Working to Make our Everyday Relations More Democratic

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reinhardt redwood regional, oakland, california :: @ebrpd :: photo credit: @dr.cbg

I mean the stature of soul, the range and depth of love, capacity for relationships. I mean the volume of life you can take into your being and still maintain your integrity and individuality, the intensity and variety of outlook you can entertain in the unity of your being without feeling defensive or insecure. I mean the strength of your spirit to encourage others to become freer in the development of their diversity and uniqueness. I mean the power to sustain more complex and enriching tensions. …

You Can Start Here!

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claremont canyon regional preserve, berkeley, california @ebrpd :: photo credit: @dr.cbg

“A tree is a democracy.” — Alfred North Whitehead




Power, Culture, & Change: Authoritarianism

Second in the Series “Building a Case for Cultural Work in White Rural America”

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the last photograph i took in waters creek, wilderville, oregon before moving back home to california

[Previous article in the series: 74,222,593]

“You are an explorer, and you represent our species, and the greatest good you can do is to bring back a new idea, because our world is endangered by the absence of good ideas.” ~Terence McKenna

Escaped from academia, exploring, and immersed in research of radically different cultures than mine, I found that the what of things is much less important than the how of them when solving problems in the actual world.

Take, for instance, water. That it is “an odorless, tasteless, very slightly compressible liquid oxide of hydrogen H2O” is far less important in my everyday life than how it functions to quench my thirst on a long, hot hike. Or, my name is certainly a what of me — Cathy B. Glenn — but the name is much less important than how I move through the world as a privileged straight white cis female human in relation with others on a shared planet. …

Some Content May be Disturbing for Some Readers

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me, on the right, visiting my aunt and wearing her hat

I used to be a bit of an asshole. Accomplished, articulate, and pretty damn smart. I knew it and I leaned on it: it’s all I had. I learned two roles growing up: how to be second to my father and how to be his object. For the first half of my life, I had no idea how to be a whole human in relationship with other humans. I was able to pass as a functioning human on the strength of how ferociously skilled I was at being a second to older white men and/or being their object.

I’m the first-born of six children. My white authoritarian father wanted a boy when I was born, and he wouldn’t be told “no” by the universe or my mother’s womb. He made it his mission to pass on to me — his first-born female child — the hyper-masculinist survivalist vision he embodied. My mother submitted, enabled, and enforced. …

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the author

A short spoken piece (some readers may find this content disturbing)

This Post Contains Material That May be Disturbing for Some Readers

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Me, 16 months, in Martinez, California

“Go get me the stick. Now.”

My ill, weakened father is sitting in a chair, unable to stand. He is in the last stages of lung cancer, and it has spread throughout his body. The chemo treatments have ravaged his ability to stand without assistance. Cancer has not softened the sharp edges of his controlled rage, though. It has also not diminished the considerable authority he claims as the man of the family.

I do as I’m told. I find “the stick” in its resting place, a wooden croquet mallet handle that leans in a corner by the kitchen table. My legs move on their own, conditioned to obey without question. …

Immersed & Isolated in the Conditions that Created the Possibility for a Capitol Insurrection

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A post to Instagram on January 20, 2016

I knew who was coming to the Capitol yesterday because I was studying them in 2016. Those who could not imagine the white (mostly) rural Americans storming the Capitol until yesterday need to ask themselves what’s missing in their perspective or training that blinded them to all the signs.

Everything I publish is based in 3.5 years of firsthand in-field anthropological ethnographic documentation and experience in the cultural conditions that continue to grow in Rural American Cultures (RAC). …

Old, White Southern Oregon “Democrats” Stall Politically Progressive Forward Momentum

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one of the white supremacist and militia posters that appeared in cascadia, oregon mid-2017

While researching Rural American Cultures (RAC) in Southern Oregon, a dominant cultural norm that emerged in the findings was in the patterns of active efforts on the part of “old-timers” and “insiders” (old white conservative men and women) to silence young people and other marginalized groups. It stunned me, being from the San Francisco Bay Area — until it also deeply pissed me off. What I observed and documented around me were barriers erected intentionally, over and over, that slowed, staggered, or stopped dead democratic participation on the part of young people and other marginalized groups.

Peter Sage is one of those “old-timers” or “insiders” whose relational practices as an “activist” intentionally excludes and discourages the participation of young people, BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ in the Southern Oregon Democratic party and political forums beyond. The retrograde racist messages that Mr. Sage spreads — like similar old-timers do on the ground and in person in RAC—represent the outdated thinking of many who call themselves progressives in Southern Oregon. …

[Tom Vilsack is a White Supremacist Enabler & Authoritarian Capitalist and the Nomination Must be Overturned]

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People’s Action: Democrats Will Continue to Lose Rural Voters With Vilsack Appointment

WASHINGTON, D.C. People’s Action Director George Goehl today released the following statement in response to media reports that President-elect Joe Biden plans to nominate Tom Vilsack as Secretary to the Department of Agriculture (USDA):

“Representative Fudge would have been an outstanding Secretary of Agriculture. In his previous stint as Secretary of the USDA, Tom Vilsack missed the mark in big moments to stand for racial justice. The President-elect had the opportunity to show that he does not reward such failures. …

[Vilsack is the Embodiment of the Disconnect between Urban Elites and Rural American Cultures]

Opinion: George Goehl in The Guardian Mon 21 Dec 2020 07.04 EST

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It’s unlikely that Joe Biden expected that, of all his cabinet nominees, his choice for US agriculture secretary would cause the most blowback. Yet that is exactly what happened.

The former secretary Tom Vilsack, fresh off the revolving door, is a kind of all-in-one package of what frustrates so many about the Democratic party. His previous tenure leading the department was littered with failures, ranging from distorting data about Black farmers and discrimination to bowing to corporate conglomerates.

Vilsack’s nomination has been roundly rejected by some of the exact people who helped Biden defeat Trump: organizations representing Black people, progressive rural organizations, family farmers and environmentalists. …


Cathy B. Glenn, Ph.D.

SF Bay Area critical researcher, creative, & cultural worker. Content developer for The Relational Democracy Project IG @dr.cbg

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