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Democracy How!?


WidowRica emerged from her high-rise wearing a neon magenta scarf beneath her beautiful smile. Off we drove to the Baltimore Book Fair, a venue of tents, contents of good intentions and pretensions, multi-dimensions, and my personal tensions, not to mention food and music.

I’d arranged to meet peace pal Jon Gold around 7:00 p.m. to hear Democracy Now!’s courageous (in the line of fire) journalist Amy Goodman advance her latest book. Jon and I had a little email flurry about questioning Goodman on a couple of issues.

WidowRica and I arrived early afternoon to hear authors read from their creations. Soon, my mind was off-road.

The Junkyard Saints zydeco’d a few blocks away and soon WidowRica was late-afternoon magic, dancing with children and shaking her shake-ables. I swayed, aware my effort was just that, an effort. The truth is I have this big personality, but it seems my actions are like a performance, one someone is directing, while demanding, “Be more convincing.”

“You look so happy” was entered on my FaithBook page, after I’d uploaded a photograph WidowRica took.

“I don’t wear my insides outside,” I said later in a phone conversation. “You just can’t. Nobody wants to be with someone who’s always sad and vulnerable. Nobody but a predator.”

I don’t know how many times I looked at WidowRica and said, “I have to move along.” She’d tell me to be patient. I tried.

Then I saw Jon, walking towards the tent. And there we sat in the big shelter of the Bank of America Literary Salon, among Amy Goodman fans. I could focus here. Goodman’s good. Excellent, really. And, yes, the crowd booed that BOA sponsored the fair.

Ms. Goodman spent her time bashing both Republican and Democratic “leadership,” with heavier criticism of the former. When told she had seven minutes to wrap up her delivery, she went full-tilt boogey on the increased militarism of the police, with a call for dissent among news organizations, and an emotional tribute to Obama’s starring in the role of first black president. And my circuitry, so unfocused most of the day, sharpened, forming statements and questions. Amy Goodman closed her promo, and someone announced, “No questions.”

Jon was unable to say:

I want to make clear that the premise of this question is not based on buildings, missiles or any other theory. It’s based on the fact that a great wrong has taken place, and there needs to be real truth, justice and accountability. On 9/11/2006, 9/11 Family Members Donna Marsh O’Connor, Christina Kminek, and Michele Little got together at the National Press Club to call for a new investigation. In February 2008, the famous Jersey Girls called for a new investigation after allegations that Philip Zelikow took direction from Karl Rove. During the latter part of 2009, there was an initiative to get a new investigation into 9/11 on the ballots of NYC. Over 80,000 New Yorkers and 100+ family members supported this. Why didn’t Democracy Now! cover any of this? You’re supposed to be the Alternative media, Amy. When the media doesn’t work, those with a voice need to use it. Please start covering the multitude of cover-ups pertaining to 9/11, and please start providing coverage to the family members seeking justice.

Nor was I able to mention: Democracy Now!’s position on NATO’s intervention in Libya and Syria. That the plundering of Libya was unchallenged by Goodman. That when Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN, condemned Russia and China’s nonparticipation to act against Syria, Goodman failed to dispute Rice’s suggestion that the US work outside of the United Nations to force democracy on Syria. Plus, all that Obama adoration.

During the event, I recalled the words of Glen Ford, executive director of, “How dare you call him the lesser of two evils. Obama is awesomely evil.” Ford appeared on Democracy Now! to debate Professor/sermonizer Michael Eric Dyson on the Obama Presidency, asserting that Obama is the “more effective evil.”

I drove WidowRica home, watched her enter the door of her lovely building, and I repeated, “Right on Pratt, left to I-83,” lost as I am, most of the time.

I’ve been reasoning that we are faced again with the lesser of two evils, and my thinking has returned many times this week to Goodman, her Baltimore talk, the tribute to Barack Obama. And to Democracy Now!, purportedly an alternative to mainstream news. But how much of an alternative is this news if the reportage is just the lesser of two evils? There, I’ve said it. Goodman’s words in support of Barack Obama demand I say it.

And if you’ve hit that hyperlink up there to listen to Ford, you’ve heard him eventually answer Mr. Dyson’s question, “So, are you voting for Obama?”:

Well, we are certainly not encouraging people to vote for the more effective evil. But, however, members of my family and friends and people that we at Black Agenda Report deal with closely, politically, are going to vote for President Obama. All we ask of them is that they not tell any lies about his record in the process, to tell the truth.

Here’s the truth: Yes, Mr. Ford, Obama is “awesomely evil.” You said it. “Awesomely evil” as he drones carnage on mostly brown people. And as he continues the Wall St. assault on the working poor and middle class. But, hey, the only onus is to not tell any lies.

Something’s terribly wrong here.

Missy Beattie live in Baltimore. Email:

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail:

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