The Day After: hootenannys and politicking potlucks

If I had known the watch party would be so much fun, I would have run for office years ago here in Oklahoma City.

We had a grand potluck hootenanny celebrating the fact that I didn’t win the election but nevertheless began the process of calling together a new political movement rooted in social justice, environmental sustainability, energy conservation, and local economics. About 50 people drifted in and out during the evening, including a reporter for the Daily Oklahoman. It was a very diverse group.

It was a balmy spring evening, so all the windows were open, and as the crowd grew I turned on the ceiling fans. Global warming indeed. As the evening wore on and the libations continued to flow, we gathered around the piano for an old fashioned hootenanny and sang a few old favorites from including multiple choruses of “Solidarity Forever” (which is to the tune of Battle Hymn of the Republic) and a poignant song from the “Little Red Songbook” of the IWW to the tune of Auld Lang Syne called “Renunciation” (text below, it may become our “anthem”.).

There was roast leg of lamb and gyro meat we made from the lamb we got last fall from the Clear Creek Monastery. Fried chicken. Potato salad. Cream cheese rollups made with roasted garlic and habanero salsa. Two different scalloped potato dishes. Saurkraut and sausage. Deviled eggs. “Church dinner punch” (which tasted really good with the Jim Beam). Whole wheat rolls and whole wheat chocolate sheet cake, the flour from John and Kris Gosney’s farm. (Don’t grimace. It’s as moist and light as any cake made with white flour. Wagon Creek Creamery yogurt makes that possible.) Seven layer dip. Home-made tortilla chips. Wine. Jim Beam. Christian Cheese from Kingfisher. Well, you knew there would be interesting food at a party at my house, didn’t you?

Today’s paper reports that I received 8.2% of the vote, coming in 2nd in a field of 3, with 1,157 votes. There were a total of 14,000 votes cast out of a population of 556,000 for Oklahoma City. Our newly re-elected mayor was on the 9 PM News last night informing all that good times were here and even better times were coming soon. He looked excited and happy, as he should be. But I am thinking this morning, reviewing the news from across the world, that as time passes, events are more likely to run in the direction of favoring my positions than his.

Which is why I am as happy as can be about the results. On one hand, they show us how far we have to go, but on the other hand, things were said in public here that have never previously been said about our local politics. Political heresies were openly spoken! Personal responsibility! Energy conservation! Municipal power! Destruction of low income neighborhoods for urban renewal purposes as a social evil! The sunset of the natural gas industry! The coming crisis in energy! Urban agriculture! Local economics! As events move in the direction that I am predicting, these positions will seem less radical and more responsible and necessary. Mayor Cornett and the rest of the City Council are firmly mired in the 20th century. They won’t have a clue what to do as energy prices continue to climb. They are like the French aristocracy of the 1780s, speeding down the road, running over the children of peasants, oblivious to the pain and suffering around them, advocating that the poor eat cake if they have no bread. The “Ancien Regimes” always seem so solid, so in control, so on top of things, so confident, as they approach their sunset daze. But like a giant tree riddled with disease, they are rotten to the core and the day will come when a stray moderate breeze will come along and topple them to the ground. And people will stand around, scratch their heads, and wonder, “What took so long?”

Our job is the be there, “the firstest with the mostest” when people start awakening from the mindless daze of gluttony and greed in which we are presently mired, and start looking for better answers. To be there the firstest with the mostest, means that we must be organized in every precinct, and ready, willing, and able to get a message to their doorsteps when time is of the essence.

This is where this campaign goes now. Anyone who thinks that it is over on this “The Day After” is wrong. The springtime of hope for Oklahoma City I wrote about Tuesday morning is not destroyed by a late night-time freeze, it is only just beginning. This election was only the first phase of an organizing campaign that will go on for years.

Stay tuned to the website, . I am reworking it as a commentary blog devoted to local issues in central Oklahoma. You can expect to hear more about the issues I raised in my campaign, and the ideas I have for the growth of a new grassroots movement for democracy, responsibility, and sustainability. Today it is only a handful of tiny seeds that are placed in the ground. But as the years pass, they will grow and become in time a mighty forest of trees.

My inbox this morning is full of email from all over the world expressing appreciation for the campaign. Thanks again for these many expressions of support and hope To everything indeed there is a time and a season, and this is a time for work and for hope.

Bob Waldrop

PS. The potluck/hootenanny/political discussion was so much fun we will probably do it again next month, and maybe make it a regular feature of this on-going organizing campaign.

“RENUNCIATION”(Sing to the tune “Auld Lang Syne”)

By Joachim Raucher

When hungry millions are unfed

And the little orphans weep,

I cannot eat in peace my bread,

Nor sing my grief to sleep.

When thoughts arising from the heart

Are hampered in their flight,

I cannot sit and muse apart

Upon a dreamy height.

When craven lies oft seek to blind

The eyes of blazing Truth,

I cannot turn my maddened mind

To songs of love and youth,

Nor can I sing in lyric strains

Of private, little woes,

When Greed is reaping golden gains

From bloody seeds it sows.

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