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H2O Man

H2O Man's Journal
H2O Man's Journal
February 20, 2024

Fixing a Hole

" The moment that I express what I experience exclusively in thought and words, the experience has gone: it has dried up, is dead, a mere thought. Hence being is indescribable in words and is communicable only by sharing my experience. In the structure of having, the dead word rules; in the structure of being, the alive and inexpressible experience rules."
-- Erich Fromm; To Have or To Be; 1976

Last week, I had the pleasure of watching Fani Willis on the witness stand. I was happy to share that experience along with a lot of people, on the telephone, and in various regions of the internet. That included communicating with the Good People here, on an OP/thread. Even the next day, I had conversations with people of my generation, about how we had just witnessed history.

I was not surprised, however, to see that our opposition viewed it much differently. Their interpretation of D.A. Willis's testimony was very different than my own, or all but one of the people I communicated with that day. They seem incapable, for example, of even recognizing what an honorable her father was when he testified the following day.

This led me to go back to a letter from my late friend Rubin, that hw wrote on Tuesday, June 26, 1979 at 9:45 a.m. This was during a long period of self-isolation that his supporters called his "Buddha phase," when other than lawyers, I was one of two people he communicated with.

"In fact, most people do not what the word 'being' means -- or even what the word 'understand' means, for that matter -- and yet both are essential for the acquisition of knowledge. Although, of course, this point of view is completely contrary to what you have been taught in school and, in fact, contrary to all Western thought! For here in the West, here in this den of thieves and charlatans, it is usually supposed that a man is capable of attaining great knowledge, provided that he possesses sufficienr intelligence, and, of course, this is the viewpoint that we inherited from the ancient Greek. ...."

This reminded me of Thomas Merton's introduction to his 1964 classic, "Gandhi on Non-Violence." He starts by paraphrasing Lauren Van Der Post's description of Western man being a one-eyed giant when invading Africa, America, and Asia. "The one-eyed giant had science without wisdom, and he broke in upon ancient civilizations which had wisdom without science; wisdom that transcends and unites, wisdom that dwells in body and soul together and ... opens the door to a life in which the individual is not lost in the cosmos and in society but found in them."

Merton was concerned, as my generation will recall, that human beings were going to poison life on Earth -- if not blow it up with WMDs -- without understanding what "being" means. By no coincidence, this is much the same message that my late uncle, Tadodaho Chief Leon Shenandoah, speaks of in Steve Wall's book, "To Become a Human Being."

This requires balance in a world that is currently out of balance. That balance requires an understanding of human nature, as we are the last in our particular line of primates. Our large brains are complex, and the growth of the frontal lobes has increased our ability -- when used properly -- to understand what it means to be a human being, experiencing the mracle of life on this living planet, at this time in the eternal Now. And to think ahead.

Obviously, not everyone around you or I gets that. For there are those that, in his day, Dr. King called "our sick brothers and sisters," that have thinking that rarely inhabits the front of their brain. Rather, they are driven by four chemicals that come from a lower level of the brain --dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins. Some are easily identified by their addictions to meth, heroin, or other "pain killers." Others get a similar kick from those activities that we associate with the maga crowd. Both of these pose serious threats to the health and stability of our country.

The maga crowd is presently incapable of processing information on specific topics. They might be good at their jobs, and other routine activities. But they do not inhabit the level of consciousness that would allow them to understand that they are being played. On social and political issues, they are like little children who are convinced they are capable of understanding things, if someone explains them. That's why we don't let little children drive. It's why we cannot allow the maga crowd to drive our country.

We have to recognize that besides the half-wits of maga proper, there are others that add force to the negative momentum that is today's republican party. There are business people who are calling President Biden a "socialist," acording to a news clip I recently saw. There are wealthy people who don't like the defendant, but like his tax cuts. And there are numerous officials in all three branches of the federal and state's governments, that Rubin described in that letter:

" Because here, in this Western world, and particularly in America, it has always been accepted that a man may possess immense knowledge but without ever having seriously considered his level of being. In America it is acceptable that a man may be a Supreme Court Justice, or Doctor, a National and International Politician, or an abled Scientist -- and at the same time it is considered legitimate and even fashionable, in this country, that this Supreme Court Justice, or Doctor, or Politician, or Scientist has the right to be a racist, or a petty, egoistic, caviling, mean, envious, vain, and malicious snake! The people of America have placed great value on the level of a man's knowledge, but have no shame on their own level of being."

