for our road trip we will be engaging in other disappearing analogue activities, like car games, enjoying the view, and the dying art of conversation. We talk a lot as a family in general and discuss travel, our ancestors, childhood memories, politics and school among other things.
So maybe Millenials ruined pot but I could think of worse. Besides they can make up for it by cleaning our mess up and maybe even saving the world.