“Despair is not an option.” — Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — 11/20/16
One of the pleasures of long cold winter evenings is browsing through seed catalogs, planning for next year’s gardens.
This year, the promise of a bountiful harvest is even more therapeutic as we consider the future, and nurture being optimistic about the times ahead.
The shock, denial, anger, bargaining and depression are passing, but acceptance is still tricky.
So we plan our garden.
Many seeds have been tried and found organically rich to our lives, so we will plant those again. As for our life in upstate New York, other organic societal seeds have been planted, and we will cultivate them as well.
These seeds of change have included ideas like public health care and education for all. They’ve included reining in banks and corporations to eliminate their Ponzi schemes, which destroy savings and pensions.
They include understanding that our nation is no longer based on the rule of white male Protestant property owners, and that women are in charge of their own lives, work and bodies.
These seeds of change include the belief that citizens are entitled to a peaceful and safe life, that people of all religions and ethnic backgrounds can be welcomed, and that Social Security is solid and should remain what it is — the best hope for our seniors.
They include the understanding that death taxes are cynically misnamed and affect only very rich people, preventing them from becoming the aristocracy we came here to escape.
The seeds that we sow must ensure that children are not terrified that they or their parents will disappear. They let us grow our understanding that charter schools suck resources from public schools and often don’t perform as well.
The seeds of change remind us that citizens need good jobs, good wages, unions, homes and hope; that our infrastructure needs the resources we now funnel into our military for unnecessary endless wars; that our privatized prison system is cruelly expensive and amounts to 21st century slavery.
They show us that politicians and most media are totally out of touch with real Americans. They remind us that our law enforcement people are not a military force to control us and protect the elites, but It should be the other way around.
They reinforce the fact that destructive pipelines are not an important infrastructure to ordinary citizens, but that roads, bridges, railroads, schools, libraries and the rest of the commons are.
And that’s not even mentioning international trade agreements, wealth inequality, poison in our food, air and water; housing and election reform; renewable energy, the medical industry and, most pressing of all, climate change.
Whoever lives in the White House in the near or distant future has to answer to the people who put him or her there. That job is not a part-time gig, and requires more than living in a soundproof bubble, hearing only advice from sycophants.
Voters believed what was said (most of the time) and need to be paid attention to. That’s the hard part.
Like a good farmer, our leaders need to know which seeds will produce a healthy society and what seeds will foment anger or revolution.
Current voices are telling us what seeds have been sown, and some are going against all our best hopes for our world and our children.
The 2017 Winter Conference of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York has the theme, “Owning Our Seed,” and the brochure cover has a graphic with these words on it — “They tried to bury us but they didn’t know we were seeds.”
That’s as much a hope as a warning.
We hope our leaders are listening.
Karen Cookson is a NOFA-NY member in Sharon Springs and a regular contributor to the Sunday Opinion pages.