I'll admit that a lot has changed in America in the 45 years since Rubin wrote that letter to me. But while there have been some improvements, a whole heck of a lot has become worse. We need Good People to step up now -- especially in the months until November -- to continue the effort of President Biden to bring stability and the rule of law back to firm ground.

February 15, 2024

Fani Willis

A couple of things: first, watch her on the witness stand. She is telling the Truth. Second, don't take the media's word on this. They aren't in the business of selling the Truth. As Malcolm X often said, if you believe the media, you'll be carrying an umbrella on a sunny day, and getting soaked when it rains. (Malcolm told the Truth.)

Think for yourself.

February 9, 2024

Our Father

"Quit your god-damned belly aching!" -- Dad

My brother and I have fond memories of out late father saying this frequently in the years of our childhood. It was usually followed by an exact version of the combination that Bob Fitzsimmon's used to knock out heavyweight champion Jim Corbett on St. Patrick's Day in 1897. And it never failed to deliver both a head- and belly ache.

I do not know how the US Supreme Court will rule on this one. Neither do you. If I were a betting man, I'd wager in the defendant's favor. Not only because of the corrupt scum and right-wing christians on the court, but because the issue at hand is in a gray area. Timing is everything, and it would thus have been different if decided after Jack Smith convicts the defendant for January 6. While a good argument can be made for state's rights in keeping the human shit-stain off of the ballot, his not being convicted yet will likely translate to the defendant being on the ballot.

Even if he had already been convicted -- by either the Senate or in federal court -- there are enough issues involving the lone federal election, that it was unlikely individual states could take the defendant off the ballot. While I would prefer he be flushed to the septic tank of history, I recognize the republican party would -- at very least -- attempt to abuse the precedent.

Let me assure you I'm not crying about that, and not because Dad would give me something to cry about if I didn't stop crying. No gnashing of teeth here, nor anticipation of the smashing of them, either. I don't even have to remind myself to have some self-respect, because in the context of the real struggle, the attempts to keep him off the ballot have already served a delighful purpose.

Being of zero skills with technology, I go immediately to my abacus. I count how many times the defendant has fared well in the courts since 2020. It's not a record that earns the defendant a title shot, despite my desire to see him fight Mike Tyson. Mike would give him something to whine about.

The important case right now has to do with the defendant whimpering that he has absolute immunity. According to my figuring on the abacus, I can say without any chance of being wrong that this is at least a thousand times more important than the ballot case. And that there is less than one in a billion chance the USSC will agree with him.

Now, my friends liked talking with my father about politics, because he never punched them. But when one complained about the media, my father asked, "What are you? Empty-headed or dense? Because the purpose of the media is to confiscate your common sense, and hypnotize you with commercials. Try thinking for yourself for once in your life. It's better than being such a cry baby. You ever see a team named the 'cry babies' win in sports?"

I surely miss my father, though not his Joe Louis-like combinations. I am glad that he isn't around to see the republican mess in DC. It bothered him enough to see Newt Gingrich elected to the House. I remember him snarling, "St. Patrick drove the god damned snakes off our island, and it's up to your generation to keep them from holding office in this country. Now get off your dead ass and campaign for Democrats."

February 6, 2024

On Being Human

In times of humanitarian crises, good people who are not affected want to lend support. This has included the two best known types of humanitarian crises; natural disasters, and the man-made disasters commonly known as war. There is a third type, lesser known but surprising common, known as "complex emergencies." This is when there is significant or total breahdowns of the institutions in a society.

Why am I writing about this tonight, no one may ask? For while there are a few man-made disasters (aka wars ) going on. They are half-way around the earth. No Americans are "officially" participating in them. There's no realistic threat that they will spread, is there? So why am I even thinking about this stuff? And what does it have to do with Taylor Swift?

This weekend, I saw where a person on an internet forum said, among other things, that Taylor Swift was a demon, coordinating with the Democratic Party to send people to hell. At my cousin's request, I added my thoughts. My first contribution was one of my favorite Mark Twain quotes: "Heaven for the climate, hell for the company."

The person took great offense to this, and to me as a person. Besides assuring me that I will burn in an eternal hell for worshipping Ms. Swift, he attributed a large quantity of beliefs and behaviors to me. I noted that this was interesting, because the only thing he could actually know about me is that I know at least one Mark Twain quote. I said that I know very little about Ms. Swift, and that it was him that appeared obsessed with her.

He angrily denied that he had any obsession with her. I said that the fact he had posted 18 pictures of her and links to three of her music videos suggested that he might not be consciously aware of this obsession. I suggested he might benefit from reading Carl Sagan's "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark." This was met by him attacking science, and expressing his faith in the defendant to deliver believers to their promised land.

I can no more talk for Ms. Swift than I can sing for her. But I consider both her contributions to charity and her encouraging citizens to register to vote are good things. Likewise, I consider those who hate her are other than good. And thus we find an illustration of a complex emergency that the United States is confronting.

The Robert Strauss Center has a chart to help identify various types of complex emergencies that can be helpful for the international response to humanitarian crises. It includes factors such as political, environmental, economic, and demographic instability, in terms of being acute, chronic, urban, and protracted. Thus, for example, if there are people moving north from Central America due to the combination of violence and prolonged drought, the country they seek to enter will have a crises. When these migrants have cultures different from the larger population, it increases the stress incurred.

Likewise, if a country seeks to expand its territory by way of a military intervention in a neighboring people's land, there will be a humanitarian crisis. This includes, but is not limited to, the Russian war of aggression in the Ukraine.

When a country -- let's say the United States -- experiences a number of the factors of complex emergencies, a couple things will happen. There will be increasing divides on how the country will respond to external humanitarian crises, and there will be an increase of hostility not only for "others," but even for a young lady like Taylor Swift for encouraging others to register to vote -- as if that is "un-American."
February 2, 2024

Regarding Pornographic republicans

"To understand how any society functions, you must understand the relationship between the men and the women." -- Angela Davis

(Note: It has been more than 35 years since I had the pleasure of spending an evening with Ms. Davis. But the impression she made is still strong, and I'm glad my daughters and sons study her teachings.)

I had a meeting with two old friends today, to begin organizing for November. One is a talented artist, who has assisted me on various social-political issues for over 40 years. I brought him a John Lennon drawing, circa 1966, of a guy with a dead fish for hair. He drew the defendant with dead fish hair, captioned "A Fish Rots From the Head Down." A friend who did artwork for the NY Times' op-ed page may make T-shirts and sweatshirts, and I will surely share the picture on internet sites I can post pictures on.

Then I had a phone call from a lady asking for my help with a near-by count's Democratic Party. Of course, I'm honored she asked, and happy to assist in any way. After that, I sat down to watch the news, and to think. I found myself concentrating on three names: Taylor Swift, E. Jean Carroll, and Judge Tanya Chutkan.

The maga-ites seem mighty upset about Ms. Swift. The defendany has attacked Ms. Carroll. And I can say without hesitation -- with zero chance of being wrong -- we shall soon hear insults coming from the defendant's mouth about Judge Chutkan, as he will fear and hate her more than he has feared and hated any human bein.

It is important to remember that the defendant has only "won" one election,though he lost the popular vote then. Since then, in 2018, 2020, and 2022, he has been a ball & chain on the republican party nationally. What can we learn from this?

In 2016, two groups under-voted, and one had a higher than usual vote for republicans. This struck me as curious, because among other things, the defendant's essence was exposed on the Access Holywood tape. Still, young voters did not turn out in the number that they have since. White women from the suburbs voted republican in significant numbers. And many black women -- the backbone and soul of the Democratic Party -- under-voted in large numbers.

I understand that many blame Sanders, Stein, and Comey for the 2016 defeat. But I think that the elections since then document that if we get everyone to vote, it doesn't matter what the defendant and maga-ites bring to the table, We win. What is not to admire about a young musician who gives to charities and encourages her fans to register and vote? Why do internet trolls spout shit like Ms. Carroll appears to be drugged? And how the hell will they respond to an educated black female federal judge that won't allow the defednant and his legal team to pull shit?

One last thing, for as a cranky old man, I have the right to rant. The defendant has two compulsions I find repulsive. One is his "she isn't my type" balony. Thus I appreciate the tape where the defendant mistakes Ms. Carroll for one of his ex-wives. The second one is his calling his opponents "nasty women." Like, why? I appreciate all of the nasty women I've known in life. Some of the greatest experiences of my life. For I agree with the philosopher Woody Allen that sex properly done is nasty. I think that the defendant is angry that his money couldn't but such pleasures.

January 24, 2024

On Being a Human Being

I had an interesting e-mail last night. It was from a lady who runs a private facebook group for those opposed to the defendent and his maga cult. The group is private, due to concerns that many members have had after being harried by cult members on the internet. Most of the group are females who are not interested in arguing, insulting, and/or threatening those who may think differently than them. Group members live in a variety of states.

It was a bit of a surprise when I was invited to join the group. This lady said she remembered me from parties when we were in high school, which I'd think would be grounds to to not let me join. In both 2020 and 2022, I encouraged group members to campaign for the Democratic Party's candidates. To get people they know registered. This lady, now a retired school teacher in the southeast and grandmother, is worried about the November election, and wants me to encourage and assist others in getting out the vote.

Two weeks ago, I was contacted by an old associate about getting the old group back together to work on this year's elections. We get activists from three local counties in upstate New York and coordinate with each county's Democratic Party headquarters. Some of us also volunterr at these headquarters, besides registering voters, making phone calls, going door-to-door and more. Some of us are old enough to remember when letters-to-the-editor were the essential way of reaching the public, and others are young enough to understand the internet.

I'm somewhere in between my two friends: I'm not anxious about our ability to crush the defendant and other republicans this fall, nor am I over-confident about victory. Rather, I like to assess the opposition's strengths and weaknesses, and think of ways to exploit each of those. In this context, it comes down to winning more votes in enough states for President Joe Biden to be elected.

Polls from nine months ago suggested that more than 70% of those asked did not want to see a rematch of Biden vs the defendant. These polls included Democrats, republicans, third party voters, and independents. At this point it is most likely -- though not 100% certain -- that this will be the main event on election day in another nine months. This does not mean that 70% of voters will stay home or not vote for one of those two. Concrete thinking is not a good foundation for winning elections.

What it does mean is that there was a variety of reasons that individual voters didn't want a return match. I will speculate that the majority were people who did not want to ever see the defendant involved in politics again. Yet no voting block has made any significant impact on the primaries in either party. Our job at the grassroots is to understand what the concerns of Democrats and those on the Democratic Left, as we need them to turn out and vote.

Thus, I decided to conduct a survey of two groups: those from the internet group, and those in the three county region I am active in. (I also do some work in a 4th county when my help is requested.) Like other polls, it is at best a snapshot of people's opinions at this time. More, there are no "right" or "wrong" answers. For example, if someone said they thought President Biden was too old, it wasn't for me to say otherwise. I do not need to do a survey to determine what I think.

Not a single person mentioned Hunter Biden's name. From the admittedly relatively small group of Democrats and independents -- including young and old, men and women, black, brown, and white, low- to middle income -- no mention of him.

About one third expressed concern about Joe Biden's age. Upon further questioning, they were more concerned about him in 3 to 4 years, as opposed to now. 100% said they would vote for President Biden in a contest between him and the defendent. This included several young adults who like Robert Kennedy, Jr., but recognize the need to defeat the defendant.

A quarter said they are concerned that republicans have set things up since 2020 to be able to cheat when counting votes in several states. More than a third think "voter fatigue" may be a factor. The fatigue is rooted in anxiety about the future and fear of political violence on the part of republicans. Some also spoke of the wars in Ukraine and Palestine. About half expressed concerns about the how the economy is for their household. Exclusively among independents is the position that while Democrats are better than republicans, the leadership of both parties represents the elites rather than the working class.

Less that one in ten said that they plan to do some public campaigning for the upcoming elections. Several said they did not know what they could do, or that they did not think they would be good at campaigning. Most, though not all, said they would try to get people they know -- family, friends, co-workers, and/or neighbors -- to register and vote. Some are willing to make phone calls, and fewer would be willing to go door-to-door this fall.

This is, of course, late January. The dynamics are significantly different, in my opinion, than any year except 2020, that I have been active in politics. At the same time, I've been watching a lot of the Senate Watergate hearings on youtube in recent days, and think that some things never change.

I'm curious what you are doing?

Thank you,
H2O Man
January 21, 2024

Ed Warren

“The last two lifetimes have seen more scientific and technological achievement than the first 798 put together. The shift to a swiftly changing society has not greatly affected the surfaces of daily living. The New York of the 1980s resembles the New York of the 1930s more than the New York of the 1930s resembled the New York of the 1880s. But the shift has profoundly altered inner perceptions and expectations. It has placed traditional roles and institutions under severe and incomprehensible strain. It has cast off reference points and rituals that had stabilized and sanctified life for generations. It has left the experience of elders useless to the tribulations of the young. Children, knowing how different their own lives will be, no longer look to parents as models and authorities; rather, parents now learn from their children.
― Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., The Cycles of American History

Schlesinger is likely best remembered as the Kennedy administration's historian. But to my 93-year old aunt -- who died yesterday -- he was one of the founders of Americans for Democratic Action, along with Eleanor Roosevelt, Hubert Humphrey, Kohn Kenneth Galbraith, and Reinhold Niebuhr. Arthur was the speechwriter for Adlai Stevenson.

Those names might not be familiar to many in the DU community's younger generations. But they formed an important wing of the Democratic Party that my aunt advocated for all of her life. I'm glad to say that all of my children and their generation in the extended family learned from her. She told my kids about seeing her mother and grandmother coming home from work covered in tomatoes, due to their union advocacy. And her take-no-shit stories about her changing the dress code for girls in high school influenced my daughters.

She was best known perhaps for her life-long advocacy for animals. My father said there was never a stray cat or dog that she wouldn't take in. Right now, there is a list of people who will take in her pets and some that she was sheltering. Her only regret came when three high-ranking members of the Nixon administration bought Golden Retrievers from her in 1970. By no coincidence, this brings us back to Schlesinger in a round about fashion.

Arthur recognized that there are cycles in American politics. This is distinct, of course, from the cycles of history, which show that empires -- like all organic life on earth -- are born, grow, then decay and die. The cycles he documented were between periods of lberal and conservative political, social, and economic policy. In the years he lived -- 1917 to 2007 -- he noted that the cycles were becoming shorter. He attributed this largely to changes in technology for communications.

Another factor that Schlesinger focused on became his important 1973 book, "The Imperial Presidency." In it, he detailed how presidents tended to expand executive power by way of wars and other crises. My aunt would point out that only two presidents in her life did not do so: Jimmy Carter and Joe Biden. This, she pointed out, allowed republicans and the media to paint them as somehow weak and ineffective, the exact opposite of the truth.

In Watergate, Iran-Contra, and the Bush-Cheney eras, the president (or vice president) attempted to create internal intelligence groups capable of taking actions outside of the law, for "national security" reasons. This included both domestic and international activities. These cycles shorten, each presenting new threats based on the same human failures mixed with new technology. Enough so that one might be reminded of Yeats' 1919 line about a world in chaos, where "things fall apart, the center cannot hold."

There were two things that Schlesinger was concerned with late in his life: the first was the dangers posed by attempts to bring religion into politics. He noted that in the "great religious ages" one finds the most inhumane treatment of human beings, and that science brought us out of those dark ages.

The second thing was that regarding when the center isn't holding -- when the institutions intended to benefit society either do not function, or are abused. This allows an individual or group to surf those tides in the cycle to achieve degrees of power. This alone is neither positive or negative. For example, the Beatles didn't "create" the 1960s, but their power was from the social influences that allowed them to thus influence the younger generation's thinking. This helped create a unity.

An essential aspect of the center not holding, and the institutions failing to provide equally for groups of citizens, is a break-up into smaller groups that have difficulty in working together with other groups. I think that Schlesinger's most glaring shortcoming was his opposition to what he thought was "multiculturalism." I found this odd, considering that he was an advocate of teaching the true history of America, including the terrible abuses of various groups. He noted that attempts to deny this history made society vulnerable to versions of those same injustices.

The defendant did not "create" the maga republican party we witness today, my aunt reminded people. Rather, he surfed the ignorance, anxieties, and hatreds that were already there, churning inside those who are horrified by the pace of change in society. She was looking forward to voting for President Biden this November. And she knew it was essential for good people to vote every republican possible out of office, to turn the tide.

Thank you for listening to me.

Note: I'm curious if anyone who studied the Senate Wategate hearings remembers who "Ed Warren" was?)

January 19, 2024


I fell asleep this morning a little past 7 am. For whatever reason, the dog had several bursts of energy during the night hours, and was convinced that it was my desire to play fetch with her. I attempted to convince her that "fetch" wasn't going to be a thing at that time. I turned youtube on the television, hoping that would grab her attention, but she continued to chew toys that squeak in my ear.

The next thing I knew, I awoke to a fox news clip. Two pale men were excitedly blabbing about what an ancient New York Post gossip columnist has predicted will happen at this year's Democratic National Convention. President Biden, she wrote, will announce that he is stepping aside, and Michelle Obama will become the party's candidate.

