FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Not Clueless in Chicago

by ELAINE CASSEL

This week, I had the great pleasure of leaving the Washington D.C.area and traveling to Chicago. I took every opportunity to find out what people west of the beltway were thinking about Bush and Company. And, much to my surprise, they were thinking more like me than the pollsters suggest.

Yes, I know this is anecdotal evidence from a mere smattering of people. But the nature of the comments and the variety of people who shared these views were impressive.

A young salesperson in Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue asked me if I thought it odd that Ashcroft was holding rallies to promote the Patriot Act. Isn’t there a law against that, he said?

Another young man asked if I thought that the Patriot Act’s provisions would be extended. Weren’t many of the provisions “against the law,” he asked?

The people I spoke with were reluctant to suggest that Bush was “evil.” The young man in Neiman Marcus asked, “Do you really think he is trying to do the right thing?” Another, does he only care about his father’s buddies? Or does he care about “us”? Did Bush knowingly lie about intelligence that indicated Iraq was an imminent threat?

Is something wrong with Ashcroft, another young man asked? I mean, why would anybody cover up a statute to hide breasts?

Many people brought up the idea that Karl Rove must be behind the California recall effort. Not a person I spoke with thought it did not have Bush’s fingerprints all over it. All hoped that it backfired, and that Bustamante would carry the day, if Davis is ousted. All thought that the Schwarzenegger campaign was a joke. One referred to it as a national embarrassment.

Talk of potential voting fraud was a common theme–they had read about the machines that will leave no trace of one’s actual vote. Is this all a plot, asked one young woman, to steal the election, like the Florida election was “stolen?” (I was surprised at how often people expressed this belief).

A woman asked, how much abuse do people have to take before they get a clue? A clue about, she listed, the economy, the environment, health care, and the war in Iraq. This young woman, a long-time phone company union worker and a former Wellstone campaign aid from Minneapolis, dissected with great care the views of various Democratic candidates. She was going home from a union convention fired up to make sure, as she put it, that a moving van is at Pennsylvania Avenue in January 2005. She, editor of a union newsletter, said that she carefully edits her own writing to make sure that she does not refer to Bush as “President” Bush. He is not my President, she insisted.

Inside the beltway, we watch the ideological wars and the political spins play out. Issues are discussed abstractly, not in terms of how they affect peoples’ lives. This is both the blessing and the curse of living in Washington, DC. The blessing, that people are interested in issues and talk. The curse, that we do not live in the real world; rather, we inhabit a space where the major motivator is power. The people I met were, on the other hand, motivated to live good and decent lives and to care about the future of their country.

Many of them already have a “clue.” When they hear that the war in Iraq will cost tens of billions of dollars that we will pay for while we sacrifice living wages and universal health care, they have a clue. When they watch Bush pretend to be an environmentalist while loosening clean air standards on aging power and manufacturing plants, they have a clue. When they count the number of Americans dying in Iraq after Bush declared “victory,” they have a clue. When they read about the continued violence in the middle east, they have a clue.

And when they hear about Ashcroft wanting more laws curtailing their First Amendment freedoms to read, think, write, and meet with like-minded people, they have a clue.

Bush and his divisive political handlers should get a clue.

ELAINE CASSEL practices law in Virginia and the District of Columbia, teachers law and psychology, and follows the Bush regime’s dismantling of the Constitution at Civil Liberties Watch. She can be reached at: ecassel1@cox.net

 

More articles by:
May 25, 2016
Eric Draitser
Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy
Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?
Dan Arel
The Socialist Revolution Beyond Sanders and the Democratic Party
Marc Estrin
Cocky-Doody Politics and World Affairs
Sam Husseini
Layers of Islamophobia: Do Liberals Care That Hillary Returned “Muslim Money”?
Susan Babbitt
Invisible in Life, Invisible in Death: How Information Becomes Useless
Mel Gurtov
Hillary’s Cowgirl Diplomacy?
Kathy Kelly
Hammering for Peace
Dick Reavis
The Impeachment of Donald Trump
Wahid Azal
Behind the Politics of a Current Brouhaha in Iran: an Ex-President Ayatollah’s Daughter and the Baha’is
Jesse Jackson
Obama Must Recommit to Eliminating Nuclear Arms
Colin Todhunter
From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Living in the Shadow of Global Agribusiness
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey as Terror: the Role of Ankara in the Brexit Referendum
Dave Lindorff
72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election
May 24, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Financial Invasion of Greece
Jonathan Cook
Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army
Ted Rall
Why I Am #NeverHillary
Mari Jo Buhle – Paul Buhle
Television Meets History
Robert Hunziker
Troika Heat-Seeking Missile Destroys Greece
Judy Gumbo
May Day Road Trip: 1968 – 2016
Colin Todhunter
Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink
Jeremy Brecher
This is What Insurgency Looks Like
Jonathan Latham
Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA
Binoy Kampmark
Suing Russia: Litigating over MH17
Dave Lindorff
Europe, the US and the Politics of Pissing and Being Pissed
Matt Peppe
Cashing In at the Race Track While Facing Charges of “Abusive” Lending Practices
Gilbert Mercier
If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent
Peter Bohmer
A Year Later! The Struggle for Justice Continues!
Dave Welsh
Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
Uri Avnery
Israeli Weimar: It Can Happen Here
John Stauber
Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning
James Bovard
Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents
Desiree Hellegers
“Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street
Lawrence Davidson
The Unraveling of Zionism?
Patrick Cockburn
Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks
Robert Koehler
Rethinking Criminal Justice
Lawrence Wittner
The Return of Democratic Socialism
Ha-Joon Chang
What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters
John V. Walsh
Only Donald Trump Raises Five “Fundamental and Urgent” Foreign Policy Questions: Stephen F. Cohen Bemoans MSM’s Dismissal of Trump’s Queries
Andrew Stewart
The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve
Nyla Ali Khan
The Vulnerable Repositories of Honor in Kashmir
Weekend Edition
May 20, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Hillary Clinton and Political Violence
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail