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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Political Philosophy for Chris Elms
Why am I running for city council? By Chris Elms, for the city of Sonoma council. September 24, 2004
I am running for city council because I love life, I love Marlie and I love Sonoma. Because I love life, I don't waste my time in a car box when I can be out walking or on a bike, where the ceiling is five miles high, where the air is fresh, where I can see flowers and trees and talk to people I know.
I love Marlie because I'm lucky enough to have figured out how to have a great relationship and lucky enough to have meet another person, who with me takes this responsibility: her job is not to make me happy. My job is not to make her happy. We are happy on our own steam and then come together for glory and friendship and fun.
For the same sort of responsibility reasons I'm running for city council. I wanted to see root, radical, real ideas being brought up. I didn't see them being brought up. Instead of complaining that someone else wasn't bringing them up, I decided to run and bring them up.
I love Sonoma and see it being ruined by people whose minds are in this box: we have to keep building at the rate of 100 units a year and "that's only, really, the historical average of 88 units per year." That's turning our small town into a place that is in danger of no longer being a small town.
I'm running to say: let's stop that nonsense and lower the rate to 50 or 44, and make that building ecological, with green space around us.
I'm running because no one else was or is talking about lowering the speed limit. Don't we want to get through town quicker? Isn't it hard to drive by the Plaza on weekends and event days?
No to getting through town quicker. A faster life is a life in rush is a life that is missing the pleasure of the moment. Yes, it's hard getting by the Plaza. Treat yourself to a bike ride, or staying home and talking to someone you love.
Think of sex. It is now. It is in the body. It feels good.
Think of a fresh peach. It is now. It is sensation in the body. I tastes good.
Think of watching a child laugh or play. It is now. The pleasure, if you notice it well, is in your body. It feels good.
Quality of life is about coming to the now, and being happy in the moment. All the rest is not worth putting on your tombstone.
I'm running because I love to speak in public and want to raise issues of what is happiness, what is a good life, how we can connect to nature as part of who we are as human beings, how we can keep our small town small, how we can take care of each other in humane ways. A living wage law is taking care of each other. Slowing down traffic so it's more fun and easy to walk and be on a bike is taking care of each other and the earth. Slowing down the rate of building and making it ecological is taking care of each other and the earth.
These are the commandments of permaculture ( a system of design and thinking to promote a permanent culture, like that of native tribes who lived in balance with the earth for thousands and thousands of years):
Care for the Earth. Care for each other. Sharing of the surplus.
That's it, and I'd add: be present. This breath is precious (and I might add, every time we breathe we are connecting to "the environment.") This trip downtown is precious: don't waste it in a car box. Get onto your feet or onto your bike.
I truly think being in a car box limits the mind. A roof two inches above our heads is a trapped space, fine for listening to someone else's ideas on the radio, but poor for thinking new thoughts. Get out under a ceiling five miles high to have real thoughts. I am running to win and I would love your support. Give a call, contribute money, walk a neighborhood. Talk to people. It's fun. They love hearing my platform: slow down traffic, slow down building, involve ecology in all decisions. And, I should add, take care of each other. If you join this campaign, you'll be joining a movement to reclaim our lives from the false promise of happiness later. The false promise of slowing down the building later. The false promise of being happy after you've rushed around enough.
Happiness is now. This campaign is for fun and it's to win, win big so all the dinosaurs in their stuck thinking can wake up and see: oh, my god, the people really do want to change how things are drifting along.
I would love to talk to any group you might want to organize for a little half hour to hour meeting. I will not, however, do a coffee and cookie thing: I will do an organic tea and organic fruit thing. I believe eating organic is good for our bodies, it tastes better and it's better for the earth and the farm workers who work on the Earth. Even better, let's get together in someone's garden, chat, pull a few weeds, share what we love about being alive, and then let me tell you about the campaign and answer any questions.
Love, earth and happiness to you all:
Chris Elms Phone: 707-996-1437 e-mail: website: slowsonoma.com (calm)
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