Now, I am 100% focused on re-electing President Biden. But in the dream world I was floating out from, there is no human being I would prefer as president than Michelle Obama. Though I would not use a NY Post to train a puppy, I sat up. These two men -- who I believe were the models for Yoko Ono's "a glass of milk in a snow drift" -- then explained that Ms. Obama would campaign on fear. It was then I realized what they were up to.

They don't really think Michelle will be the Democratic Party's candidate for president. At least not in 2024. But as one noted, she is the world's most popular woman. And they fear her campaigning for President Biden, because she can motivate people.
January 18, 2024

The Tragedy of Errors

"Conquered, we conquer." -- Plautus

I am only mildly aware of the Roman playwright quoted above, because it is said that two of his plays inspired Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors." And I only thought of that as a result of watching the news, with its reports of infidelity, madness, and theft. I''d even add the demonic possession from Shakespeare's shortest play, though not in a "religious" sense. For there is no evil outside of human beings.

There are, as in that play, sets of twins, with masters and servants. If, for sake of this discussion, we can agree that the defendant is the devil -- the doer of evil -- we can get to the maga cult. It is easy to identify the most rabid among them: some in Congress, some in state offices, militias, Sov-Cits, Moors, and unhinged loners that neighbors will say was "a very quiet man who kept to himself."

We know to avoid these people in public. For we understand that in clusters, they are prone to January 6-type behaviors. A smaller cluster had plans to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer, to "put her on trial." And even as individuals, they are prone to being aggressively obnoxious in public places, including grocery stores and parking lots.

There is another sub-species of republicans that we must recognize. You may encounter them at extended family gatherings, in the work place, or in your neighborhood. Because they don't wear maga hats or have 20+ maga yard signs on their lawn, they can often fly under the radar. Older forum members will remember Senator Eugene McCarhy's description of the republicans in the 1960s:

"They're somewhat like the lowest forms of plant and animal life. Even at their highest point of vitality there is not much life in them; on the other hand, they don't die."

Perhaps mold comes to mind. Unfortunately, these republicans did not follow the defendant's suggestion to inject bleach in the early phase of the covid epidemic. So there remains an issue of mold between now and November's election. How potentially dangerous is that mold? The answer is found in the exact ratio of how much the do at the grass roots level, compared to how much you do.

My cousin called me yesterday, after he had an encounter with mold. (Note: my cousin is a very clean old man, much like Paul McCartney's grandfather.) On an internet archaeological web site, he was conversing with a fellow he's know on the site for years. Out of no where, the guy said he supports the defendant. My cousin asked why, as a retired union worker, he would vote for the defendant? The guy said because his disabled daughter is losing her house.

My cousin said the guy has always seemed a decent man, and intelligent. That despite his best efforts, he was unable to get the fellow to tell him how he connects his daughter's loss of her house with President Biden? Or what he thought the defendant would do about it?

My cousin said he talked with the guy for almost an hour, and found it exhausting. He said that he figured it must be like some of my experiences working at the mental health clinic. That he had been careful not to insult the gentleman, and wondered if I might chat with the guy? Thus, although I am from a different state, I recommended potential legal services for his daughter. And added that President Biden advocates for programs that assist the poor and disabled.

It's a tragedy, really, that a seemingly intelligent human being would support the defendant. It was a small investment in energy on my part, in an attempt to assist this guy transition from being ruled by fear and anger to rational thought. It remains likely he will not connect, so I do not spend much time on his one vote.

It is a wiser investment for me to communicate with undecided voters, those who are independents. One voter at a time. I know that they are thirsty for positive change in our society. So I refer back to a lesson from Malcolm X and explain we have a choice between a clean glass of water, and a glass of filthy sludge. I remind those of my generation that McCarthy didn't get the nomination in 1968, in the year Nixon was elected.

A surprising number of young people, my children's peers, like Robert Kennedy, Jr. Some know that my family has been friends with Robert for 35+ years, others a bit surprised to hear that. I tell them that Robert and I are friends, but that I do not support his running for president. I'm not opposed, in theory, to primary challenges, but I would not have supported Robert if he had stuck to that. And I explain why.

But there is an important step between this, with both old hippies and young activists: I listen to them. Respectfully. I don't ever say, "No, you are wrong." I keep that door open. Then I bring out those two glasses of water.

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